Comes After Filing Of Complaint With Bankruptcy Court
Pilots at Aloha Airlines voted on Wednesday night to give its
local leadership, the Aloha Airlines Master Executive Council (MEC)
of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA), the right to call
a strike, if it becomes absolutely necessary.
"A strike is the last thing we want and we will exhaust every
opportunity -- negotiating with management, using federal
mediators, going through bankruptcy court facilitation --- to avoid
calling a strike. We're simply asking, just like our contract now
provides, that management makes sure that Aloha pilots continue to
fly our airplanes if the cargo division is sold to a new operator,"
said Aloha MEC Chairman David Bird. Ninety percent of those
eligible pilots attending a special meeting voted to authorize the
The vote comes just days after ALPA filed a complaint in US
Bankruptcy Court seeking injunctive relief against Aloha Airlines
management for repudiating the pilots' collective bargaining
agreement since it filed for bankruptcy in March. As ANN has reported, Aloha's
pilots have fought to continue flying in the wake of the carrier's
cessation of passenger operations last month. including attempts to
hire on with Aloha's cargo operation.
"We're tired of management painting us as the bad guys. David
Banmiller (president and CEO of Aloha Airlines) is still getting
paid and no doubt will seek big bonuses, too. Our pilots were
terminated out of the blue and haven't received the
contract-required furlough pay, retirement contributions, or
medical coverage," said Capt. John Riddel, MEC secretary-treasurer.
"Over the past three years, we approved pay cuts, relinquished our
retirement plan, and provided other concessions to ensure this
company's survival. We just want to keep our jobs if the company is
sold," Riddel continued.
Aloha filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 20, 2008, and
abruptly ceased its passenger service on March 31 after 61 years of
service. Aloha continues to operate its cargo service, which it is
preparing to sell. ALPA has been trying to negotiate with
management to provide a smooth transition before, during, and after
the sale of the cargo division, but Aloha management has not
responded to an April 7 proposal.
week has passed during which we have tried to work with Aloha
management to negotiate a compromise that recognizes the pilots'
contract and provides a successful sale of the cargo operations,"
said Capt. Bird. "But with no results and no progress made,
management's refusal to comply with the existing contract is
forcing us to prepare to take this drastic step."
"Aloha pilots are saddened at what has happened on our property
during the past few weeks," Bird added, "but we won't walk away
from the contract we negotiated with this management team including
their earlier promise to make sure that we transferred with the
cargo operation to a new owner."
ALPA asserts the company continues to ignore the pilots'
contract by terminating pilots out of seniority order, recalling
pilots out of seniority order, failing to respect job security
provisions that require a prospective purchaser to employ the
current pilots in seniority order, terminating the pilots' health
plan, and failing to provide furlough pay and benefits, among other