ABX Air Seeks TRO in Pilot Dispute
WILMINGTON, OH - October 31, 2016 – Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (ATSG) today said its airline subsidiary, ABX Air, Inc., has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Airline Division; and the Airline Professionals Association of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 1224 (collectively, the “IBT”), for injunctive and declaratory relief for violations of the Railway Labor Act under the labor agreement between ABX Air and the IBT covering ABX Air’s pilot employees.
John Starkovich, President of ABX Air, said that the IBT has taken several actions in violation of its labor agreement with ABX Air. These include advising ABX Air’s pilot employees to end their longstanding practices of bidding for extra flying on a volunteer basis and selling vacation days back to ABX Air, resulting in ABX Air having to assign that work to pilots, which results in premium pay and the granting of compensatory vacation days.
On October 27, IBT filed a request with the U.S. National Mediation Board for it to consider whether ABX Air and its affiliate airline, Air Transport International, should be treated as one airline for purposes of collective bargaining. The IBT is also seeking to force a merger of ABX Air and Air Transport International in negotiations with ABX Air for an amended collective bargaining agreement.
Starkovich added that a business combination is not the proper subject of bargaining, has nothing to do with the pay, benefits and work rules of ABX Air’s pilot employees, and is not in the best interest of the customers or employees of either airline or ATSG’s shareholders. Accordingly, ABX Air is seeking a federal court order enjoining an illegal job action under Section 2, First and Section 6 of the U.S. Railway Labor Act.
“Our business has expanded rapidly, particularly in the last 12 months, and we have aggressively expanded our flight crew teams at ABX Air to meet growing demand from our customers,” he said. “Our flight crews at ABX Air have benefitted from both premium pay and extra compensatory time off as we have ramped up our operations. We are asking only that these pilots continue to honor their obligations under terms spelled out in our labor agreement as we hire, train and add more pilots to ABX Air’s workforce.”
Joe Hete, President and CEO of ATSG, said ABX Air’s customers have been notified of the company’s position and the steps it is taking to resolve the labor issue and assure continued superior service.
“We hope that the leadership of the IBT will work with ABX Air to resolve these issues via negotiation, arbitration and other means available under their labor agreement,” Hete said. “It is possible, however, that unfavorable court rulings or a job action by the union could result in a reduction in ABX Air’s service levels that would have a material negative effect on the business of ABX Air and ATSG. ABX Air will continue to work with the IBT in an effort to ensure that no such service interruptions take place.”
About Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (ATSG)
About Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (ATSG) ATSG is a leading provider of aircraft leasing and air cargo transportation and related services to domestic and foreign air carriers and other companies that outsource their air cargo lift requirements. ATSG, through its leasing and airline subsidiaries, is the world's largest owner and operator of converted Boeing 767 freighter aircraft. Through its principal subsidiaries, including two airlines with separate and distinct U.S. FAA Part 121 Air Carrier certificates, ATSG provides aircraft leasing, air cargo lift, aircraft maintenance services and airport ground services. ATSG's subsidiaries include ABX Air, Inc.; Airborne Global Solutions, Inc.; Air Transport International, Inc.; Cargo Aircraft Management, Inc.; and Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services, Inc. For more information, please see www.atsginc.com.