December 11, 2006
Comair Pilots' Union Receives Authorization to
In the face of $50 million profits, management still refuses to seriously negotiate with its pilots
Cincinnati, OH – The Comair pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), today showed their unity and resolve by voting to authorize their union representatives to strike if their contract is rejected in bankruptcy court.
The 1,500-plus Comair pilots overwhelmingly supported the union’s strike authorization ballot with more than 93% of the responding pilots voting in support of the measure. Today’s vote demonstrates the increased level of labor unrest at Comair, which flies as the Delta Connection brand (Other OTC: DALRQ), just as the airline heads into the busy holiday season.
"We continue to negotiate with Comair management in an effort to reach a consensual agreement, said Comair MEC Chairman, Capt. J.C. Lawson. “However, management appears to have decided that the fate of our contract should rest in the hands of the courts, rather than at the negotiating table with the pilots who have contributed so much in the success of this airline.”
“Make no mistake, the pilots will not tolerate company-imposed pay and work conditions,” continued Lawson. “Today’s vote should send a clear message that our pilots are united and we are ready to take all appropriate steps in defense of our working agreement.”
The result of the strike authorization vote comes on the day that closing written arguments were submitted to the bankruptcy court in response to the company’s 1113(c) filing. During recent bankruptcy proceedings, Delta management revealed that Comair is projected to earn $50 million in profits for 2006.
Over the past year, Comair pilots have made significant sacrifices in order to keep the company financially solvent. In early 2005, the pilots agreed to $11 million in annual concessions to help their airline better manage its finances. Comair management has yet to acknowledge the full value of those concessions and is now using the bankruptcy court to demand additional wage concessions ranging from an additional 8% to 22%. The pilots contend that this will place Comair pilots near the bottom of the industry, lowering the bar for future negotiations with other carriers within the Delta family.
“Comair management could do the right thing and withdraw their 1113 motion to reject the pilots’ contract, and seriously negotiate with the pilots for a fair contract,” said Lawson. “This action would not only restore our airline’s stability, but it would be an opportunity to collectively develop solutions that would offer contract relief in exchange for future contract incentives or snap-back provisions. Sadly, it appears Comair management prefers to litigate, rather than negotiate.”
ALPA represents 60,000 airline pilots at 39 airlines in the U.S. and Canada.
# # #
Media Contact: Paul Denke, (513) 253-1852