Unionized pilots at cargo and charter airline Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAWW) have been authorized to form their own union local, Local 2750, under the auspices of the Teamsters union, the union said.
Atlas’ pilots had been part of Teamsters Local 1224. The growth of Atlas’ pilot workforce necessitated a shift to its own local, Atlas’ pilots said. Bob Kirchner, chairman of the pilots’ seven-member executive council, called the move “part of our national journey through unionism” as the membership size expands. About 2,000 pilots will be represented by the local, which will be based in Ohio, the Teamsters said
Atlas pilots have been embroiled in a long-running contractual dispute with the company, with the union fighting for what it claims is a contract on par with other cargo airlines, and management charging the company with violating terms of their existing contract through sick-outs and work slowdowns.
One of Atlas’ largest customers, e-tailer Amazon.com, Inc., (NASDAQ:AMZN) in September assigned two of the 19 aircraft that it leases from Atlas to a unit of Atlas’ rival Air Transport Services Group (NASDAQ:ATSG). ATSG provides the crew, maintenance and insurance to support the operation of the two planes. Amazon, which relies heavily on Atlas and ATSG to keep its one- to two-day delivery commitments under its “Prime” service, has been very critical of the pilots and the company for failing to make progress in reaching a collective-bargaining agreement.
Besides Amazon, Atlas’ big customers include DHL and the U.S. military. Atlas generates much of its revenue by providing customers with the aircraft, crew, maintenance and applicable insurance, better known in the industry by its acronym “ACMI.”