Sun, Aug 19, 2007
Union Wanted Earlier Deal, Says Membership Should Vote No
In what has been termed the "last and final offer" for a
contract, AirTran pilots have before them an offer their union says
they should refuse.
The tentative contract the National Pilots Association initially
supported was offered in May, as ANN reported, then
withdrawn in June. A federal mediator was brought in to facilitate
negotiations in July.
The biggest hurdles to be overcome in the negotiations were
scheduling issues, according to Bloomberg News. "It's
quality-of-life issues," union President Allen Philpot said.
According to AirTran senior vice president of operations Stephen
Kolski, the current offer provides for equal or even higher pay
rates than pilots at Delta Air Lines -- AirTran's cross-tarmac
rival in Atlanta -- currently receive.
Greater flexibility in work rules lets AirTran pay pilots
competitively while operating more efficiently than larger
carriers, Kolski said.
"If the union membership compares pay and benefits and
quality-of-life work rules with what they have now, and then
measures that against other carriers, they will see it's a very
good deal," Kolski said.
AirTran's 1,450 pilots have until September 5 to cast their vote
one way or the other for their new four-year contract. The union --
still smarting from withdrawal of the earlier TA -- has recommended
its membership "vote no" to the amended deal.
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