June 26, 2008
For Immediate Release
ALPA Helps Secure U.S. Department of Labor
Emergency Funds to Put ATA Pilots Back on the Line
Multi-million Dollar Grant to State of Indiana will Hone Crewmembers’ Skills, Aid in Job Search
CHICAGO – Pilot leaders of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) ATA Airlines unit led a successful campaign with the State of Indiana for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to grant ATA cockpit crewmembers emergency funds for re-employment services. Virtually the entire workforce of ATA suddenly found themselves unemployed when ATA shut down on April 3.
The Department of Labor recently announced a grant exceeding $3.5 million to assist hundreds of employees at Indianapolis-based ATA, including more than 100 pilots and flight engineers. The DOL will release almost $1.4 million immediately and make additional funding available as Indiana demonstrates a continued need to serve these workers.
“This news is a ray of hope for the Hoosier-based crewmembers, who were proud to work at ATA,” said Capt. Steve Staples, chairman of ALPA’s ATA pilot group. “It should help a great deal in enabling our members to find new jobs, and especially to help them retrain in new aircraft types. I’m proud that ALPA was able to assist our ATA pilots in this tangible way, because that’s what our labor union is all about.”
The grant, issued to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD), gives the DWD additional funds to send ATA pilots to flight schools so that they can earn type ratings in more modern aircraft, making them more marketable to airlines seeking pilots.
Many of ATA’s crewmembers are type-rated in older, 1970s-era aircraft like the Lockheed L-1011 and the McDonnell-Douglas DC-10, airplanes that are becoming increasingly rare as airlines shift to newer, more fuel-efficient types. But training for new aircraft systems can cost an unemployed pilot thousands of dollars, often making such training unaffordable without government assistance.
Working with the ALPA Government Affairs Department, Staples urged key congressional leaders to speed the approval of the emergency grant. ALPA staff will coordinate with DWD officials to support ATA crewmembers, helping them to more easily access the Workforce Investment Act funds for training.
Earlier this year ALPA also played a role in working with the State of Hawaii to secure a $5 million emergency grant to assist Hawaiian-based employees of ATA and Aloha Airlines, which both went out of business in the same week.
“On behalf of the ATA pilot group, I’d like to thank Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, DWD Commissioner Teresa Voors, and especially Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) and the entire Indiana congressional delegation for securing these vitally-needed training funds,” Staples said. “I’d also like to thank Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who initially requested emergency funding from the Department of Labor when ATA shut down in April.”
Staples said his next goal is to secure emergency funding for Illinois-based airline employees. After Indiana, Illinois has more laid-off ATA workers than any other state.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing 55,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA Web site at www.alpa.org for more information.
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|ALPA CONTACT:||Capt. Steve Staples, 618-201-1058|
|Rusty Ayers, 847-867-2962|