Saturday, February 16, 2008

ASTAR Air Cargo pilots reach contract agreement

ASTARA tentative contract agreement between ASTAR Air Cargo and its pilots has been announced. The agreement, which is subject to ratification by the pilots, was the culmination of several years of negotiations between the freight carrier and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the union representing the pilots.

Contract negotiations, which began in 2005, have at times been contentious. Since April of 2006, negotiations between the pilots and ASTAR management have been conducted with the assistance of the National Mediation Board. ASTAR pilots have not had a pay raise since 2002.

A media release about the ASTAR contract issued by ALPA describes the new contract terms this way:
Under the terms of the agreement, the ASTAR crewmembers will receive retro pay and more than 20% in pay increases over the course of the 4-year agreement. In addition, the pilots will receive furlough protections and a commitment by the company to secure new aircraft. The same minimum credit per day was retained.
Regarding the new agreement, Captain Earl Smith, chairman of the ASTAR crewmembers, said, "I am pleased that we have reached a tentative agreement that offers ASTAR Air Cargo crewmembers improvements in job security, growth, pay increases, and retro compensation. Most of all, this tentative agreement, if approved by the pilot membership, will give ASTAR crewmembers a new and well deserved combination of job security and economic advancement."

ASTAR Air Cargo operates 44 aircraft from its hub in Wilmington, OH. It provides scheduled and charter services on a contract basis to DHL Worldwide Express, the U.S. military and the United States Postal Service.

UPDATE March 6, 2008: ASTAR pilots have ratified the new labor contract. According to a news release issued by ALPA, nearly 89 percent of the 427 eligible crewmembers voted, with 93 percent voting in favor of the agreement.