Piedmont Cabin Crew to Vote on Strike Authorization
American Airlines regional carrier Piedmont could have a strike on its hands, if its flight attendants vote to authorize a labor action next month. Piedmont’s flight attendants are expected to vote on whether to authorize a strike next month after contract talks collapsed.
The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), which represents the regional’s cabin crews, said mediated talks stalled after three years of negotiations, and frustrations are mounting. Management’s offer did not raise pay enough and, when coupled with increased health care costs, actually could result in lower wages.
“We kept the planes flying throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and saved Piedmont and the entire American Airlines Group through the Payroll Support Program, which helped American with billions of dollars in labor costs,” said Keturah Johnson, AFA Piedmont president. “The thanks we get is management demanding concessions.”
“We are actively engaged in contract conversations with the AFA to ensure that our team members feel supported and valued and look forward to getting back to negotiations later this month,” a spokesperson for Piedmont said.
If the parties do not return to the negotiating table, the National Mediation Board could call for a 30-day cooling off period before a strike. “This must stop,” Johnson added. “Piedmont flight attendants cannot afford to work at Piedmont.”
Cargojet Pilots Join ALPA
An overwhelming majority of Cargojet‘s 300 pilots voted to join the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). And immediately, the union raised an issue with management.
“Normally, we would start a new relationship with the management team by discussing how we can work together collaboratively to advance our mutual objectives going forward,” ALPA President Joe DePete said. “However, Cargojet management wasted no time in demonstrating their unwillingness to be a productive partner in the airline’s success and left us no choice but to fiercely defend the rights of ALPA’s newest pilot group.”
At issue is the fate of 23 probationary pilots, whom ALPA said were unfairly terminated even as the carrier continued hiring. The union last week filed a complaint with the Canada Industrial Relations Board alleging the action violated Canada’s Labour Code. The union also has asked the board to prevent Cargojet from disciplining ALPA members who supported the union’s action.
“Not only will we continue protecting the careers of pilots and their collective agreement, but we will also aggressively pursue the reinstatement of those 23 pilots,” said Tim Perry, president of ALPA Canada.
Atlas Pilots Agree to New Contract
Atlas Air and its 2,500 pilots implemented a new joint collective bargaining agreement, the last significant milestone in the merger of the cargo carrier with Southern Air, which Atlas acquired in 2016.
Pilots, represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, will get pay raises and other benefits starting next month. The new five-year agreement could raise pilot pay by between 28-53 percent, said Cowen & Co. analyst Helane Becker.
“Our company has long prepared for this investment in our pilots and has factored these new terms and conditions into customer contract negotiations,” Atlas CEO John Dietrich. “We continue to see strong demand for our aircraft and services as we expand and extend customer agreements.”