Release #09.MEA
February 10, 2009

Midwest Airlines Pilots Apply for Federal Mediation as Management Stonewalls

MILWAUKEE, WI—Midwest Airlines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), today petitioned the National Mediation Board for assistance in contract negotiations with Midwest Airlines management. The pilots asked for mediation assistance after management stated that it had no intention of continuing direct negotiations unless the union agreed to all its concessions initially sought last summer prior to the start of contract talks.

“While the pilots remain fully engaged in working to reach a fair, consensual agreement, Midwest management has refused to do the same,” said Capt. Tony Freitas, incoming chairman of the Midwest Master Executive Council. “Instead, management continues to demand the same outrageous concessions that it did last July, despite several changes in the airline’s situation and operational plans.”

Midwest pilots’ current contract is a concessionary agreement reached in 2003 and became amendable August 31, 2008. The pilots began negotiating with management in October 2008, a month after the airline cut nearly 300 pilot jobs in a deal that outsourced much of Midwest’s flying to Republic Airways.

“We are committed to obtaining a new contract that offers some level of job security and maintains a decent quality of life for Midwest pilots,” said Capt. Ken Krueger, chairman of the pilots’ Negotiating Committee. “However, we have reached the point in our direct negotiations with management’s representatives where we believe that the assistance of a federal mediator is necessary to help us move this process forward.”

In December, the pilots submitted a comprehensive proposal addressing compensation, scheduling, retirement, and insurance. When face-to-face talks resumed in January, management failed to offer a counterproposal. Instead, management again demanded concessions and advised the pilots that negotiations would not be productive unless they submitted a proposal providing those concessions.

Founded in 1931, ALPA represents more than 52,250 pilots at 35 airlines in the United States and Canada, including the 400 active and furloughed professional pilots at Midwest Airlines. Visit the ALPA website at

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ALPA CONTACT: Barbara Gottshalk, (703) 689-4100,