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March 27, 2003
ALPA Chief Blasts Airline Executive Perks as Thousands Lose Jobs
WASHINGTON, D.C.---The following statement was issued today by Capt. Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, the nation’s largest pilots’ union, regarding recent airline executive bonuses, compensation and stock grants in light of the industry’s current financial situation:
"Thousands of airline workers have lost their jobs or given significant wage, benefit and work rule concessions since September 11 to help save their companies. The economic downturn and loss of high-yield business travelers have dramatically impacted airline revenues, and both business and leisure travel are being negatively impacted by the Gulf War. Although airline workers have not caused these problems, they have stepped forward, as always, to be part of the solution.
"Therefore, it is disconcerting, if not outrageous, that airline executives are lining their pockets while employees are subsidizing these bonuses and bankruptcy protected retirement plans. These same managers are attempting to abrogate workers’ contracts in bankruptcy court.
"The recent revelations at Delta Air Lines are a case in point. Last year management awarded itself $17 million in executive bonuses, plus $25.5 million in pension funding, at a time when the carrier was losing $1.3 billion and ordering layoffs, which now stand at 16,000 lost jobs. Since Sept. 11, a total of 100,000 airline jobs have been lost. Thousands of workers at US Airways have lost the bulk of their pensions, and other pension plans are in jeopardy.
"Yet just this week the CEO of Delta told a meeting of economists that Delta must ‘continue a program of cost reductions that outsizes any undertaken in its history.’ A $42.5 million perk package for top executives hardly qualifies as cost reduction of any sort.
"We also have just learned that last year, Continental’s CEO got $11.9 million in compensation. This was after Continental went from a $95 million loss in 2001 to a $451 million net loss in 2002. And at Northwest, the CEO’s compensation rose 126 percent over 2001, even as the airline’s bottom line went from a $423 million loss in 2001 to a loss of $798 million in 2002.
"In spite of these ill-timed management bonuses coupled to record corporate losses, airline workers continue to partner with their companies through massive give-backs and by supporting efforts on Capitol Hill to relieve the excessive taxation and increased security costs that are crippling our industry.
"Make no mistake: airline workers are the reason their companies are the great national assets they are, not management teams who come and go with multi-million-dollar severance packages in their pockets. We will be here when most executives are long gone, trying to carry on the proud legacy of this nation’s air travel industry."
ALPA represents 66,000 airline pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Its Web site is at http://www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACT: John Mazor (703) 481-4440