The Board of Directors of the Air
Line Pilots Association, International has elected Captain John
Prater, a B-767 Continental Airlines pilot, to serve as the 8th president
in the union’s history.This decision sends a strong signal to the airline industry that ALPA
pilots are prepared to move into a new period of strong, concerted action
to rebuild their profession.
“The airline pilots of the United States and Canada today sent a clear
message that their union desires to return to its roots of aggressive
bargaining, strict contract enforcement, tenacious organizing, and pilot
action to restore our contracts and our profession,” Prater said in the
wake of his election.
“After five years of concessionary bargaining, lost pensions, and
battered work rules, our pilots are primed to take offensive action,”
Prater continued. “This may mean a return to the hard-nosed tactics of
earlier years and a grassroots mobilization of each and every one of our
While the concessionary era in the airline industry is coming to a
close, several airlines remain prisoners of the “1113 process” (whereby
management can have labor contracts annulled by the bankruptcy court), and
others are stalled in negotiations with their managements. This stagnation
takes place while load factors are high, fuel prices are lower, and profits
“The airline industry survived because of the concessions pilots and
other workers made,” Prater said. “Now it is time for us to see a tangible
return on these bitter investments.”
Prater is a 28-year veteran of ALPA, having served extensively at all
levels. From strike committee chairman to master chairman and a vice
chairman of the international alliance Wings Alliance (now part of the
Skyteam Alliance), Prater brings a wealth of experience. His background
includes union fights against notorious airline management figures Frank
Lorenzo, Carl Icahn, and Dick Ferris.
A graduate of St. Louis University with a bachelor’s degree in
meteorology, Capt. Prater is based in Newark, NJ. He is a resident of
Edwardsville, IL, with his wife Michele and daughter Alexandra. He is the
son of John and Esther Prater of Collinsville, IL.
The election was a contest between Prater and current ALPA President
Capt. Duane E. Woerth. Of the 47,968 votes cast, 24,444 went to Prater and
23,524 to Woerth. The new president will take office in January 2007.