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Hawaiian Airlines pilots picketing at Honolulu International Airport

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Saying “two years is too long” to wait for a fair contract, Hawaiian Airlines pilots picketed at Honolulu International Airport and took out ads in Hawaii’s largest newspapers today in an effort to ju

Saying “two years is too long” to wait for a fair contract, Hawaiian Airlines pilots picketed at Honolulu International Airport and took out ads in Hawaii’s largest newspapers today in an effort to jump-start stalled negotiations with management.

More than 100 Hawaiian pilots represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) were scheduled to conduct informational picketing outside the airport’s interisland terminal throughout the day, joined by pilots from United Airlines, Island Air, Mesa Air Group, and other ALPA-represented pilot groups.

“We have been in negotiations since April 2007 and feel management currently shows no intention of wanting to achieve a fair agreement with our pilot group. Our last scheduled meeting with the federal mediator starts tomorrow, and we feel these next two weeks of mediation are crucial in bringing the contract talks to a successful conclusion,” said Capt. Eric Sampson, chairman of ALPA’s Hawaiian Airlines group.

In addition to today’s picketing, the Hawaiian pilots launched an advertising campaign with mobile billboards in Las Vegas on April 3, 4, and 5 and display advertising in the Honolulu Advertiser and Star-Bulletin newspapers. The pilots had previously run mobile billboards in San Diego in February.

ALPA’s present contract with Hawaiian was negotiated in bankruptcy back in 2005 and became amendable two years ago. The Hawaiian pilots continue to work under the current contract terms until they can reach a new agreement. The pilots have made numerous contract concessions over the past six years, including a 20 percent cut in overall pilot payroll in 2003.

“We gave up a lot prior to bankruptcy, and we gave up additional benefits in bankruptcy. We are simply trying to get back some of what we lost, including help to keep up with inflation and to stabilize our retirement,” Sampson said. “Hawaiian Airlines is profitable and our sacrifices have helped make this possible.”

“We want the public to know that we care about our passengers and the future of Hawaiian Airlines. We ask our management to negotiate a fair agreement so we can move forward together – Hawaiian is a great airline, and we thank all of our customers for their support,” Sampson said.

Hawaiian Airlines released this statement this afternoon:

Hawaiian has offered ways to further raise the pay of its pilots without worsening what is already a competitive disadvantage for the company. Negotiations are continuing with the help of a federal mediator, who is holding additional meeting dates in future months if an agreement isn’t reached soon.