Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo accuse unions of "illegal work slowdown"

25 / 09 / 2017

  • Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo accuse unions of "illegal work slowdown"

    Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo accuse unions of "illegal work slowdown"

Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo Worldwide have accused unions of an "illegal work slowdown" and have filed a complaint with a US district court to stop the action.

The airlines, part of Atlas Air Worldwide, said the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Airline Division, and Local Union No. 1224 (IBT) are engaging in an "unlawful, concerted work slowdown to gain advantage in pilot contract negotiations currently underway".

The company said the work slowdown and service interruptions are causing significant flight delays and harm to the Company and its valued customers.

“As the largest air cargo outsourcer in the world and the largest provider of commercial airlift for the US military, businesses across the globe and millions of people depend on the stability, reliability, and viability of Atlas’ day-to-day operations,” said William Flynn, president and chief executive of Atlas Air Worldwide.

“We value our commitment to our customers and the passengers and cargo entrusted to us. We must protect the service quality we provide to our customers.”

The company’s request for a preliminary injunction was filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia.

In its filing, the Company states that the IBT has violated its status quo obligations under the Railway Labor Act by "encouraging the slowdown and failing to prevent and discourage it".

The company is asking the Court to compel the IBT to stop the illegal work action and return to normal operations.

The two parties returned to the negotiating table earlier in the summer. The company is hoping to unite its pilots under one contract, following its acquisition of Southern Air and Florida West International Airways last year.

The unions claim that the new owners insisted that pilots stop ongoing contract negotiations and merge their contract with the Southern Air pilots’ existing contract which, they said would cut wages and degrade working conditions for Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo pilots

"Atlas’ customers have been notified of the steps the Company is taking to address the work slowdown," the airline added.

"Atlas values the contributions of its pilots. The Company will continue to negotiate with the IBT for a joint contract for Atlas and Southern Air crewmembers in connection with the pending merger."


Daniel Wells, president of APA Teamsters Local 1224, said: "We’re still reviewing all of the details, but our initial assessment of AAWW’s lawsuit suggests it is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to abdicate responsibility for its failures and refusal to address the long-expected decline in global pilot supply.

"Meanwhile, Atlas has intentionally expanded its flying operations, all while pretending that it has the staffing capacity to do so. It should come as no surprise therefore that Atlas’ operations are now subject to criticism and scrutiny from its customers and the public.

"Our customers deserve real, comprehensive solutions, and we are disappointed that rather than facing reality, Atlas would prefer to shift the blame for its mismanagement onto the pilots.”


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