April 17, 2008
US Airways Pilots Leave ALPA Fold
WASHINGTON—The National Mediation Board (NMB) today announced that the pilots at US Airways have voted to leave the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) and form a separate union as their collective bargaining representative. There were 5,238 eligible pilot voters. Of them, 2,723 voted for the US Airline Pilots Association and 2,254 voted for ALPA.
“I want to thank all of the pilots who fought for their union and their futures during this tough campaign,” said Capt. John Prater, president of ALPA. “We were obviously hopeful that a majority of all US Airways pilots would make a different decision.”
The pilots who fly for the new US Airways flew previously for America West Airlines and US Airways and have operated under separate Master Executive Councils within the ALPA structure. A dispute among a number of US Airways pilots arose over an independent arbitrator’s decision regarding the pilots’ seniority, leading to a decertification effort and the NMB election.
“As an ALPA volunteer for nearly 20 years I have witnessed firsthand how ALPA has helped individual pilots by saving their careers and by saving lives. It’s going to be extremely difficult for me personally and professionally to watch what happens to this pilot group now,” said Capt. Jack Stephan, chairman of the US Airways pilot group. “Industry consolidation is inevitable, and the economy is slowing. I believe that these challenges will be too much to ask of an untested, under-funded union.”
Over the last year, ALPA and many pilots from both groups have worked hard to mutually resolve the pilots’ differences and make progress in negotiations with the company.
“We will not become victims of this unsuccessful merger,” said Capt. John McIlvenna, chairman of the America West pilot group. “The America West pilots are unified and will fight for fair representation in order to protect our careers and families.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union and will now represent more than 56,000 pilots at 41 airlines in the U.S. and Canada.
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