comscore Hawaiian Airlines pilots picket over labor negotiations | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Hawaiian Airlines pilots picket over labor negotiations

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Hawaiian Airlines pilots picketed Wednesday on the second level of the interisland terminal.

More than 300 uniformed Hawaiian Airlines pilots, carrying signs that read “Fully Qualifed, Partially Paid!” and “Mr. Dunkerley, What does Ohana mean to you?, picketed in shifts at Honolulu Airport’s interisland terminal today to bring public awareness to the slow pace of labor negotiations with the company.

The pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, said they are seeking a 45 percent increase in their overall contract value to bring them in line with market rates that pilots at other major carriers receive for flying similar aircraft. But the pilots claim that Hawaiian, despite record profits and a soaring stock price, is seeking additional concessions that the airline could not receive in its 2003-2005 bankruptcy reorganization.

“It’s not just wages we’re seeking in this contract,” said Hoon Lee, chairman of Hawaiian Airlines’ ALPA unit. “It’s the benefits and the quality of life. Some of the concessions impact the minimum number of days we want possibly being reduced by 25 percent, and/or medical changes for both active employees and retirees.”

The pilots, walking in tight orderly circles on sidewalks outside the baggage area on the bottom level of the interisland terminal and outside the ticket counter on the second level, didn’t disrupt Hawaiian’s operations, according to company spokeswoman Ann Botticelli.

ALPA said it was permitted by the state to have 20 pilots walk at any one time on the bottom level and 30 to walk on the upper level. ALPA said 328, or about 95 percent of its available pilots, participated in the informational picketing, which took place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hawaiian has about 630 pilots overall.

Hawaiian President and CEO Mark Dunkerley said in a memo to employees today that the company is likewise frustrated by the pace of negotiations and is thankful that a federal mediator is helping to close the gaps. ALPA and the company began talks on April 1 on the pilots’ five-year contract that became amendable on Sept. 14. They have been under federal mediation since January and have additional mediation scheduled March 29 through April 1 in Washington, D.C.

“We all know that Hawaiian Airlines’ success has been driven by the hard work of every single employee in the company – pilots very much included – and we are committed to providing compensation packages for all of our work groups that are in line with our competitive position in the industry,” Dunkerley said in the memo. “That includes not only wages, but also medical, vacation and retirement benefits and work rules. Recently, our clerical and mechanical colleagues overwhelmingly ratified a contract that achieved our competitive compensation goal, and we seek no less than that for our pilots.”

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    • Sounds like you’ve done quite a bit of research involving airline industry salary & benefit surveys and such. What did your research show that would suggest any of the HA flight crews and managers are overpaid? I’m sure that you have some kind of data, of some kind, to support your comment. Right?

  • Considering the profits HA is making I sure think the pilots deserve to be treated well. They are a lot more important that the CEO’s that sit behind a desk.

    • Considering the profits HA is making I sure think that they should reduce airfare for consumers and add more flights. I’m sure there are lots of qualified pilots out there so I’m not worried about those threatening to….what….quit?

      • You’re sure that there are a lot of qualified pilots out there? You’re wrong, of course. There’s a nationwide shortage of pilots with enough hours in type to fill the need. Very well researched comment!

        • Yeah, just like there are a “shortage of nurses” right? Yet check out Hawaii’s hiring of nurses – there aren’t any! In fact, they are cutting hours everywhere. You see, you’re the type of person who believes everything she reads from the media. Poor thing, you.

        • HAJAA1 – If your argument about pilots falls apart because you’re lying, make sure you change the subject to nurses. That makes about as much sense as anything else you write. The shortage of qualified, high-hour pilots is a real thing.

  • Everytime I read something about HAL, they are hiring execs for one thing or another and their respective salaries are easily over $100,000. I mean within the last couple years I could thing of five executives hired which means a total salary of over half million not counting benefits etc….yet, these pilots have to walk to let Dunkerly, the CEO, that they want a fair settlement now….i sympathize with these pilots as the burden of the responsibilities of maintaining and flying the planes rest on their shoulders……the flight attendants are something else, though, as they can be surly and arrogant with attitude problems like they are doing you a favor and they have a smirk on their faces….im not the only one that feels this way as many of my friends, neighbors that fly HAL feel the same way, too. Oh, well……..having a monopoly in the market can do that to you………

  • I don’t care what they do. I haven’t flown Hawaiian in 10 years and will NEVER fly Hawaiian Airlines again! The agents, flight attendants, customer service and the management is the worst I have ever dealt with. Do everybody a favor and go on strike for the next year or two. Just go away, No worries, Delta, Alaska, United will pick up the slack. 🙂

  • What I cannot understand is that we live in a free country. You are not obligated to keep your job. Nobody really is. So….if you are not happy with your pay, benefits, working conditions, pay comparisons, etc., THEN QUIT! And go find another job that will suit like liking. It’s really quite simple, only unions pretend it’s not. You say you can’t find another job that will pay what you want or you can but they aren’t hiring?….Then stay and be thankful as all heck. See? SIMPLE.

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