While the Regional Airline Association and regional airline management point to new rules governing flight time experience for first officers as the primary reason for a pilot shortage that has resulted in a loss of service to several U.S. communities, pilots contend the airlines have made their own mess by creating a business model predicated on breadline wages for cockpit crew. The Air Line Pilots Association, for one, argues that there’s no shortage of pilots, only a shortage of pilots willing to fly for substandard wages and inadequate benefits.
Canadian Labour Congress
The union that represents Allegiant Air’s pilots–APA Teamsters Local 1224, currently in contract negotiations with the airline–is to present its longstanding concerns about safety issues directly to the carrier’s investors. The initiative, announced last week in a press statement, comes after months of what it sees as fruitless efforts to resolve the issues with the FAA and the airline’s management.
Boeing’s machinists voted last Friday to accept some steep contract concessions in return for management’s promise to build the 777X in the Puget Sound region of Washington state, finally succumbing to corporate pressure to relinquish their defined benefits pension plan for a 401k-style arrangement. The vote hardly reflected any sort of consensus, however, and highlighted a rift between workers willing to stand on a principle and those who claim a responsible sense of pragmatism.
Both the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and the Independent Pilots Association (IPA) applauded last week’s announcement of new legislation in the U.S. Senate–S.1692, sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)–to include cargo pilots in the new Part 117 flight and duty time regulations that take effect January 4 next year. FedEx pilots are ALPA members, while UPS pilots are represented by the IPA.
Boeing will consider other locations to assemble its new 777X after its machinists union voted down a proposed contract extension that was described as critical to basing work on the new widebody in the Puget Sound region of Washington state.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee said Boeing will assemble the new 777X widebody and build its carbon fiber composite wing in the Puget Sound region of his state, an economic windfall that depends on Boeing’s machinists’ union ratifying a new contract and the state Legislature approving an incentives package.
Horizon Air and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters reached a tentative agreement in late September on a five-year contract extension for the airline’s 280 mechanics, fleet service agents and other fleet support employees. According to Horizon parent company Alaska Air Group, the proposed deal calls for wage increases and several unnamed “quality-of -life enhancements.”
The pilots of US Airways regional subsidiary PSA Airlines ratified a letter of agreement in late September that grants them the right to fly thirty 76-seat Bombardier CRJ900s in return for several concessions in their Air Line Pilots Association collective bargaining agreement.
While the Air Line Pilots Association has taken an unequivocal stance against the U.S. Justice Department’s attempt to block the merger of bankrupt American Airlines parent AMR and US Airways, at least one segment of the union–namely the unit representing the pilots of American’s wholly owned regional subsidiary–sees things a bit differently.
Officials for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters charged Republic Airlines management last month with violating training rules and the recommendations of its FAA check airmen by firing the president of the carrier’s local Teamsters chapter, Craig Moffatt. In retaliation, the Teamsters pulled union volunteers involved in joint safety programs, crew scheduling, training and other functions for all three of Republic Airways’ regional subsidiaries–Republic Airlines, Chautauqua Airlines and Shuttle America.
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