AFL-CIO BANKRUPTCY REFORM PRESS
CAPT. JOHN PRATER’S STATEMENT
On behalf of the 60,000 ALPA pilots who fly for 41 airlines, I want to thank these members of Congress for introducing this important legislation. It represents the first step toward restoring balance to the unjust bankruptcy code that helped airline managements strip workers of their hard-earned pensions, salaries, and work rules.
The hard truth is that while pilots and other workers rallied to save our airlines, managements used the bankruptcy code to destroy our contracts while paying themselves millions. It’s time to fix the bankruptcy code, so that employee contracts and the value of our labor can be determined by collective bargaining without the threat of court imposed conditions. Our families are scarred with horror stories of how the bankruptcy code enabled managers to crush their careers—stripping them of hard-earned pay, benefits, pensions, and work rules.
My family is no stranger to airline bankruptcies either. Having five airline chapter 11s, three failed pension plans, and seven mergers between my wife—who was a flight attendant—and me makes us an example of what airline workers have experienced. While we can relate the horror stories of our members’ predicaments, pensions, careers and lives are being devastated by unfair bankruptcy laws. We need Congress to fix this law now, so that airline pilots and our fellow workers can concentrate on providing our passengers with safe and secure flights, without worrying about losing the economic security of their labor contracts to corporate bankruptcies.