Release #07.044
September 6, 2007

Pilots Urge Congress to Overhaul Bankruptcy Code
ALPA advocates for reforms to prevent future abuse

WASHINGTON—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) urged Congress today to reform the unjust bankruptcy code that helped airline managements strip workers of their hard-earned pensions, salaries, and work rules following the events of 9/11.

“While pilots and other workers rallied to save our airlines after that dark day in September, managements and judges—aided by Section 1113 of the Bankruptcy Code—forced us to give too much,” said ALPA President Capt. John Prater. “Now that the emergency is over, it’s time to fix the bankruptcy code and make pilots whole.”

ALPA cited excessive CEO salaries and bonuses upon exiting bankruptcy, various egregious court cases, and the attempt to remove workers’ right to strike as glaring injustices that Congress must address in order to restore a semblance of balance to the bankruptcy process. (Read the testimony)

Since 2001 pilots have given more than $30 billion in concessions. For example, a network carrier line pilot endured two rounds of concessions that included pay cuts of 30 percent, followed by another 12 percent, harsher work rules, less job security, and a terminated pension plan.

“Once his carrier returned to profitability, that pilot was rewarded with only a 1.5 percent pay raise and forms of profit-sharing worth only about 0.5 percent of his annual W-2 earnings,” said Prater. “Now imagine that pilot’s shock and rage upon learning that the carrier’s CEO received a compensation package last year worth over $40 million dollars, an utterly indefensible 3,533 percent increase over the prior year.”

Section 1113 of the bankruptcy code was originally intended to prevent employers from using the Chapter 11 process as an “escape hatch” to simply wipe away with a bankruptcy filing the binding, long, and hard-fought pay and working condition achievements of workers secured by their collective bargaining agreements.

Following 9/11, however, employers and the bankruptcy courts have turned this mechanism on its head, achieving precisely the contract-destroying, anti-worker results that Congress originally sought to prevent.

Founded in 1931, ALPA represents 61,000 pilots at 41 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit the ALPA website at

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ALPA CONTACTS: Pete Janhunen, Linda Shotwell, Molly Martin, 703-481-4440