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Continental and United pilots encounter 'roadblock' to merger: ALPA

28-Jun-2010 11:15 AM

Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA), representing the pilots of United Airlines and Continental Airlines, stated (25-Jun-2010) they have "run into a roadblock" negotiating a transition agreement with the airlines' management. [more]

ALPA: “It is unbelievable that contract talks have stalled so early in the process and for such a basic item as a transition agreement. We are stalled because of management’s unwillingness to compromise on matters that have little financial impact. We have heard the recent statements by Jeff Smisek, proclaiming the virtues of the upcoming merger, touting the benefits coming to labour because of the expected synergies and promising to work with labour in good faith to complete our contracts. However, if this is an indication of management’s approach, I have serious doubts about how long it will be before any of the touted synergies can be achieved ... Since the merger announcement on May 3, I have expressed my opinion that it was possible to reach a joint collective bargaining agreement by this fall, predicated on the willingness of management to expeditiously recognise and reward the contributions of pilots to the ultimate success of the merger. As I have said before, this merger can provide many opportunities.”  Captain Jay Pierce, Chairman of Continental pilots unit. Source: Company Statement, 25-Jun-2010.

ALPA:  “As I’ve consistently said, there is a right path and a wrong path. This merger could be simple if the right path is chosen. Regrettably it appears the companies at this early juncture are headed down the wrong path. Obviously, allowing talks to stall over non-economic issues shows that management is once again choosing the wrong path. Failure by management to choose the right path will lead to very predictable results; results that will not attain anywhere near the forecasted synergies that are being touted about this transaction. Both Mr. Tilton and Mr. Smisek stated recently before Congress the importance of recognising labour in this deal. At this juncture, their words ring hollow ... Fortunately, management has time to correct this misstep in the merger process." Captain Wendy Morse, Chairman for the United pilots. Source: Company Statement, 25-Jun-2010.