Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: AAWW) today confirmed that its subsidiary, Atlas Air, Inc. (the “Company”), prevailed in an important arbitration between the Company and the union that represents its pilots, the Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224 (the “Union”). The August 26, 2019 arbitration decision affirms that the merger provisions of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) apply in connection with Atlas Air’s acquisition of Southern Air, Inc. in April 2016.
It further affirms the Company’s long-standing position that the Union has been in violation of the existing CBA by refusing to follow the merger provisions for a new joint collective bargaining agreement (JCBA), and by failing to present an integrated pilot seniority list to the Company. In a separate, but related, proceeding, the Union was also found to be in violation of the Southern Air CBA for refusing to follow the merger provisions for this JCBA on behalf of the Southern Air pilots.
“It is time for our hardworking crew of over 2,000 Atlas Air and Southern Air pilots to receive a new, competitive contract with enhanced pay and benefits. This has been our goal since we announced the Atlas-Southern merger in early 2016. The recent decisions by the arbitrators have made clear that the existing collective bargaining agreements provide the appropriate path for the merger and should have been followed,” said William J. Flynn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Air Worldwide.
The arbitrators in both cases ordered the Union to now proceed with contractually required negotiations for a new JCBA in connection with the merger. The Union is required to submit an integrated seniority list of Atlas Air and Southern Air pilots to the company within 45 days, followed by a period of bargaining, after which any unresolved issues would be submitted to timely, interest-based arbitration.
As previously announced, in a separate labor-related proceeding in July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed a federal district court ruling that ordered the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Airline Division, and Local Union No. 1224 to stop an intentional and illegal work slowdown by Atlas pilots in violation of the Railway Labor Act. The unanimous ruling from a three-judge panel blocks the Union from continuing to engage in improper activities such as excessive sick calls on short notice or refusing to work overtime.
“Now, with these decisions behind us, the path forward is clear and we are positioned for real progress,” said Mr. Flynn. “In order to advance negotiations and provide our pilots with the new contract they deserve, the Union has important responsibilities as part of this process. Specifically, the Union has an obligation to promptly provide us with an integrated seniority list as ordered by the arbitrators. Additionally, despite our repeated requests, the Union has yet to provide us with a comprehensive economic proposal covering pay and benefits for evaluation. These steps are essential for us to move forward in a timely way for the benefit of our pilots.
“We value the dedication of our crews, and we look forward to recognizing their significant contributions to the development and growth of our business. Together with the Union, we have a responsibility to create an environment for our pilots to achieve their fullest potential.”