Business

Hawaiian Airlines Pilots Vote for Strike if Contract Talks Fail

May 17, 2016, 4:17 PM HST
* Updated May 17, 3:50 PM
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Hawaiian Airlines courtesy photo.

Hawaiian Airlines courtesy photo.

Steps moving forward, including a potential strike, was voted on by Hawaiian Airlines pilots represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International on Tuesday.

The pilots authorized that their elected union representatives could conduct the withdrawal of service if contract talks don’t result in a new collective bargaining agreement.

Nearly 98 percent of the pilot group voted on Tuesday, and 99 percent of those who voted supported a strike. The ballot opened on April 25.

“This vote shows the deep anger our pilots feel toward their senior management,” said Captain Hoon Lee, chairman of the ALPA unit at Hawaiian Airlines. “We absolutely do not want to go on strike, but if that’s what it takes to get a market-rate contract, our pilots have told us loud and clear that they will stand together and take that final step.”

A voting rally was held near the Honolulu International Airport on Tuesday, where they cheered when Lee and ALPA leaders announced the voting results.

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On May 25, the pilots will hold and informational picket at the airport.

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According to ALPA, a strike vote doesn’t necessarily mean that a strike is imminent. The National Mediation Board will see if additional mediation efforts would assist in the dispute. If either side declines arbitration, the parties will enter a “cooling off” period, where they are free to exercise self-help and a strike by the pilots of a lockout by the company 30 days later.

The pilots’ contract became amendable in September 2015.

ALPA and Hawaiian Airlines management began contract talks last May and began working with a NMB mediator in January.

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“At a time when Hawaiian is making more money than ever before, our management stubbornly refuses to share those profits with the employees who earned them,” Lee said. “Our patience is at an end and we demand a market-rate contract that recognizes our contributions to this airline’s astounding success.”

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