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Hawaiian Pilots respond to earnings report


The following statement was released by the Air Line Pilots Association, International in response to Hawaiian Airlines financial report: 

With Hawaiian Airlines reporting yet another quarterly profit while still refusing to help pilots keep up with the cost of living, the Hawaiian pilots will receive $2 million from their international union to help them prepare for a strike if one becomes necessary in their struggle to negotiate a fair contract.

Hawaiian reported Tuesday that it earned a $23.5 million net profit for the 1st quarter of 2009, bucking the industry trend and becoming one of the few major U.S. airlines to make money so far this year. But despite the strong earnings, Hawaiian management has dragged out negotiations for more than two years and rejected the pilots’ call for a modest three to five percent cost of living increase.

“Last year the company ordered billions of dollars worth of new airplanes. Earlier this month we found out our CEO took a 42 percent increase in compensation. Yesterday the company reported another strong quarter, yet management has stalled negotiations since 2007 claiming they can’t afford to give pilots anything more than a token one percent increase,” said Capt. Eric Sampson, chairman of the Hawaiian Airlines unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA).“It’s obvious to us that our management either can’t or won’t accept that they must share their success with employees. The pilots are committed to getting a fair and affordable contract, and we are closing ranks and preparing for the worst.”

ALPA’s Executive Board unanimously approved the $2 million grant from its Major Contingency Fund (MCF). The MCF is ALPA’s “war chest,” providing pilot groups with the necessary resources to respond to threats to their jobs and to the piloting profession. Funds from the grant will pay for strategic preparedness – including opening strike centers should a strike become necessary, pilot communications, and family awareness programs.

ALPA President John Prater discussed the grant with Hawaiian pilots and their families at a meeting on April 25 in Honolulu.

“This grant should put Hawaiian management on notice that ALPA rejects their attempts to maximize profit on the backs of their employees,” Prater said. “We would rather have a new contract than a strike, but the pilots at Hawaiian demand an agreement that provides fair and reasonable cost-of-living raises and protects their quality of life.”

Hawaiian’s current pilot contract, negotiated in 2005 while the carrier was still in bankruptcy, became amendable on June 30, 2007. The pilots have been in direct negotiations for almost two years and entered federal mediation in September 2008. The next session with the National Mediation Board is set for June 9 in Kona.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 54,000 pilots at 36 airlines in the United States and Canada, including the 405 who fly for Hawaiian Airlines. 

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