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Hawaiian Airlines pilots vote to authorize strike

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Hawaiian Airlines pilots have voted to authorize a strike, but a walkout is not imminent.

Hawaiian Airlines pilots have voted to authorize a strike, but a walkout is not imminent.

The Hawaiian Airlines branch of the Air Line Pilots Association said yesterday that 98 percent of pilots who cast ballots voted to authorize a strike.

“This vote should be a wake-up call to Hawaiian Airlines management,” Capt. Eric Sampson, chairman of the ALPA unit at Hawaiian Air, said in a statement posted on the ALPA Web site.

“There has never been a strike in the 80-year history of our airline, and we don’t want one now. But if that’s what it takes to win a fair and reasonable contract, our pilots have told us loud and clear that they’re ready to take that final step.”

The pilots are negotiating with the airline, and talks run by a federal mediator are planned for Oct. 12 in Washington.

The strike vote does not mean that a strike is imminent. It authorizes the pilot leadership to begin a strike if and when they deem it necessary once the National Mediation Board declares an impasse and releases the parties to self-help.

Negotiators for ALPA and Hawaiian Air met this week in Honolulu without a mediator present and could do so again before the October session.

Contract talks have been going on for two years.

Hawaiian Airlines is a unit of Hawaiian Holdings Inc.