September 29, 2006
ALPA President Seeks Federal Arbitration for Delta Connection ASA Pilots
WASHINGTON — Capt. Duane E. Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), recently sent a letter to the National Mediation Board (NMB) requesting a proffer of arbitration for the Association’s pilots of Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA).
Citing the carrier’s ongoing financial success, the currently-imposed recess on contract talks, and the fact the pilots and management have been negotiating without results for more than four years, Capt. Woerth stated, “It is our judgment that . . . further mediation will not result in an agreement.”
Per the terms of Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act, which governs airline employee labor negotiations, the NMB can extend a proffer of arbitration, which is an offer to the parties to arbitrate any remaining issues. However, this arbitration is binding and both parties must agree in advance to the results. If either party rejects the proffer, the NMB releases the parties from mediation and they enter a 30-day cooling-off period, which essentially serves as a count down for what the Act deems “self-help,” such as a strike by the employees.
Capt. David Nieuwenhuis, chairman of the ASA unit of ALPA, stated, “Our goal is to negotiate a fair contract that reflects our contribution to the success of our airline. Four years should have been more than enough time to accomplish this task. Clearly, we need to jumpstart this process to find some way to reach an agreement. We hope that the NMB will see the logic of our position and honor our request.”
The ASA pilots began collective bargaining with management in September 2002, when their most current agreement became amendable. Negotiations have been conducted with the assistance of the NMB since May 2004. However, in May 2006, the NMB recessed the talks, citing that the two parties were too far apart on their proposals for the open sections of the contract.
Atlantic Southeast Airlines is based in Atlanta and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW), which is based in St. George, Utah, and operates as a Delta Connection carrier.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union representing more than 61,000 cockpit crewmembers at 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACT: Capt. Rick Bernskoetter, (678) 640-4510
John Perkinson, (703) 481-4440 or firstname.lastname@example.org