Release #09.88
December 4, 2009

Wasaya Pilots to Receive Quarter-Million-Dollar Grant for Contract Negotiations
Pilots’ International Union Directs Resources to Get a Deal Now

THUNDER BAY, ON – Wasaya Airlines pilots now have a quarter-million- dollar grant from the world’s largest pilots union behind them as they pursue a fair contract with their management. Capt. John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l. (ALPA) announced the grant at a pilot briefing to Wasaya pilots in Thunder Bay.

“This grant puts Wasaya management on notice that ALPA will reject any attempt to maximize profits on the backs of employees,” said Prater. “Our international union stands solidly behind Wasaya pilots, and we are ready to do what is necessary to get a respectable and viable contract.”

Funds from the grant will pay for strategic activities as the pilot group has reached an impasse, a procedure that occurs when progress toward collective bargaining ceases after a good-faith effort at the bargaining table. Wasaya pilots have been in collective bargaining with their employer, Wasaya Airways LP, for the past 18 months. The parties entered into an essential service agreement, which permits a third party conciliation and arbitration process to determine outstanding terms and conditions of employment.

“We have been in discussions with Wasaya management over the past 18 months to achieve a fair and equitable contract,” said Capt. Dan Adamus, president of the ALPA Canada Board. “The pilots of Wasaya deserve and demand an agreement that reflects their contribution to not only the airline’s success, but to the First Nation communities that depend on the essential passenger and cargo services these pilots provide.”

ALPA’s Executive Council unanimously approved the grant from its Major Contingency Fund (MCF). The union’s Executive Board will also vote to approve the grant in the near future. The MCF is ALPA’s “war chest,” providing Canadian and U.S. pilot groups with the necessary resources to respond to threats to their jobs and to the piloting profession.

“Wasaya pilots stand solidly behind our highly experienced negotiating team,” said Capt. Jeff Braun, chairman of the Wasaya unit of ALPA. “Working together puts us in the strongest possible position to achieve the outcome we all seek--a viable, profitable, and sustainable airline.” Wasaya Airlines is owned by a First Nations consortium and based in Northern Ontario with hubs in Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout. The airline carries food, clothing, fuel, medicine, and other necessary supplies to 25 remote communities throughout Ontario.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 54,000 pilots at 36 airlines in the United States and Canada, including 90 pilots who fly for Wasaya. Visit the ALPA website at


Capt. Jeff Braun, Chairman, Master Executive Council, 807/627.9443
Lynn Konwin, Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, 703/481-4468 or