Sun, Jan 14, 2007
Pilots May Return To Work... But Will They Stay?
Could this finally be the beginning of the end for a seemingly
neverending labor action between helicopter operator PHI and its
pilots? No one is ready to say for certain just yet... but it may
be encouraging to know the company has agreed to allow
approximately 60 striking pilots to return to work at the end of
Both sides reached the understanding in federal court Thursday.
While it does clear the way for PHI pilots to start flying again,
the agreement does not resolve the underlying issue that led to
those bad feelings in the first place: the company's insistence
returning pilots sign a pledge to not engage in further strike
PHI attorney Hal Broussard told the Lafayette (LA) Daily
Advertiser said the company wants to reserve the right to
discipline pilots should they return to work, “and three
weeks later call a selective strike.”
“We want the right to fire them,” Broussard added --
a point countered by union lawyer Mel Schwarzwald, representing the
As Aero-News reported, the
pilots went on strike against PHI in September, after federal
mediation attempts over its expired labor contract failed. The
pilots offered to return two months later... but said PHI
deliberately stalled on agreeing to take them back.
PHI denied that allegation... and claimed they had rehired some
100 pilots back to work since the strike began. Schwarzwald says
PHI violated federal law in how it brought those pilots back,
however, saying the company only hired pilots who contacted the
company directly, instead of going through the union.
This one may not be over yet...
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