Atlas Pilots Protest at NASDAQ While Company Holds Investor Day
While Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW) hosted an investor day in New York yesterday, the pilots working for its subsidiary air carriers who fly cargo for DHL and Amazon.com picketed outside the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square.
Through its Atlas Air, Inc. and Polar Air Worldwide Cargo, Inc. subsidiaries, AAWW is DHL’s largest U.S. contractor.
Wearing their pilot uniforms and holding signs reading, “Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Pilots Ready to Strike,” “Americans Deserve a Fair Deal from DHL” and “Our Families Deserve Better,” the pilots marched in front of the MarketSite entrance to tell AAWW investors and executives that it’s time for the company to get serious about working with pilots to come to a fair contract agreement that is up to cargo industry standards.
“AAWW investors know that pilots keep our company and DHL running, and they should be deeply concerned that we are ready to go on a strike that would fully halt AAWW’s entire operation,” said Atlas Air pilot Asterios Houtas. “We hope investors will call on AAWW to do what’s in the best interest of everyone, including shareholders, pilots and customers like DHL and Amazon.com, and work with us to come to a fair, industry-standard contract agreement that gives our families the stability we need.”
AAWW owns three airlines that fly for DHL — Atlas Air, Inc., Polar Air Cargo, Inc. and Southern Air Holdings, Inc. The pilots, who are represented by the Internaitonal Brotherhood of Teamsters, claim the company is refusing to bargain fairly.
The AAWW pilots were also joined in solidarity by pilots from ABX, another carrier whose parent company contracts with DHL and Amazon.com.
In March, ATSG, ABX’s owner, announced an agreement with Amazon.com to operate an air cargo network serving Amazon customers in the U.S. Amazon.com recently signed an agreement with Atlas Air to double its fleet for domestic packages.
The Teamsters claim that AAWW and its airline affiliates are attempting to force the pilots to merge the now-obsolete Atlas Air contract with a Southern Air contract that was negotiated during bankruptcy. AAWW has stated that existing collective bargaining agreements call for the merger of contracts in the event of a company acquisition.
A strike would halt AAWW’s global flying and cripple operations for DHL. DHL accounts for more than 50 percent of Atlas Air’s business, and it is the sole customer of Southern Air. A strike could also have a significant impact on Amazon.com.
Atlas Air pilots and AAWW recently entered into federally mediated contract negotiations. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Teamsters Airline Division and APA Teamsters Local 1224, filed for mediation with the National Mediation Board (NMB).
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