Media Advisory #CHA080111

January 11, 2008

Airline Pilots to Picket Knicks-Wizards Game
Pilots who fly 13 NBA teams frustrated by stalled negotiations

PHOTO OP: Pilots picketing in uniform outside Madison Square Garden

When: Tuesday, January 15 from 6 to 7 p.m., prior to game

Where: Northeast corner of 7th Ave. and 33rd St., right outside MSG

NEW YORK—The pilot crew that is flying the Washington Wizards basketball team to New York City will join their fellow Champion Air pilots in a picket line outside Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, January 15 prior to tip-off of the Wizards-Knicks game.

Champion pilots – who fly for 13 NBA teams in all – along with pilots from United, Delta, Delta Connection, Continental, US Airways, ExpressJet and others, will hit the pavement to express frustration over the slow progress of contract negotiations with management. The demonstration coincides with the three-year anniversary of negotiations with a management team that has continually attempted to stall talks and undermine the union.

“Week after week our pilots safely deliver NBA teams to their destinations so that they can entertain fans in arenas and on couches,” said Capt. Matt Marsh, the elected leader of the Champion pilot group, which is part of the Air Line Pilots Association, International. “We are proud to do our jobs, but insulted that management is failing to offer us the pay and benefits we deserve.”

Based in Bloomington, Minn., Champion Air operates charter service with 16 Boeing 727 aircraft and 105 pilots. Champion Air has seen a spike in pilot attrition due to the substandard pay rates and work rules for the type of aircraft they fly. In October 2007, the National Mediation Board denied a management request to recess negotiations. In December 2007, management unilaterally launched two incentive programs to reduce pilot attrition and avoid negotiations. ALPA filed suit in U.S. District Court and is seeking an injunction against the company for bypassing lawful negotiations when it unilaterally implemented the new policies.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 60,000 pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at

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ALPA CONTACT: Pete Janhunen, (703) 481-4440 (o) and (517) 243-5300 (c)
Capt. Matt Marsh, (612) 282-1287