ALPA Pilots Rally on Capitol Hill to Protect Workers in International Airline Alliances

ALPA pilots rallied on Capitol Hill this week to call on members of the U.S. House of Representatives to support the Aviation Jobs Outsourcing Prevention Act (H.R. 4788), which directs the Department of Transportation to ensure that new revenue-sharing agreements between U.S. and foreign airlines are beneficial to U.S. airline workers as well as to their airlines.

Nearly two dozen ALPA members, including pilots from United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and FedEx, joined Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president, to meet with Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), who introduced the legislation.

“Congressman Bishop understands our concerns that good jobs are being sent overseas,” said Prater in introducing Rep. Bishop. In his remarks, Rep. Bishop acknowledged the critical support of Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) for cosponsoring the bipartisan bill. Rep. Bishop told the pilots gathered that the legislation now has more than 13 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.

“I appreciate the fact that the Air Line Pilots Association was the first to make me and my colleagues in Congress aware of the job losses pilots would face under these joint venture agreements,” said Rep. Bishop regarding the legislation. “I am happy to once again be leading the charge with the leading voice for pilots on another important issue that affects all pilots and their families. I know we will be successful in addressing this concern as both of us know that when we work together, we make things happen.”

After meeting with Rep. Bishop, the pilots visited Congressional offices across Capitol Hill to send a message that the legislation is good for U.S. workers whose companies participate in international alliances. This legislation will establish basic requirements for U.S. airlines that enter into international revenue-sharing agreements to ensure that these airlines conduct an amount of the flying that is in proportion to the amount of revenue the airline receives. A U.S. airline will be able to share revenue with a foreign airline, but that revenue will be based on the amount of flying each airline performs.

One such agreement involves United Airlines, which has entered into a joint venture with Aer Lingus to fly a Washington-to-Madrid route. The inaugural flight will occur this weekend. Under the joint agreement, United would provide marketing and a feed of passengers, and would split the profits, even though no United flight crews or aircraft will be utilized.

“This is an ALPA pilot issue,” concluded Prater. “It erupted at United Airlines, but it could affect pilots at any of the ALPA airlines. United pilots have the support of their union and this event on Capitol Hill today is just the start of ALPA’s campaign to advance this legislation and protect our jobs.”

The Hill event was organized by Capt. Jim Smart, chairman of United MEC’s Legislative Committee, Capt. Jim Anderson, chairman of the United MEC’s Strike Preparedness Committee, and ALPA’s government affairs team.