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99% of Hawaiian Pilots Vote to Strike if Talks Fail

May 17, 2016, 12:44 PM HST · Updated May 17, 2:28 PM
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Hawaiian Airlines, photo by Wendy Osher.

Hawaiian Airlines, photo by Wendy Osher.

Hawaiian Airlines pilots represented by the Air Line Pilots Association International voted today to authorize their elected union representatives to conduct a lawful withdrawal of service if contract talks do not result in a new collective bargaining agreement.

Almost 98% percent of the pilot group voted; 99% of that group supported the strike ballot, which opened on April 25.

However, the strike vote does not mean that a strike is imminent.

“This vote shows the deep anger our pilots feel toward their senior management,” said Capt. Hoon Lee, chairman of the ALPA unit at Hawaiian Airlines. “We absolutely do not want to go on strike, but if that’s what it takes to get a market-rate contract, our pilots have told us loud and clear that they will stand together and take that final step.”

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Pilots cheered when Lee and other ALPA leaders announced the voting results at a rally near Honolulu International Airport today. The pilots plan to hold an informational picket at the airport on May 25.

Before a strike occurs, the National Mediation Board must decide that additional mediation efforts would not be productive and extend an offer to arbitrate the dispute. If either side declines arbitration, the parties enter a “cooling off” period and are free to exercise self-help—a strike by the pilots or a lockout by the company—30 days later.  Additional mediation sessions are not scheduled past June at this time.

The pilots’ contract became amendable in September 2015. ALPA and Hawaiian management began contract talks in May 2015 and began working with a NMB mediator in January 2016.

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“At a time when Hawaiian is making more money than ever before, our management stubbornly refuses to share those profits with the employees who earned them,” Lee said. ”Our patience is at an end and we demand a market-rate contract that recognizes our contributions to this airline’s astounding success.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 52,000 pilots at 30 airlines in the US and Canada.

Visit www.alpa.org.

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