Pilots for Atlas Air, Southern Air, and ABX Air, carriers that power Amazon Air, are set to protest poor working conditions and stalled contract negotiations on Thursday.
The group’s union, the Airline Professionals Association, said in a press release on Wednesday that the demonstrations at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport follow an investigation by Business Insider’s Rachel Premack, in which pilots said they were overworked and underpaid.
Atlas Air and Southern Air are owned by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, while ABX Air is a subsidiary of Air Transport Services Group (ATSG). Their major customers include Amazon, DHL, and the armed forces, according to a union statement. Amazon Air pilots have been in contract disputes with their employers for nearly five years.
The union said that “pilots at the three carriers say they face serious operational problems that are exacerbated by labor contracts far below industry standards.”
“In order to fill customers’ needs, the companies ask pilots to fly last-minute flights around the globe; a recent survey conducted by the pilots’ union found that more than 65 percent of respondents have been asked to fly on their days off in the last year,” the statement said.
The protest also follows a deadly crash. An Amazon Air plane called CustomAir Obsession crashed on February 23, killing all three people on board. Weeks earlier, several pilots told Business Insider they thought an accident was inevitable, and that inexperienced pilots could lead to safety problems.
Business Insider has reached out to Amazon, Atlas Air, Southern Air, and ABX Air, and will update this post if they respond.
An Atlas Air spokesperson passed along the following statement:
“Atlas values our pilots and is eager to increase their pay. Any delay in completing the next pilot contract has been a direct result of the union leadership’s refusal to adhere to its contractual commitments, which provide for an orderly and timely resolution of remaining contractual issues. Had union leaders followed the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the pilots would have had a new contract — and a raise — by now. We remain committed to working collaboratively with union leadership to complete an agreement for our pilots. Our customers play no role in labor negotiations, including pilot pay and work rules, contrary to what the Union continues to suggest. The protest event that the Union has planned, like prior such events, is an attempt to gain additional leverage in the current negotiations.”
ATSG, the parent company of ABX, passed along the following statement:
“ATSG has always been and will remain committed to the highest standards of safety throughout all of our operations. Our airlines are in compliance with the rules of their current Collective Bargaining Agreements, including work rules. Regarding staffing, ATSG has had no issues in finding qualified candidates to support its growth. Contract negotiations continue to be conducted under the auspices of the National Mediation Board, and we look forward to their satisfactory conclusion.”