Hawaiian Airlines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) 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, and of those voting 99 percent voted to support the strike ballot, which opened on April 25.
“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.”
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.
The strike vote does not mean that a strike is imminent. The National Mediation Board (NMB) must first 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 of last year and began working with a NMB mediator in January 2016.
“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 largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 52,000 pilots at 30 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.