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ALPA hands $2M Grant to ATI Pilots for Negotiations

3-Year Negotiations Continue for Frequent Amazon Air Contractor

The Air Line Pilot's Association held a special vote to disburse $2 million from its Major Contingency Fund, with the aim that the money will support almost 550 ATI pilots in a critical phase of contract bargaining.

Air Transport International offers contracted services to Amazon Air and other expedited delivery companies, and have capped off a handful of post-pandemic years with strong growth and record profits. The pilot base has been increasingly fed up with ATI management, citing increasing pilot attrition throughout 2022 and 2023.

"Poor crew planning, poor treatment of pilots, poor working conditions, an outdated contract and an inability to support flight operations due to overworked and underpaid ATI staff across the board have all contributed to a significant number of pilots leaving,” said Mike Sterling, chair of the ALPA ATI unit. “ATI pilots’ commitment to delivering superior reliability and service has earned record-breaking profits for ATI and ATSG, yet management is unwilling to invest these profits in the professional pilots who make their success possible. We must secure a contract that reflects the value of ATI pilots.”

The ATI pilot base will soon hit the 3-year mark in their negotiations, worrying some in the ALPA that the pilots will eventually be out-waited by a company with deeper pockets. The negotiations could turn out interesting, given the length of time they've managed to drag on. As other carriers have sealed their own contract deals with increasingly favorable terms for pilots, negotiations had stalled out between ATI and the union. Things got so bad, ATI's parent company requested assistance from the National Mediation Board last March. 

“We are ready to execute an aggressive plan that will use both traditional and nontraditional tactics, as permitted under the law, to achieve our goal of securing a market-rate contract,” said Capt. Mike Sterling, chair of the ATI ALPA Master Executive Council. “The approval of this grant should put both ATI management and parent company ATSG on notice that the weight of the world’s largest pilot union unequivocally supports our efforts toward a collective bargaining agreement that will bring our compensation, work rules, and benefits in line with our fellow pilots across the industry.”

FMI: www.alpa.org

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