April 5 2019 Blog

Chairman’s Update to Atlas Pilots – April 5th, 2019

Apparently my description of the events leading to the settlement of the lawsuit that we filed in US Federal Court in Washington, DC that was included in the Chairman’s Update on Monday, March 25, struck a nerve.  It appears the company wanted this whole ugly incident painted quite differently to all of you.

Here is what has transpired since I sent the original Chairman’s Message.  On Wednesday, March 27, our Chief Legal Counsel Mr. Ed Gleason received a letter from the company’s high-priced, anti-union law firm (O’Melveny & Myers) in Washington, DC.  In the letter, the company’s attorney, on behalf of the company, objected to our description on what led up to the Settlement Agreement.

Their objections are as follows:

First, they are apparently upset that I characterized Carlson’s letter as an “apology”.  They prefer that we call it a “letter of regret”, OK so be it. I do think an honest apology would have been better for their image with the employees of Atlas Air.  Again, Atlas/Polar steadfastly cling to the mantra that management never apologizes.

The second point the company wants to make is that it was not breaking the law by its actions.  The company can cling to that thought, no matter how warped it may be, but the union strongly disagrees with this attempt to ignore reality.

Thirdly, the company points out that it was not a court “ruling”, but in the same breath acknowledges that the court accepted the Settlement.  Technically, calling the court-approved settlement a “ruling” was not exactly correct in legal jargon. So, let’s call it more correctly a court-approved settlement.

The company’s fourth objection is that Dietrich should never be asked to issue an “apology” or “statement of regret”.  Dietrich and his lawyers are claiming he had nothing to do with the retaliatory action that was taken against Captain Lang, the Teamsters and the Atlas Air crew members.  We don’t think that is true.

Finally, the company is incensed that the union would claim any sort of vindication in righting this terrible wrong.  This anti-union management must now pretend that they did nothing wrong. We disagree.

In the interest of the sensitivities of a few managers, we are publishing a revised Chairman’s Message.  That revised message is included below.

In closing, it appears the company thought it would come out with a brief letter from Carlson and sweep this majestic blunder “under the rug.”  Well, management can hide in a pretend world in Purchase, NY, but the fact that the company entered into the Settlement and the fact that Carlson sent his letter to the pilots last Friday, March 22, speak for themselves.  While we will not speak about the specifics of the Settlement Agreement, we will discuss this case in general terms as much as we like to warn all crew members about management’s fondness for trying to punish people who disagree with them and to let all crew members know that the union will never acquiesce to witness intimidation, any intimidation whatsoever or any attempt to “chill” our pilot group from standing up for itself and for crew members to stand up for themselves and each other.  Rest assured, the union will never allow this to happen again at any level without the strongest of responses.

Enjoy rereading the revised Chairman’s Update.


Bob Kirchner

Atlas Executive Council Chairman