The pilots at AirTran Airways have voted 'overwhelmingly' to merge their independent union, the National Pilots Association (NPA), with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). According to ALPA, a 'landslide' 87% of AirTran pilots cast votes in support of merging NPA with ALPA, with more than 94% of eligible AirTran pilots voting.
“With this decisive vote, the AirTran pilots made it clear they want representation by a strong international union that is run by airline pilots and for airline pilots,” said Capt. John Prater, president of ALPA. “We look forward to working with the AirTran pilots and to providing the union’s unparalleled professional resources and expertise, as well as the support of other ALPA pilots in Atlanta and across the country, to help them achieve and enforce the fair contract they deserve.”
The vote by the NPA membership was no surprise. In February, the NPA board had voted unanimously to merge with ALPA. AirTran's 1,700 pilots are hoping to benefit from ALPA's considerable clout in support of their ongoing contract negotiations with AirTran management -- talks that have been going on intermittently since 2004.
ALPA's Executive Board is expected to ratify the merger decision later this month. If that happens, the merger will go into effect on May 1, 2009.
UPDATE Apr. 16, 2009: ALPA’s Executive Council unanimously approved the merger agreement with the National Pilots Association (NPA), which represents 1,700 AirTran pilots. The merger will now be sent for final approval to ALPA’s full Executive Board on April 28.