Release #08.023
May 8, 2008

ALPA Authorizes $10 Million to Continental, United Pilots to Fight for Improved Contracts

WASHINGTON, D.C.---The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) has allocated $5 million each to the pilots of United Airlines and Continental Airlines to help them respond to the increasing assaults on their rightful role in helping to shape events that affect their careers and their airlines.

ALPA’s Executive Board, in its May 6 resolutions, authorized the amounts from the Association's Major Contingency Fund (MCF) for “strategic preparedness, communications, and family awareness efforts” by the two ALPA units. ALPA’s MCF functions as the union’s “war chest” to provide pilot groups the resources they need to respond to extraordinary threats to the profession and to their careers.

Capt. Jay Pierce, chairman of the Continental pilots’ Master Executive Council (MEC), said, “Access to the monies from the ALPA Major Contingency Fund will provide us with the additional resources needed to secure an improved contract for our pilots. As we enter contract negotiations under the Railway Labor Act, we will be well positioned to battle for the advancements we're seeking through increased compensation, strengthened work rules, and other long-needed improvements. The Continental pilots have given more than $200 million in concessions each year since April 2005 to help secure the future of Continental. It's time that we have security for our own futures.”

The chairman of the United pilots’ MEC, Capt. Steve Wallach, responded to the Board's action by noting, “The United pilots were the first major contributors to the Major Contingency Fund in 1985. This is the first time we have tapped into the fund, and we recognize the foresight of the pilots who realized the need for an MCF in battles that benefit the entire industry. United pilots have always taken the lead to ensure the long-term viability and survival of our airline, and the use of the MCF is another step in that direction.”

In announcing the authorizations, ALPA’s president, Capt. John Prater, said, “ALPA is a strong international union and because we have built an $80 million war chest, we will put massive resources in the hands of our union leaders when they need such support. The message to the industry is ‘Managements that include pilots in their business planning, whether they choose a stand-alone path or decide to merge, can succeed. Those who try to exclude us will fail. We are airline pilots who are determined and committed to restoring our contracts as the foundation of our profession.’”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 56,000 pilots at 41 airlines in the U.S. and Canada.

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