Northwest pilots will begin voting on February 13 to authorise a strike. Following a 15-day voting period, strike ballots will be counted on Feb. 28.If the majority of NWA pilots authorize a strike, the union leadership will have the authority to call a strike if Northwest management imposes terms and conditions of employment on the pilot group.
“Northwest pilots want to reach a consensual agreement with management and ALPA is continuing to work towards that goal, but management’s arrogant and excessive demands are unacceptable and are putting Northwest’s future in serious jeopardy,” Capt. McClain said.
“Northwest pilots understand the serious nature of a strike, but we will defend ourselves with all available ‘self-help’ options up to and including the complete withdrawal of pilot services from Northwest Airlines.”
Northwest Airlines has petitioned the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to reject the ALPA collective bargaining agreement under chapter 1113(c) of the bankruptcy code.
The 1113(c) hearing concluded Friday, Feb. 3 in the New York City courtroom of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper. Judge Gropper’s ruling on whether or not to reject the pilot contract is currently expected no later than Feb. 17 unless an extension is agreed to by ALPA and Northwest.
If the U.S. Bankruptcy Court rejects ALPA’s collective bargaining agreement with Northwest and the company unilaterally implements terms and conditions on pilots, NWA pilots have the legal right to strike.
“We must make contingency preparations in order to protect the quality of our careers here at Northwest Airlines. The strike vote will give our pilots an opportunity to demonstrate their opposition to management’s overreaching demands,” McClain said.
Capt. McClain’s decision to begin balloting the membership comes after weeks of negotiations with NWA management that has produced little movement from management at the negotiating table.
ALPA remains committed to negotiating an agreement that allows Northwest Airlines to successfully emerge from bankruptcy and provides worthwhile pilot careers over the long-term.
“We will not allow management’s hired guns to use the bankruptcy process to take away essential job protections and outsource jobs we have offered to perform on a cost competitive basis,” McClain said.