Friday, April 23, 2010

Piedmont Airlines pilots apply for mediation of contract talks

by B. N. Sullivan

Piedmont AirlinesThe pilots at Piedmont Airlines have applied to the National Mediation Board (NMB) for mediation of their contract negotiations.

Contract talks between the pilots' union, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), and Piedmont management have been underway since May of 2009, but little progress has been made. ALPA says that only two contract sections have been agreed upon in 11 months. The union claims that during negotiating sessions, management "has routinely responded to proposals from the pilots union with a terse 'current book or less'—indicating that the company will only agree to the current language in the contract or concessions from the pilot group."

ALPA accuses Piedmont management of stalling negotiations by resisting attempts from the union to schedule additional negotiating sessions, only offering two days a month over the next five months.

“When we entered into negotiations in May 2009, we didn’t expect it to be an easy process,” said Captain Charles Martinak, chairman of the Piedmont unit of ALPA. “However, we did expect the company to fully engage in the process, which, simply put, it hasn’t.”

Captain Dale Mojta, who leads the Negotiating Committee for the Piedmont pilots, added, “For 11 months, we’ve sat across the table from a management that seems to have no interest in coming to an agreement. Hopefully, a mediator can put an end to these stonewalling tactics, and this pilot group can get the fair contract we deserve.”