Release #08.048
October 20, 2008

ALPA President: Airline Management Must Collaborate with Pilots to Overcome Tough Economic Times

WASHINGTON—Capt. John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), issued a stern warning to airline management today, maintaining that the only way for airlines to successfully emerge from the financial strain many face is by working with their pilots as allies, not adversaries.

“At this critical time, some managements have decided to fight us, rather than work with us,” said Prater today in a speech before ALPA’s 42nd Board of Directors meeting in Las Vegas, Nev. “Some more enlightened managers have figured it out. It is in their best interest to work with their ALPA leaders, not against us.”

Those managers and companies that work with ALPA will do better than those that want to take the union on, stated Prater. Many companies have successfully handled economic challenges by working together with their pilots. “Corporations succeed when ALPA pilots, our fellow employees, and our companies share in the rewards,” he said.

“To those managers who believe that they can succeed in destroying our profession…I can guarantee you, on behalf of this Board of Directors and the 53,000 pilots ALPA represents, that you will not defeat us,” warned Prater. “When you decide to attack the values that we hold sacred, you attack what we will fight to protect: our families, our friends, our profession, and our jobs.”

Prater cited the hundreds of rallies and demonstrations during the past two years at which ALPA pilots supported each other across pilot group lines. As a result of this unprecedented industry-wide unity, ALPA has fought for and won more-favorable letters of agreement and contracts across a wide spectrum of the industry.

Prater also said ALPA’s future collective bargaining agenda will build on this success, including: setting favorable contract patterns; ensuring vigorous contract enforcement consistent with the Association’s collective bargaining goals; finding new ways to create and protect retirement benefits; and, most important of all, taking care of pilots whose companies have failed them.

“Whether an airline is facing financial distress, negotiating a contract, pursuing a merger, or joining an alliance, the formula for long-term success is the same: involve pilots at the start and every step of the way,” Prater said following the speech.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit

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ALPA Contacts: Linda Shotwell and Molly Martin, 703/481-4440 or