AirTran Pilots to Conduct Strike Authorization Ballot

ALPA’s AirTran pilot leadership has authorized a strike authorization vote to be conducted beginning April 19. Members of the AirTran MEC met last week to assess the status of contract negotiations. After lengthy discussion, they passed a resolution initiating this special membership ballot.

“Details of the vote and the corresponding timelines are being circulated to our pilots,” said AirTran MEC Chairman Linden Hillman. “After nearly six years of collective bargaining—at a time when our airline is posting substantial profits—we need to do something to jumpstart these contract talks.”

A strike authorization ballot, if ratified by AirTran pilots, provides the MEC with the discretion to declare a strike, when and if the proper circumstances support such a decision. The Railway Labor Act, the legal framework for the contract talks, outlines a step-by-step process with a series of requirements that must be accomplished before labor or management can conduct self-help.

AirTran pilot collective bargaining is currently in mediation, and progress has been slow, given the late stage of negotiations.

“Our goal is to reach an agreement with AirTran management, not to strike,” said Hillman. “However, we can only wait so long, and our patience is wearing thin.”

The AirTran pilots’ most recent agreement was signed in 2001 and became amendable in 2005.