Hawaiian Pilots Ratify Agreement

HONOLULU, HI—- The pilots of Hawaiian Airlines, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International, have voted to accept contract modifications giving the company productivity enhancements that will allow it to funnel labor cost savings into expansion and re-organization for survival. While it was difficult for Hawaiian pilots—who make significantly less and already have stricter work rules than many other pilot groups—to accept yet another round of concessions, pilots believed that it was the right thing to do to help the company through this tough economic time. Of the 386 crewmembers eligible to vote, 279 (72.3%) participated, with 226 (81%) casting ballots in favor of the agreement.

“By voting to accept the tentative agreement reached between our negotiating committee and Hawaiian management, our pilots have once again demonstrated their loyalty to our airline, our passengers and our communities that rely on the air service provided by Hawaiian Airlines,” said Captain Ron Hoopai, chairman of ALPA’s Hawaiian unit. “Hawaiian management came to us asking for $8 million in concessions, or 53 percent of the total relief package that they were seeking from all the labor groups. As pilots account for only 28 percent of the airline’s labor payroll, it was difficult for us to come to terms with the fairness issue. While management would not budge on this figure, our negotiators were able to work out creative solutions that minimized the pilots’ pain to the degree possible. Unfortunately, pilots are still being furloughed, vacation days have been cut, and pilots will be working a lot more to earn their livelihood,” said Hoopai. The contract modifications will go into effect April 1, 2003 and the amendable date will remain unchanged as June 30, 2004.

The pilots’ Negotiating Committee faced extreme pressure from the company to negotiate an agreement over a very restricted timeline. The issues discussed were complex and technical. Pilot leaders then undertook a massive communications effort to educate pilots on all issues of the concessionary package prior to expedited balloting of the membership, held March 2-6.

“All Hawaiian pilots are indebted to our negotiators for their steadfast perseverance and dedication in obtaining the best possible agreement for all involved considering the bleak state of the global aviation industry,” said Hoopai. “I am extremely gratified by the high voter turnout and strong response from our membership who took their vote very seriously and participated in our union’s democratic process. We now challenge Hawaiian management to make good use of employee sacrifices and improve the airline’s operation to better position it for future growth and financial stability.”

Headquartered in Honolulu, HI, Hawaiian Airlines is the nation’s 12th largest carrier with 135 daily flights flown by 420 pilots who operate a fleet of B-717 and B-767 aircraft. Founded in 1931, the Air Line Pilots Association, International, is the world’s oldest and largest pilots union, representing 66,000 pilots at 42 airline carriers in the United States and Canada. ALPA’s website is http://www.alpa.org.