It's Been an Honor

By Capt. Tim Canoll, ALPA President

As ALPA’s 10th president, I feel deeply honored to have been democratically elected to lead our union. But the democratic process didn’t stop when the vote count was tallied four years ago. Nor can it stop with the election that will usher in ALPA’s newest slate of national officers next month.

The true power of democracy can only be realized with constant participation. In the United States, citizens recently set a midterm election record when more than 100 million voters turned out to cast a ballot. Regardless of your political views, democracy, while not perfect, made progress on Election Day 2018.

For our union, unless our democracy endures beyond our Board of Directors election to also take form in our daily efforts, we will not achieve the potential of our ideals. It’s true that collective action forms the heart of unionism, but every cooperative movement begins with an individual act. Each time an ALPA member answers the call to action, our union takes another step forward in forging a stronger future for our industry and our profession.

Driven by ALPA members’ unyielding conviction, our union has delivered tremendous results during the past four years. Thanks to your commitment, our contracts are getting stronger with each negotiation—including the Frontier pilot group’s recent agreement in principle. If ratified, the Frontier agreement will provide substantial improvements in pay, work rules, retirement, and benefits as well as a ratification bonus to recognize the two-and-a-half years the pilots worked under the industry’s only remaining bankruptcy-era contract.

Other airline pilots see this record of accomplishment and want to become part of ALPA. That’s why we’re succeeding so clearly in our mission to represent all U.S. and Canadian airline pilots. Since 2015, our organizing and growth has resulted in adding more than 10,000 members to our ranks, including the Sky Regional pilots we’ve just welcomed to our union.

In 2018, you raised our collective voice in the corridors of Congress and sent our message in more than 100,000 e-mails, letters, and visits to lawmakers urging them to hold the line on safety. This, along with ALPA pilots’ social media posts, shattered every ALPA advocacy engagement record.

Because of your action, we beat back antisafety measures and took tremendous steps forward in advancing our pilot-partisan agenda with the newly enacted five-year FAA reauthorization bill. Thanks to you, the FAA reauthorization kept pilot training, qualification, and experience requirements strong and two fully qualified pilots in the cockpit of every passenger and cargo aircraft. At the same time, the bill also advances safety, security, and pilot assistance and promotes the future of the piloting profession.

Let’s also not forget that it was our leadership and tenacity that led to the Known Crewmember program’s establishment in 2011. Since then, more than 100 million screenings of airline pilots and flight attendants have taken place.

With ALPA pilots’ participation, we’re also creating a strong pilot pipeline for the future. No one is more committed than ALPA to ensuring a safe, strong supply of qualified airline pilots in the future. Since 2015, for example, we’ve reached more than 35,000 elementary-, middle-, and high-school students.

Whether you’ve served our union as a master executive council chair, a local council rep, an Air Safety Organization volunteer, a pilot ambassador at a school, a Call to Action supporter, or ALPA-PAC contributor, your commitment is what powers ALPA.

ALPA’s democratic process performs without fail today, as it has for nearly 90 years. Our union’s new slate of national officers begins its work with my congratulations and a strong strategic plan that will do even more to achieve our members’ goals in an ever-challenging global airline industry.

Thank you for making possible four years of incredible progress in our contracts, our safety, and our profession.

It’s been an honor.