US Airways Pilots Picket Against Low Wages

The pilots of US Airways picketed today at the Philadelphia International Airport to bring attention to the airline’s refusal to renegotiate contracts since 2005.

The stalemate has festered over time, and US Airways pilots now receive the lowest wages among all the major airlines.

According to a press release issued by The US Airlines Pilots Association (USAPA) the pilots have tried to reason with the airline and have recognized the burdens of the recession and the terror attacks of Sept. 11. Now, however, the pilots have had enough.

“The pilots of US Airways have made significant concessions to help the airline successfully navigate multiple bankruptcies and the economic challenges that resulted from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001,” USAPA President Mike Cleary said in the release. “Now that those difficult times are behind us, US Airways is not stepping up at the bargaining table.”

The release goes on to explain that US Airways pilots as a whole have found the ongoing merger between US Airways and America West Airlines, which began in 2005 and has not closed, to be untenable.

The pilots complain that they are held under obsolete contracts that were brokered even before the merger took place. Pilots under the former America West contracts abide by different rules than those who signed contracts under US Airways prior to the merger.

In 2009, the pilots requested a hearing before the National Mediation Board, but US Airways turned them down. In November of the same year, the pilots circumvented permission by US Airways and applied for a mediator directly. They were granted that request in January 2010, but US Airways management has been putting off negotiations, according to the release.

“After five years of management’s stalling tactics—while we work for substantially less than our industry peers—we have to consider what’s best for our membership,” Cleary said in the release.

If the situation continues unanswered by US Airways, the USAPA may reach the self-help stage of mediation, in which the Union could strike or take other measures to obtain their desires in full and temporarily cease the airline’s operations.

The picketing event was held today between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm at Philadelphia International Airport.