Hawaiian Pilots Renew Informational Picketing in Honolulu
Hawaiian Airlines pilots returned to informational picketing at Honolulu International Airport today, as the pilots’ union and the company remained far apart on contract negotiations.
Another mediated negotiation session is scheduled for June 7-10, 2016 in Reston, VA.
The pilots continue to prepare for a possible strike, having approved a strike authorization vote by a 99% margin on May 17.
The Hawaiian Airlines Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l or ALPA, now has $2 million in strike preparation funds available, thanks to a grant from the national union’s Major Contingency Fund.
“With the summer travel season moving into high gear Memorial Day weekend, the Hawaiian pilots will be picketing throughout the summer to remind our passengers that we are ready to strike if negotiations break down and the government allows a walkout,” said Hawaiian MEC Chairman Capt. Hoon Lee.
“We need to see real progress from the company when we meet with them in June. Otherwise we will have to consider asking the mediator whether the talks have reached an impasse,” he said.
Hawaiian’s 627 pilots have been in contract talks for more than a year, and entered federal mediation in January. Before a strike could occur, the National Mediation Board would have to release the two sides from mediation, offer binding arbitration, and then go through a 30-day cooling off period if either side declined arbitration.
According to the ALPA, the pilots are seeking a “market-rate contract with pay, benefits and work rules equivalent to those earned by other pilots whose airlines fly to Hawaiʻi, including Delta, United, Alaska, and American.” ALPA claims Hawaiian’s total pilot compensation lags as much as 45% behind its leading competitors.
“Today our picketing is only informational, but we’re ready to picket for real this summer if that’s what it takes,” said Lee.