ALPA Executive Board Meets

Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), leaders representing 31 pilot groups gathered at the union’s Executive Board meeting this week in Herndon, Va., to forge solutions to airline industry challenges while underscoring ALPA’s positive progress in its collective bargaining and its work to level the playing field for U.S. and Canadian airlines as they compete globally.

In remarks before the Executive Board, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari thanked ALPA for helping to ensure that the national airspace remained open during the recent government shutdown. He also stressed the importance the administration places on NextGen.

In his presentation, Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president, stated that ALPA is set apart from all other pilot labor unions by its industry leadership and long-term vision. He made a clear case that ALPA is focused not only on immediate issues but also on the long-term factors that pose true existential threats to the North American airline industry.

Capt. Moak raised the spectre of job losses for U.S. airline pilots if emerging business models such as that of Norwegian Air Shuttle are allowed to succeed, as well as the threat from heavily state-backed Middle Eastern airlines if North American government leaders allow the current un-level playing field for their airlines to persist. “If we take our eye off the ball here in Washington, and a piece of regulation goes through, it dramatically changes the industry,” said Moak.

ALPA’s first vice president, Capt. Sean Cassidy, brought Executive Board members news of the union’s safety and security work, including its efforts to advance the safe air shipment of lithium batteries and address the “triple threat” of smoke in the cockpit, evacuating in continuous smoke, and availability of emergency equipment. Among other subjects, he detailed ALPA’s work to ensure remotely piloted aircraft are safely integrated into the airspace and announced the soon-to-be-released Air Safety Organization e-newsletter, the Safety Net.

Capt. Bill Couette, vice president–administration/secretary, described ALPA’s commitment to better use technology to communicate with its members, including enhancing the search feature on ALPA’s website. He also told Executive Board members of the rebranding of the ALPA Emergency Relief Fund as “Pilots for Pilots” (P4P) and punctuated the fact that the fund distributed more than $16,000 in grants this year with a request that every ALPA MEC appoint a P4P contact.

Capt. Randy Helling, ALPA’s vice president–finance/treasurer, reviewed the union’s financial health, stating that ALPA is financially stable and achieving its first surplus since 2005. He noted two new policy changes effective January 1, 2014—a dues reduction for all ALPA members and the elimination of the limited exemption of 401k/RRSP wage deferrals from income subject to dues.

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