ALPA’s SPSC Reaches Across Ocean To Support IFALPA Member Group

February 22, 2010 - Answering IFALPA’s call for mutual assistance, ALPA members from United and Continental joined their fellow Association of Star Alliance Pilots (ASAP) from Lufthansa, Swiss Airlines, and Austrian Airlines in Frankfurt today on the picket line as the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilots of Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo, and Germanwings went on strike. ALPA’s SPSC galvanized into action late Friday afternoon upon hearing of the planned strike, which was meant to last for four days, but was suspended today until March 8 to give deadlocked parties a chance to resume contract talks. The central focus of the dispute is the outsourcing of jobs, an issue that is also of considerable concern to U.S. ALPA pilots.

“Pilots around the world are putting management on notice that we will not be outsourced to a less experienced and cheaper work force. Capital may be global, but while labor is local, we will stand with our international partners to fight for our jobs,” said Captain John Prater, ALPA president.

ALPA’s SPSC spent the last several months building a more robust communication network with IFALPA representatives to pave the way for this kind of international mutual assistance.

“We spent many years cross-pollinating pilots in the U.S. and Canada to stand up for pilot rights across company lines,” said SPSC chairman Captain Mike Donatelli. “Today we had a major picketing operation to demonstrate our resolve for Spirit pilots in Florida, but we were also able to support our fellow brethren in Frankfurt. Our planning certainly paid off in spades, with U.S. ALPA pilots being interviewed on CNN before an international audience.”

A couple of ALPA pilots addressed the enthusiastic crowd and expressed unwavering support on behalf of the Association. They were greeted with cheers from the 400-plus German pilots at the Lufthansa Aviation Center.