WASHINGTON, D.C.—- Champion Air pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International, received $1 million from the union’s Major Contingency Fund (MCF) as negotiations for their first union contract passed the 40-month mark. The allocation provides the Champion pilots with the needed resources to fully prepare themselves and their families for a strike in the event that a fair agreement cannot be reached at the bargaining table.
“While we are extremely gratified by ALPA’s financial support, our hope is that our remaining contract issues can be resolved at the negotiating table,” said Captain Matthew Marsh, chairman of the Champion Air ALPA unit. “We don’t want to strike, but if management forces us into a work action to achieve a fair agreement, we are confident that we will be fully prepared for it,” Marsh added.
The Champion pilots began contract negotiations 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.
“Champion pilots haven’t had a pay raise since 1995, we have only a self-funded 401(k) plan to provide for our retirement, and our work schedules are exhausting,” Marsh said. “Having the financial support and solidarity of 66,000 ALPA pilots behind us will be crucial to our efforts as we continue to negotiate a fair contract that corrects these woeful deficiencies.”
With headquarters in Minneapolis, Champion Air is the largest dedicated provider of charter airlift in the United States. Champion’s 180 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.