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EIA Crewmembers: New Talks Must Result in Fair Contract

Dépèche transmise le 31 août 2011 par Business Wire

MCMINNVILLE, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Evergreen International Airlines (EIA) pilots and flight engineers are calling on management to commit to reaching a tentative agreement during upcoming talks set to begin September 19 at the National Mediation Board (NMB) in Washington, D.C.

“Our crews have continued to work over the ensuing years of negotiations without compensation for the soaring cost of living, while the company continues to pursue lucrative, guaranteed-paid government contracts that insulate it from any cost increases.”

EIA crewmembers, who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), have worked under the existing contract for seven years with frozen wages and benefits. The majority of Evergreen’s flying supports the U.S. military. The pilots proudly transport freight for U.S. military troops and operations throughout the Middle East into Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait on a daily basis.

“The Evergreen pilots call on management to fully engage in the upcoming talks with the goal of reaching a tentative agreement by the end of the session,” said Capt. James Touchette, chairman of ALPA’s Evergreen chapter. “Our crews have continued to work over the ensuing years of negotiations without compensation for the soaring cost of living, while the company continues to pursue lucrative, guaranteed-paid government contracts that insulate it from any cost increases.”

Working under a 1999 contract, Evergreen crewmembers have been paid subpar wages and endured substandard working conditions, which include 16-hour or longer duty days, for more than a decade. When contrasted with comparable cargo carriers, the average hourly rate of pay for Evergreen captains is as much as 23 percent less than their peers across the industry. Similarly, first officers at Evergreen are paid up to 56 percent less, and flight engineers are paid up to 33 percent less than others in the same seat position based on longevity.

“We have invested our careers in this company and are dedicated to its success, and only ask for a fair and equitable commitment from Evergreen in the form of industry-standard wages, cost-of-living adjusted benefits, and modern work rules,” said Touchette. “Flying to far-flung places around the world—many of them quite volatile―for weeks at a time takes stamina, professionalism, and family sacrifices. Tangible enhanced working conditions and industry-standard pay would go a long way to improving our pilots’ quality of life and making our sacrifices more palatable. Surely that translates into a good business model for a successful company.”

The upcoming negotiating session follows two rounds of talks in February and May 2011 at which minimal progress was made on economic items at the table. The parties remain under NMB jurisdiction.

“’Our goal is to secure a fair contract,” said Touchette. “We earnestly hope that Evergreen management will come to the National Mediation Board talks in Washington, D.C., ready to address long-neglected economic issues and complete these frustratingly protracted negotiations with a just, new contract.”

ALPA is the bargaining representative for the 230 pilots and flight engineers who fly for Evergreen. EIA crewmembers operate a fleet of Boeing 747s and specialize in charter and contract freighter operations around the globe from EIA’s hub cities of New York (JFK) and Travis Air Force Base, Calif.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing more than 53,000 pilots at 39 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.

Business Wire

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