Atlas Air calls pilots’ union mediation request ‘premature’

One day after unions representing pilots who fly DHL routes for Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (AAWW) requested mediation support by the National Mediation Board (NMB), Atlas Air responded, saying the mediation request was “premature,” and added that the union has no right to strike under the latest Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement.

“The negotiation process has just begun,” said an AAWW spokesperson. “The NMB is currently investigating how to best move forward and will let the parties know what it concludes. While we continue to believe this request is early, we will cooperate fully with the process.”

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division and APA Teamsters 1224, representing more than 1,300 pilots flying DHL cargo for Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo, sent out a press release on Tuesday announcing a request for mediation following the acquisition of Southern Air Holdings by AAWW. The AAWW spokesperson countered that “explicit processes are delineated in the respective collective bargaining agreements for negotiating.”

AAWW also said the union had announced that it was “taking a strike vote.” The union, AAWW said, “has no right to strike regardless of any strike vote. The Atlas and Southern Collective Bargaining Agreements provide that upon a merger, if the parties cannot reach a joint contract, any open issues are resolved through an orderly resolution process.”

The spokesperson continued, saying that the Southern acquisition “is very good for Atlas and Southern pilots.” When the merger details were initially announced, she said, “the International Leadership as well as that of Local 1224’s recognized the benefits of this merger by endorsing the transaction.”

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