June 12, 2009
Trans States Pilots Vote to Authorize Strike
St. Louis, MO – Trans States Airlines pilots overwhelmingly voted to authorize their local pilot union leaders of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), the right to call a strike if a mutually agreeable contract cannot be reached through negotiations.
Nearly 96 percent of eligible pilots who participated in the strike authorization ballot voted in favor of the withdrawal of services.
“TSA pilots are unified in their desire to achieve a new contract that benefits both our professional quality of life and the company’s financial bottom line,” said Capt. Jason Ruszin, chairman of the TSA arm of ALPA. “However, while we remain optimistic that our goals at the negotiating table can be achieved without a strike, our strike preparations are complete, and we stand ready to support our membership if it becomes necessary.”
The pilots have been negotiating with management for a new contract since February 2006 and have been assisted by the National Mediation Board (NMB) since February 2007. Despite more than three years of negotiations, the two sides remain apart on many key issues. The NMB could release both sides into economic self-help after the expiration of a 30-day cooling-off period if it concludes that further mediated negotiations will not produce an agreement, at which point a strike could ensue.
While TSA pilots have endured a substandard contract for more than eight years, Trans States Airlines is positioned among the most profitable airlines and the fifth largest independent carrier in the regional industry. TSA pilot pay is 7-23 percent below that of other pilots at airlines of comparable size providing comparable service.
“If Trans States pilots strike, it will be after the process is exhausted and solely due to Trans States management’s unwillingness to negotiate a fair contract that recognizes our experience and professionalism,” said Ruszin. Both sides met at the negotiating table last week, but progress remains tediously slow.
Trans States Airlines flies regional jets under code-sharing agreements with United and US Airways.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing nearly 54,000 pilots at 36 airlines in the United States and Canada, including 457 pilots at Trans States.
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Contact: Jason Ruszin, 610-805-5387
Kimberly Seitz, 703-481-4463