Midwest Pilots Union Endorses Management to Remain Independent

MILWAUKEE, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Leaders of the Midwest Airlines pilots union have endorsed their management’s business plan to remain independent.

The pilots’ union Master Executive Council (MEC), during its quarterly meeting last week, unanimously passed a resolution supporting management’s business plan to remain independent under the Midwest Air Group corporate structure. This comes on the heels of AirTran Holding’s latest bid to purchase Midwest.

“The MEC believes this is the best course of action for the Midwest pilots at this time,” said Midwest MEC chairman, Capt. Jay Schnedorf. “This endorsement takes into consideration the pilot group’s career expectations, as well as our airline’s future security, long-term health and sustainability in an ever-changing and competitive industry.”

Since AirTran made its initial bid, Midwest pilot union leaders conducted an extensive review of both Midwest’s short- and long-term business plans and AirTran’s business plan. Additionally, the MEC met with AirTran management representatives and leaders of the National Pilots Association (NPA) — the independent union representing AirTran pilots. The MEC also met with Midwest Airlines management representatives, including the CEO, to address questions and concerns of the pilot group. The MEC endorsement comes as a result of its determination that a neutral position no longer served the pilots’ best interests.

“Midwest pilots have the full support of their union, the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA),” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “The Midwest pilot group isn’t just 380 pilots strong — it’s 60,000 pilots strong, and ALPA is fully committed to protecting and advancing Midwest pilots’ interests.”

“We are proud of the high level of safe, efficient service that Midwest pilots provide on a daily basis,” Capt. Schnedorf said, “and we look forward to the continued success of the airline and our pilots. The MEC believes that by supporting management’s plan to remain an independent airline, the interests and concerns of our pilot group are best served.”

Capt. Schnedorf indicated that the Midwest pilot group will continue to work with the AirTran pilots across company lines regardless of whether a merger occurs. “As AirTran pilots continue with their negotiations, we will help them achieve the best possible contract. Midwest pilots are preparing for negotiations next year, and every pilot group that achieves its contract goals enhances our collective strength at the bargaining table,” he said.

“We are committed to restoring the piloting profession in real terms,” Capt. Prater added. “Despite the Midwest pilot group’s size, they have access to a wealth of resources as a result of their decision nine years ago to join a strong, international union with ALPA. I believe that all airline pilots, including those at AirTran, would benefit by making the same decision.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing 60,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the United States and Canada, including the approximately 380 pilots who fly for Midwest Airlines. Midwest Airlines operates 341 flights a day, serving 47 cities throughout the United States. Visit the ALPA website at http://www.alpa.org/.

Source: Air Line Pilots Association, International