June 10, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Continental Pilots Send Message at Continental Stockholders Meeting
HOUSTON, TEXAS—The Continental Airlines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), conducted informational picketing today at the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Houston, site of the Continental Airlines annual stockholders meeting. Capt. Jay Pierce, chairman of the ALPA chapter for the Continental pilots, led the 260 pilots in attendance into the stockholder meeting, where he addressed management, Continental’s Board of Directors and stockholders.
In Capt. Pierce’s statement, he said in part, “Continental Airlines has gained a reputation as a leader in the industry and a leader in its treatment of employees. I come before you with one simple demand: show us that you are willing to be a leader when it comes to dealing with your pilots. One year ago, we made it clear that we expected you to develop a business plan that fully recognized and addressed the concessions we have endured, the purchasing power we have lost and the uncertainties we have faced.
“Five years ago when you came to us insisting that our very survival as an airline depended on concessions, we completed a deal in a matter of months. From that point on, we have suffered through massive concessions and givebacks of over $200M per year, plus all of the problems that a rushed contract has brought. Just as we focused then on the efforts needed to help save Continental, it is now time for you to focus the same energy and resources toward negotiating a return on our investment.
“The deadline to reach an on time contract came and went with the passing of our amendable date 161 days ago. Even though you have been willing to meet with us regularly, our proposed changes so far have been met with numerous and time-consuming counter-proposals. This has resulted in tentative agreements for only nine of the more than 30 sections of our contract and has delayed discussion of the economic sections. Ladies and gentlemen, we are here to state: the loan is not just due, but past due – by 161 days and counting.”
Capt. Pierce also emphasized the core areas of the contract that must be addressed in the pilots’ contract: compensation, retirement, work rules and scheduling, and job security.
The purpose of the pilots’ presence at the stockholders meeting and the informational picketing was to remind Continental management that the sacrifices made by the Continental pilots in their last contract, in which they agreed to annual concessions of over $200M, is a “loan” that is due. The contract became amendable on Dec. 31, 2008. At the date of the stockholders meeting, June 10, the pilots’ contract was 161 days past the amendable date.
The Continental pilots and Continental management entered early negotiations in July 2007. Legal notice to enter formal negotiations under Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act was given by the union to Continental Airlines on April 7, 2008. The parties have completed tentative agreements on nine sections of the contract, each of which was relatively minor, but was preceded by multiple counter-proposals from the Company that required considerable time to reach agreement. Dozens more sections remain untouched, including prime issues such as pay, work rules, benefits and retirement.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union representing nearly 54,000 cockpit crewmembers at 36 airlines in the U.S. and Canada, including the 5000 Continental pilots. For more information, visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
# # #
ALPA Contact: Amy Flanagan, 281-925-4601, firstname.lastname@example.org