WASHINGTON, D.C.—- Leaders of the Champion Air pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International, announced today that 99 percent of the Champion pilots approved a strike authorization vote giving the leadership authority to call a strike in the event that negotiations with management do not result in a contract. With a 100 percent participation rate from the 136 pilots eligible to vote, 134 Champion pilots voted in favor of the strike authorization.
“The tremendous participation and approval rate demonstrate that the Champion pilots stand absolutely united behind their goal of achieving a fair union contract,” said Captain Matthew Marsh, chairman of the Champion Air ALPA unit.
The Champion pilots began negotiations with management for their first union contract in February 1999. Negotiations have been conducted with the assistance of the National Mediation Board since September 2000. Although most sections of the contract have been agreed to, Champion pilots and management remain far apart on the critical economic issues of compensation, retirement, and scheduling.
Under the Railway Labor Act, the National Mediation Board may release the parties into a 30-day cooling-off period once an impasse is declared in the mediated talks. If an agreement is not reached by the end of those 30 days, the pilots would be able to strike. “Although no Champion pilot wants to strike, the overwhelming strike vote shows that we are willing to do so if management forces us down that avenue to achieve the long overdue contract that we all deserve,” Marsh said.
With headquarters in Minneapolis, Champion Air is the largest dedicated provider of charter airlift in the United States. Champion’s pilots fly a fleet of 13 Boeing 727-200 aircraft in support of a wide variety of customers, including professional sports teams, corporations, and major tour package wholesalers.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilot union representing more than 66,000 cockpit crewmembers at 43 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA Web site at www.alpa.org.