ALPA and Other Transportation Unions Rally in Washington, D.C.
More than 200 ALPA pilots, family
members, and staff rallied May 17 for the 2007 Transportation Day of Action in
front of the U.S. Capitol to declare “Enough Is Enough” to Washington
politicians who’ve turned a deaf ear to their transportation worker constituents
and allowed airline managements to manipulate union, pension, and bankruptcy
ALPA's president, Capt. John Prater, and a variety of other ALPA national
officers and MEC chairmen, standing in front of a giant, inflated rat grasping
bags of money, berated the White House and Congress for ignoring the American
worker and deferring to the interests of big business.
“We’ve watched as airline managements, during the last six years, have slashed
employee wages and benefits,” said Prater. “Now, management has the gall to line
its pockets with those same cost savings. It’s an injustice, and we’re not going
to tolerate it. We’re taking it back.”
Prater also took the opportunity to officially introduce Capt. Mike Donatelli
(Delta) as the chairman of the recently created Strategic Preparedness and
Strike Committee, which serves to support the strategic goals of ALPA’s MECs by
helping them build their internal organizational structures to promote and
leverage pilot unity.
After the spirited ALPA event, the attendees proceeded to a larger rally at
which members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace
Workers, the Association of Flight Attendants, and dozens of other
transportation unions gathered on the National Mall expressed their collective
outrage at excessive management compensation packages, the state of
transportation jobs, the termination of pensions, and the general treatment of
labor in the United States. Much of this dialogue focused on the proposed
Employee Free Choice Act, which provides employees easier access to union
representation, and on the search for a president who will work with, rather
than against, the U.S. labor movement.
Rally attendees heard presentations from a host of presidential candidates,
national labor representatives, including Capt. Prater, and other pro-labor
national lawmakers. Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio),
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), and other presidential contenders addressed the
sea of workers, who came from as far away as Hawaii and Alaska to participate in
this important event.
The event garnered significant media coverage including a major piece in