The major issue between the two sides is compensation. Offered final and binding arbitration by the National Mediation Board, ALPA declined and a 30-day cooling off period was declared which, consistent with the Railway Labor Act, must occur before a strike may be undertaken.
A subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW), Polar air operates 12 747s including six 747-400Fs, all of which perform scheduled air cargo services. AAWW is the world’s leading provider of aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance as a freighter service to major airlines around the world. Atlas has 22 747s. Together the two airlines presently meet almost half of the U.S. military’s demands for widebody air cargo lift in such areas as Iraq and Afghanistan.
AAWW had intended to combine Atlas and Polar operations and to merge crew lists. Because AAWW now faces the possibility of a strike, it has suspended the merger plans.
“While the Company is committed to reaching an agreement,” says Jeffrey H. Erickson, president and CEO of AAWW, “We simply can’t agree to a contract that further challenges the viability of our scheduled service business.