ALPA Win: ICAO Prohibits Lithium Metal Battery Cargo on All Passenger Airliners

ALPA pilots achieved a significant win in our campaign to level the playing field for U.S. airlines when the ICAO’s Dangerous Goods Panel (DGP) recently revised its cargo standards to prohibit the carriage of lithium metal batteries as cargo on all passenger airliners beginning January 1, 2015.

For many years, F/O Mark Rogers, director of ALPA’s dangerous goods program, has pushed hard for such a prohibition—including at DGP’s recent meeting in Montréal, Canada. ICAO’s action on lithium metal batteries is similar to the U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations ban on cargo transport of these batteries in 2004, as it applies to domestic and foreign passenger-carrying airliners entering, leaving, or operating in the United States. The U.S. ban came as a result of a National Transportation Safety Board recommendation following a 1999 incident involving a shipment of two pallets of lithium batteries at LAX.

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ALPA Defends Piloting Profession

ALPA recently capitalized on several opportunities to vigorously advance our members’ interests in key international news media outlets.

On March 27, USA Today published a letter to the editor that ALPA submitted response to the article titled “Pilots face tough physicals, but ‘shallow’ mental exams,” which erroneously claimed that all-cargo pilots at airlines such as FedEx Express were held to lower standards than those pilots who fly passenger aircraft. In this instance, ALPA stepped in with the following facts: “All airline pilots undergo a medical evaluation at least once each year, most twice each year, by a medical doctor who is trained to evaluate pilots physically and emotionally.”

On April 1, The Wall Street Journal published a letter to the editor under the headline “This Is Your Drone Speaking. You May Unfasten . . . ,” that was written by ALPA in response to a column titled, “Someday, All Planes Will Be Drones.” In the letter, ALPA set the record straight and underscored that “Major concerns surround the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems [UAS] into the shared national airspace.”

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JetBlue Vote Opens Today

The National Mediation Board (NMB) mailed voting instructions to eligible jetBlue pilots today for ALPA representation. The confidential voting uses internet and telephone balloting. The voting period will close on April 22 at 2 p.m., when the Board will announce the results.

For more information, watch the following message from ALPA president, Capt. Lee Moak, to JetBlue pilots:

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Bring On the Vikings? We’re Ready to Fight.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal released an article titled “Free the Viking Skies” which highlighted Norwegian Air Shuttle’s intentions of bringing a new, low-cost, long-haul carrier to the United States; calling to “Bring on the Vikings.” In the article, U.S. airlines and their employees were described as protectionists. We all know that this is simply not the case. In fact, we are far from being protectionists. As agreed to in the U.S.-EU Open Skies agreements, the U.S. airline industry and its employees expect the EU and the United States to uphold their promise to abide by high labor standards and fair competition.

Today, the Wall Street Journal highlighted ALPA’s response to last week’s call to “Bring on the Vikings.” Our message was simple: We’re Ready to Fight for the Tens of Thousands of U.S. Airline Industry Employees.

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ALPA’s Call for “Fair Skies” at International Aviation Club

Final Moak Speech 31014

I feel certain every ALPA pilot shares my deep concern regarding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Through the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations, our union has offered any assistance we can provide to the crew’s colleagues and to the investigation.

While ALPA works to advance the highest standards of safety, we also do all we can to ensure that the U.S. airline industry is economically strong and competitive.

I was invited to speak before the International Aviation Club this week. I took the opportunity to call on U.S. government leaders to take new action to make certain that U.S. Open Skies agreements and other policies give U.S. airline industry workers a fair opportunity to compete internationally.

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What Sets Us Apart

This week at the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting, the topic of JetBlue pilots coming to ALPA to seek representation was one of great interest. A number of labor leaders across the spectrum of the workforce asked me questions about the organizing effort, one of the few ongoing in the United States in an era of declining unionization. I told these leaders that the JetBlue pilots approached ALPA because they’re ready to join our ranks and the 95 percent of pilots in the industry who retain a strong collective-bargaining representative. They want a proven voice to secure a legally binding contract. JetBlue pilots see the strength of ALPA and the tremendous value we provide to our members and the traveling public; their current relationship with management at their company does not provide that same value. They work for a great company but are ready for the next level.

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No Thanks to Walmarting the Airline Industry

By Lee Moak and Ed Wytkind

We just concluded a remarkable meeting in Oslo, Norway, with our labor counterparts in Europe to accelerate a campaign against flag of convenience airlines that seek to scour the globe for low labor standards and lax rules and regulations.  We gathered in Norway to make the case against Norwegian Air International (NAI), which has designs on expanding service in Europe and to the United States using cockpit and cabin crew based in Thailand and covered under the labor laws of Singapore.  We also came to Oslo to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with airline employees in Norway who face the real consequences of seeing one of their own major airlines evade its social obligations.

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