November 17, 2008
URGENT NEWS ADVISORY
Trans States Pilots Open Strike Operations Center
ST. LOUIS – Trans States Airlines (TSA) pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), are opening their Strike Operations Center as part of a strategic initiative designed to strengthen their preparedness in the event the pilots and their management team cannot reach an agreement in their current contract negotiations.
What: Trans States Airlines ALPA Strike Operations Center Open House
When: Tuesday, November 18, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: 10801 Pear Tree Lane, Suite 126, St. Ann, Missouri (across the street from the airport)
“We are prepared to do whatever it takes, consistent with the law, to achieve our contract goals,” said Capt. Jason Ruszin, chairman of the TSA unit of ALPA. “If Trans States pilots strike, it will be after the process is exhausted and solely due to Trans States management’s unwillingness to negotiate a fair contract that recognizes our experience and professionalism.”
The pilots have been negotiating with management for a new contract since February 2006 and have been assisted by the National Mediation Board since February 2007. Despite nearly three years of negotiations, the two sides remain apart on many key issues.
“Our Strike Preparedness Committee has been operating for some time,” said Capt. Jeff Shatley, Trans States ALPA Strike Preparedness Committee (SPC) Chairman. “This strike center has state-of-the-art software to track all pilots’ schedules so that we can locate any Trans States pilot on any given day, at any given time a strike is called. This is a huge endeavor that we all take very seriously, as our careers, our families, and our futures are at stake.”
The Strike Center also provides a space for pilots to meet and discuss negotiations, acts as a staging center for other events (such as informational picketing), and can provide logistic support for family outreach activities.
Trans States Airlines is among the most profitable airlines and is the fifth largest in the regional industry, yet TSA pilots have endured a substandard contract for more than eight years. TSA pilot pay is 7% to 23% below that of other pilots at airlines of comparable size providing comparable service.
Despite repeated attempts by pilot negotiators to move these negotiations toward a mutually beneficial conclusion, management has been unwilling to wholeheartedly engage in the process.
“We need TSA’s codeshare partners to understand the additional burden and uncertainty that an open contract places on the flying public especially during the holiday season,” Ruszin added. “Management’s continued efforts to thwart these negotiations cannot go unchallenged.” TSA is a code share partner for United Airlines, American Airlines and US Airways.
ALPA awarded a $2 million grant from its Major Contingency Fund to support the TSA pilots in their efforts to attain a fair and equitable contract.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the United States and Canada, including more than 440 pilots who fly for Trans States. Trans States pilots are based in St. Louis, Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA Contacts: Capt. Jason Ruszin, 610-805-5387
Kimberly Seitz, 703-481-4440