Hawaiian Airlines Unions Have Contract Agreements





Hawaiian Airlines Unions Have Contract Agreements

By Mike Mitchell

January 20, 2010 - Hawaiian has reached agreements with its pilots’ union, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), flight attendants’ union, the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA), dispatchers’ union, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Clerical Division (IAM-C). Hawaiian is continuing to work with its IAM – Mechanics Division on a new agreement, its last remaining work group in contract negotiations. 

Hawaiian Airlines and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Clerical Division (IAM-C) announced yesterday that the union’s membership has ratified the negotiated agreement on a new four-year contract by a 75 percent vote. The new contract provides IAM-C’s membership Hawaiian’s largest single work group with increased compensation, while also allowing for operational improvements that benefit the company.

IAM-C represents 1,245 employees at Hawaiian in a wide range of positions, encompassing airport customer service, ramp, reservations, schedule planning, purchasing, records, and crew scheduling. Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and CEO, said, “Like the other labor agreements we have reached, this contract will improve the standard of living for our employees while helping to improve operating efficiency for the company.” Randy Kauhane, IAM assistant general manager, District Lodge 141, commented, “In these uncertain economic times, we are pleased our members have a new contract in place that will keep them secure for the next four years. We appreciate all the efforts made by our negotiating committee and Hawaiian in reaching this agreement that benefits all parties involved.” 

Hawaiian pilots endorse new contract; agreement improves pay, retirement and scheduling flexibility. Int’l (ALPA) have ratified a tentative contract agreement, the latest sign that the airline industry and the piloting profession are recovering from the bankruptcy doldrums of the past decade. Ninety percent of the HAL pilots eligible to vote cast ballots, with 83 percent of the group voting in favor of the agreement – a more than four-to-one margin. 

“This contract is a win-win for our members as well as the airline,” said Capt. Eric Sampson, chairman of ALPA’s HAL Master Executive Council. “It rewards our pilots for their repeated sacrifices over the years on behalf of Hawaiian, and positions our company for future success well into this new decade. We’re looking forward to working with management to upgrade our fleet and expand our aloha spirit across the Pacific, and we would like to thank the people of Hawaii for their strong support during our lengthy negotiations.”

The 68-month agreement will give pilots pay increases of between four and six percent immediately, and total increases of between 15 and 22 percent over the term of the contract. The agreement also increases the company contribution to the pilots’ retirement plans, provides HAL management more flexibility in pilot training and scheduling, and allows Hawaiian to acquire or code share with a turboprop feeder airline, provided the feeder carrier does not compete with HAL’s existing inter-island turbojet operation. ALPA’s previous contract with Hawaiian was ratified in 2005 to help the airline emerge from bankruptcy. It became amendable on June 30, 2007 and the pilots have been in negotiations for almost three years. 

“The substantial gains in this contract confirm the favorable patterns for pay, benefits and work rules that are long overdue for pilots,” said ALPA President Capt. John Prater. “The Hawaiian agreement is a success story that proves a strong and unified pilot group working together can take charge of their destiny and move both themselves and their airline forward. ALPA sincerely appreciates the valuable assistance provided by the National Mediation Board in reaching a settlement.” 

Hawaiian is the nation’s highest-ranked carrier for service quality and performance in 2008 in the 19th annual Airline Quality Rating study. Hawaiian has also led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past five years (2004-2008) and has been an industry leader in fewest misplaced bags during that same period (#1 from 2005-2007, #2 in 2008) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Consumer surveys by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Zagat have all ranked Hawaiian as the top domestic airline serving Hawaii. 

Now in its 81st year of continuous service for Hawaii, Hawaiian is the state’s biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service to Hawaii from the state’s primary visitor markets on the U.S. mainland. Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawaii from more U.S. gateway cities (10) than any other airline, as well as service to the Philippines, Australia, American Samoa, and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides more than 160 daily jet flights within the Hawaiian Islands. 

Inter-Island Airways, the forerunner of the airline which is now known as Hawaiian Airlines, was incorporated on January 30, 1929. Inter-Island Airways, a subsidiary of Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company, began operations on October 6, 1929 with a Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker, providing short sightseeing flights over O’ahu. Scheduled service began a month later on November 11 using Sikorsky S-38s with a flight from Honolulu to Hilo, via intermediary stops on Molokai and Maui. 

On October 1, 1941, the name was changed to Hawaiian Airlines when the company phased out the older Sikorsky S-38 and Sikorsky S-43 flying boats. In 1966 jet travel started with the acquisition of Douglas DC-9 aircraft, which cut travel times in half on most of the routes. In 1984 the company began to operate charter services to the South Pacific using Douglas DC-8 aircraft, and soon added Lockheed L-1011 aircraft to the fleet for West Coast services. As the west coast market grew, the South Pacific market shrunk, and service was reduced when the company's DC-8s were retired in 1993; and when the L-1011s were replaced by the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 in 1994. 

Hawaiian Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 21, 2003 with operations still continuing, and at the time was overdue for $4.5 million USD worth of payments to the pilots' pension plan. Within the company, it was suggested that the plan be terminated. As of May 2005, Hawaiian Airlines had received court approval of its reorganization plan. The company emerged from bankruptcy protection on June 2, 2005, with reduced operating costs through renegotiated contracts with its union work groups; restructured aircraft leases; and investment from RC Aviation, a unit of San Diego-based Ranch Capital, which bought a majority share in parent company Hawaiian Holdings Inc in 2004. 

Hawaiian has never had a fatal accident in its entire history and is the oldest US carrier with such a distinction (the other airlines in this group have been in business less than 40 years). Hawaiian Airlines was the number one on-time carrier in the United States from November 2003 until November 2006, when rival Aloha Airlines took the number one spot, pushing Hawaiian to a close second. The airline has also frequently been number one in fewest cancellations, baggage handling, and fewest oversales. Hawaiian Airlines has been rated the best carrier serving Hawaii by Travel + Leisure, Zagat, and Condé Nast Traveler. 

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