ALPA’s 112th Executive Board: Recognizing and Responding to Threats

ALPA president Capt. Lee Moak opened his remarks before the Executive Board by describing the crucial importance that the union and each board member has in advancing the union’s goals by identifying threats while there is still time to act.

Moak noted that the union has heeded the signs on the horizon that traditional negotiating techniques may not always be the best model to create strong and stable labor relations or to achieve contracts that advance pilots’ careers and the airline piloting profession. He pointed to the new and creative approaches ALPA has deployed in its collective bargaining, which, together with traditional strategies, have generated strong results for ALPA’s members in a range of pilot groups.

Referencing the importance of “paying attention to the sentry,” Moak also highlighted the explosive growth of the Middle Eastern airlines and explained that the economic muscle of these state-backed airlines shows how much a government’s pro-aviation policies can advance a country’s airline industry and its airlines. “Pro-aviation policy would also result in growth and profitability for U.S. airlines and create appropriate pay and benefits and stable carriers for U.S. airline pilots, now and in the future,” he said.

ALPA First Vice President Sean Cassidy gave the board an update on the Air Safety Organization (ASO), noting that the safety volunteer corps is larger than ever, with more than 400 pilots at work to make the skies safer and more secure. He reviewed the latest on many of the board’s priorities issues for the ASO, including ALPA’s full engagement with all stakeholders as the congressional requirement that all airline pilots hold an ATP certificate goes into effect this August, stating that “we are confident that we have minimized the number of pilots who will be adversely affected.”

Cassidy also described the ASO’s work to advance the Known Crewmember program, ensure appropriate funding for the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, and ALPA’s efforts to promote its position on secondary barriers, the safe shipment by air of lithium batteries, and safely integrating remotely piloted aircraft into the national airspace.

ALPA Vice President–Administration/Secretary Bill Couette briefed the Executive Board on recent activities of the Association’s Professional Development Group, giving special heed to Education Committee activities. Couette talked about how ALPA is “bridging the gap” between the academic and working worlds to assist students who wish to pursue airline pilot careers.

Couette went on to discuss the Association’s ratification of four gainful collective bargaining agreements and the successful merger of the Air Transport International and Capital Cargo pilot groups since the Executive Board last convened in October 2012.

Capt. Randy Helling, ALPA vice president–finance/treasurer, discussed the strategic plan priorities that related to ALPA finances and the Major Contingency Fund. He pointed out that, beginning on January 1, 2014, ALPA members’ dues rate will be reduced from 1.95 percent to 1.90 percent, the lowest dues for active members since 1985.

In addition, ALPA’s vice president–finance reviewed ALPA’s current budget, telling the board that, “looking forward, we will continue to stabilize our finances, build our reserves, and practice financial discipline—all to advance our goals for the Association and our members.”

Other Business

Capt. Barry Jackson (Qantas), president of the Australian and International Pilots Association, spoke about how Qantas flying was outsourced to Jetstar, a portfolio of affiliate airlines that are fully or partly owned by the Qantas Group. He also examined his carrier’s alliance with Emirates Airlines and the negative impact this arrangement has and will have on Qantas flying and pilot jobs.

“It’s a changing game out there, and it’s changing on a variety of points,” said Capt. Don Wykoff (Delta), president of the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA). IFALPA provides pilot input for policy considerations at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and Wykoff talked about the many nontraditional issues being brought to ICAO, including foreign ownership and control, as well as alliances and joint ventures. Capt Wykoff, as ALPA Flight/Duty Time chair, also updated the group on U.S. implementation of the new flight, duty, and rest regulations going into effect, as well as the flight/duty time smartphone application developed by ALPA (see more on this tomorrow in an all-member message).

The Executive Board took action on policy changes affecting the Association’s Administrative Manual and also reviewed and discussed ALPA’s strategic plan. The MEC chairs also spent time briefing the group on what’s happening at their individual airlines.