Judge rules that ATSG dispute with pilots should go to arbitration

08 / 11 / 2016

A judge has ruled that the dispute between US freighter lessor Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) and its pilots should be resolved through a grievance and arbitration process.

Judge Timothy Black of the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio said that the dispute is a minor dispute under the US Railway Labor Act and should be resolved through the current labour agreement between the two parties.

ATSG initiated court action in the US against two unions who want the company’s subsidiary cargo airlines, ABX Air (ABX) and Air Transport International (ATI), to be defined as a single system. The complaint was filed by ABX.

The pilots are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Airline Division and the Airline Professionals Association of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 1224 (collectively, the IBT).

The two unions contend that ATSG has operated the two carriers “as a single transportation system while maintaining a facade of two separate carriers”.

In response, ATSG chief financial officer Quint Turner said: “ATSG owns and operates two airlines with separate and distinct US FAA Part 121 Air Carrier certificates, ABX Air and Air Transport International.

John Starkovich, president of ABX Air, said that the airline will continue discussions with IBT representatives about resolving differences over pilots’ ability to determine compensatory time for extra flying at premium pay levels, versus ABX Air’s need to adequately crew its freighter aircraft with pilots during the peak holiday period.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with the pilots’ union in ensuring that our pilots maintain scheduling flexibility while at the same time ensuring that ABX Air has sufficient flight crews available to meet the needs of its customers,” Starkovich said.

 “I look forward to a prompt and fair resolution of these issues under our current labour agreement.”