July 12, 2005
Polar Air Cargo Crewmembers Vote Overwhelmingly to Authorize Strike
WASHINGTON, DC -- Polar Air Cargo crewmembers, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International, announced today that they have voted to authorize their elected union representatives to conduct a lawful withdrawal of services if contract talks do not result in an agreement, upon release of the parties to economic “self-help” by the National Mediation Board.
Polar crewmembers overwhelmingly supported the union’s strike authorization ballot with 99.23 percent of responding crewmembers voting in support of a withdrawal of services, if required. Negotiations with management began in February, 2003. However, by June of that year, ALPA filed for mediation with the National Mediation Board citing lack of progress. After 24 months of mediated talks, Polar crewmembers and management remain far apart on critical economic matters like compensation and hourly wage rates.
“If negotiations continue at this disappointing rate, Polar crewmembers must be prepared for the next stage, which is the 30-day cooling off period that precedes a strike,” explained Capt. Bobb Henderson, chairman of the Polar Air Cargo unit of ALPA. “Polar crewmembers are severely underpaid and, with this vote, have made it crystal clear that they are willing to stand up and do something about it.” Last May, ALPA granted the crewmembers of Polar Air Cargo access to $2 million from the union’s Major Contingency Fund for use in strike preparation activities.
“The Polar crewmembers’ leadership is immensely proud of the solidarity demonstrated by our individuals in this strike vote,” said Capt. Robin Hair, chairman of the Polar crewmembers negotiating unit in ALPA. “We’re still hopeful that management will adopt a new posture and begin speaking to us in realistic terms about the remaining contract issues,” he added.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union representing more than 64,000 cockpit crewmembers at 41 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA Contact: Ron Lovas, 703-481-4468