Release #09.TSA
December 7, 2009

Trans States Pilots Call to End “Futile” Contract Negotiations
Four-Year Stalemate Could Lead to Strike Countdown

ST. LOUIS – The Trans States Airlines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, (ALPA) today urged the National Mediation Board (NMB) to release them from mediated contract negotiations. Union negotiators have called the contract talks “futile” and say that their management has repeatedly undermined the mediation process.

“TSA and ALPA have been in negotiations since February 2006. After a year of direct negotiations and nearly three years of mediated negotiations, we have been unsuccessful in achieving an amicable agreement,” said Capt. Jason Ruszin, chairman of the Trans States Master Executive Council (MEC), the local arm of ALPA. “It is concerning that the parties have been unable to find common ground to advance the process after nearly four years of negotiating.”

“I believe our negotiating committee, as well as the MEC, has been very clear about achieving an industry average contract with satisfactory job protections for Trans States pilots,” said Ruszin. “Unfortunately, making progress to that end has been arduous and overly time consuming.”

Ruszin continued: “It has been a year and a half since either side has agreed to any open section of the contract. Furthermore, management’s attempt to repeatedly add language to restrict the traditional role of an arbitrator seems to undermine all that we are working towards. The ALPA Negotiating Committee has made every effort to engage in a constructive dialog over the remaining open issues with little success. In addition, we have offered to meet more frequently outside of mediated negotiations in an effort to conclude these negotiations in a more timely fashion only to be rejected by TSA management.”

Under the Railway Labor Act, ALPA formally requested that the NMB end its mediation efforts and issue a Proffer of Arbitration to both parties. If the Board makes a proffer and either ALPA or Trans States declines to enter binding arbitration, the two sides would be released from mediation and will enter a 30-day cooling-off period after which the parties are free to take self-help. At that point, the Trans States pilots could strike.

“The pilots are hopeful this request for a proffer will introduce new energy at the negotiating table, which will ultimately result in a new labor agreement,” said Ruszin.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing 53,250 pilots at 37 airlines in the U.S. and Canada, including more than 440 pilots who fly for Trans States. Trans States pilots are based in St. Louis, Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va. Visit the ALPA website at

ALPA Contacts:
Capt. Jason Ruszin, 610-805-5387
Kimberly Seitz, 703-481-4440