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Sun, Oct 01, 2023

ATI Pilots Hold Informational Picket

Pilot Attrition Hobbles Largest Amazon Carrier

Pilots in the employ of Wilmington, Ohio-based Air Transport International (ATI), as represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), have stood in solidarity, holding an informational picket for purpose of demonstrating their individual and collective resolve to negotiate an equitable labor contract with the air-carrier’s management.

Such an agreement would permit ATI—Amazon’s largest contracted air-carrier—to dramatically improve pilot recruitment and retention.

In addition to being joined on the picket-line by aviators representing numerous ALPA carriers, ATI’s pilots were supported by hundreds of citizens, who shared accounts and images of the picket online.

ATI pilots strategically staged the informational picket at an investor event held by ATI parent entity Air Transport Services Group (ATSG). The picket’s purpose was to raise investors’ awareness of the record pilot attrition by which the air-carrier’s profits will be inevitably and negatively impacted.

ATI ALPA Master Executive Council (MEC) chair Captain Mike Sterling stated: “Management’s failure to deliver a contract on par with the industry standard has driven our highly-experienced and hardworking pilots out the door at alarming rates. More than 56-percent of our pilot group has left since January 2022, and experienced pilots continue to leave ATI every month. Many of these pilots had intended to spend their careers at ATI, but have been forced to leave for airlines that offer better compensation and quality of life.”

Captain Sterling continued: “ATI pilots showed up because we are disappointed and frustrated at the slow progress from management. ATSG CEO Rich Corrado said in a recent earnings call that he ‘doesn’t expect an agreement in 2023,’ further discouraging our pilots’ commitment to ATI.”

ATI and parent company Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) management face a critical decision: come to the table ready to make a deal that recognizes the sacrifices and contributions made by the pilot group for purpose of earning the company the distinction of being the most reliable and largest Amazon air-carrier in the world, or continue to deny the value of ATI pilots and watch as the airline bleeds pilots to other carriers that respect and value their pilots, continues to be unable to fill captain vacancies, and fails to support the customers.

ATI pilots and ALPA have been in contract negotiations with the air-carrier’s management for more than three-years. Notwithstanding the recent intervention of federal mediators, talks remain at an impasse.

On Friday, 15 September 2023, ATI’s ALPA Master Executive Council voted unanimously to call for a strike authorization, thereby setting the stage for a possible work-stoppage in the event the National Mediation Board releases the parties to self-help under the Railway Labor Act of 1934.

August was the third consecutive month in which ATI failed to fill PIC vacancies left in the wake of unprecedented pilot attrition. To date, 2023 has seen 31-percent of ATI’s pilot cadre leave the company. Over the preceding year, 25-percent of ATI’s pilot’s took positions with competing airlines.

Captain Sterling remarked: “Every day without a competitive contract is another day the best and brightest aviators go elsewhere. We must have an industry-standard contract to retain and attract the best talent and ensure our airline remains the largest Amazon carrier in the world.”

Founded in 1931 and representing over 75,000 pilots in the employs of 43 U.S. and Canadian airlines, to include upwards of four-hundred Air Wisconsin aviators, the Air Line Pilots Association, International is the world’s largest and most influential pilot union.

FMI: www.alpa.org

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