Release #08.006
February 15, 2008

ALPA Gathers Pilot Leaders to Coordinate Strategy

WASHINGTON, DC -- Airline pilot union officials from 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada met recently outside Washington, D.C. to discuss bargaining goals and strategy as part of their efforts to determine and implement favorable contract patterns for pay, benefits, and work rules, and to coordinate member activities in support of negotiating efforts.

The three-day meeting, sponsored by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), drew the top representatives from 43 pilot groups represented by ALPA, along with representatives of independent unions for pilots of Air Canada (ACPA), AirTran Airways (NPA), American Airlines (APA), Frontier Airlines (FAPA), Southwest Airlines (SWAPA), World Airways (IBT), and Horizon (IBT).

“As we enter the new post-bankruptcy bargaining cycle, pilot groups are improving their collective bargaining agreements, but many more substantial gains are needed, and possible,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “This week, we renewed our mutual commitment to our profession and reaffirmed that our contributions were essential to the survival and success of our companies.”

“As one of the pilot groups currently bargaining with our company, these meetings provide invaluable knowledge to all involved,” added Capt. Carl Kuwitzky, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association. “Sharing information and ideas helps us build unity across the profession, and we leave armed with a renewed sense of purpose on goals and support for each other’s negotiations.”

“We’re one of the first legacy carriers to begin negotiations in the new bargaining cycle,” said Capt. Jay Pierce, the ALPA Continental Master Executive Council chairman. “It’s essential to coordinate with fellow pilots over goals and strategy. We’re all in this together.”

Capt. Mike Best, president of the National Pilots Association representing AirTran pilots, said, “As a newer participant at these meetings, I not only gained information this week, but I also received pledges of support from our fellow pilots. That will help us when we return to the negotiating table in a few months.”

Capt. Bill Dressler, ALPA MEC chairman at ExpressJet, said, “Our pilot group has benefited from pilot unity, which led to our collective bargaining success. Now we want to share our experience and resources with other pilot groups who want assistance.”

“As always, it’s extremely helpful for American Eagle pilots to meet with our industry brothers and sisters to talk about and get support for our 2008 contract amendment round,” stated Capt. Herb Mark, ALPA MEC chairman at American Eagle. “But we’re also focused on and planning for the full re-opening of our contract and influencing American Airlines’ longer-term plans for American Eagle,”

The first joint conference of pilot union leaders was held in mid-2006, and two meetings were held in 2007. This week’s meeting focused specifically on pay and benefit patterns, pilot strategy during industry consolidation, and collective action by members.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union representing more than 61,000 pilots at 43 airlines in the U.S. and Canada.

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Contacts: Pete Janhunen, Linda Shotwell, Molly Martin, 703/481-4440 or