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ATI Cargo Pilots Grant Union Strike Auth

Freight Operator Bleeding Pilots As Next Phase in NLRB Begins

Air Transport International pilots have authorized union leaders to call a strike now that the action is legally allowed in the negotiation process. 

ATI's 540-strong pilot base turned out in droves, with 99.7% voting in favor of a strike authorization according to ALPA. Management has been in the midst of negotiating a new contract for 3.5 years and the talks don't appear to fill the line pilots with much optimism. ALPA said that ATI has bled more than 33% of its pilot body over this year alone, and 25% last year. Aviators have bounced on to greener pastures, which seem to abound for those who sport the necessary command experience to apply elsewhere as a direct-entry captain.

Of course, the authorization is, just as it always is in these negotiations, a fairly toothless sign of seriousness. ATI pilots can't just walk off the flight deck, thanks to the NLRB's governing regulations. Their function as critical national commerce personnel effectively prevents any strikes thanks to the regulations requiring a painful crawl through the mandatory negotiation process before actual action can be taken. 

 ATI's ALPA MEC chair Mike Sterling said the strike vote was a "clear, unified message to management that we are willing to go the distance to secure a new contract." He said the iron's hot, so both parties need to start hammering that contract plow into shape. “Now is the time for ATI to deliver a new contract that reflects the value we bring to the airline as highly skilled professionals. Our goal is to reach an agreement, not to strike. The ball is in management’s court, and it’s time for them to get serious at the bargaining table and invest in our pilots.” 

FMI: www.alpa.org

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