Jazz Pilots Overwhelmingly Authorize Union to Call Strike

TORONTO, May 27 /CNW/ - The Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA) today released the results of the strike ballot conducted by the pilots of Jazz Air LP. An overwhelming 99 percent of pilots voted in favour of a lawful strike should it become necessary to conclude a fair collective agreement with Jazz Air.

"This vote serves as notice to Jazz Air LP that we are united and are committed to achieving a fair and equitable contract now," said Captain Brian Shury, chairman of the Jazz Master Executive Council (MEC), the unit of ALPA that represents the Jazz pilots. "We do not want a strike, we want a contract. But this company is conducting itself in collective bargaining as if it were still in the bankruptcy process. Nothing could be further from the truth."

The Jazz pilots have been subject to a bankruptcy-era contract since 2004. Over the same time period, Jazz has distributed more than $475 million in profits directly to the Jazz Air Income Fund unit holders. The Jazz pilots work under a contract that has seen no adjustments to allowances, pension or benefits, and further pay adjustments to concessionary pay scales that fall well below the rate of inflation. Their collective agreement had an expiry date of June 30, 2009.

"The Jazz pilots are seeking a contract that recognizes their contribution to the success of the airline," Captain Shury added. "The senior management of this airline refuses to meaningfully share any of the proceeds of success with the front line employees who are responsible for delivering the company's record-setting operational performance. It is not that Jazz is unable to meet the reasonable expectations of the pilots - it is that they are simply unwilling to do so."

Under the Canada Labour Code, both the strike authorization vote and written notification to the Company are required steps before any withdrawal of services can begin. Of the pilots eligible to vote, more than 90 percent participated in the balloting. At the end of the mandatory cooling-off period, Jazz pilots will legally be allowed to go on strike.

Jazz pilots received a $5 million grant from ALPA's Major Contingency Fund (MCF), which provides pilot groups with the resources needed for responding when threats to their jobs and their profession are imminent. "While the Jazz Air pilots consider a strike a matter of last resort, this vote demonstrates their steadfast unity in achieving their contract goals," said Capt. John Prater, ALPA president. "If Jazz Air pilots declare a strike, it will be conducted with the extensive resources and the full backing of the 53,000 pilots represented by ALPA."

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world's largest pilot union, representing nearly 53,000 pilots at 38 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org. Jazz Air LP provides regional service on behalf of Air Canada to more than 80 centres across Canada and the United States on more than 800 daily flights.

SOURCE Air Line Pilots Association, International

For further information: For further information: Capt. Brian Shury, Jazz MEC Chair (English): 1-866-423-2006; Capt. Nick Di Cintio (Francais): 1-866-824-8424; Lynn Konwin, ALPA Communications: (703) 481-4468, lynn.konwin@alpa.org

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Air Line Pilots Association, International

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