“We want to see Amazon Prime Air succeed, we just want to be a part of that success. Up to this point, we feel shut out of the entire process,” said Captain Michael Russo, a pilot at Atlas Air for 15 years. Amazon Air pilots are represented by APA Teamsters Local 1224, which has called on the contractors to negotiate a new union contract to address concerns over low pay and working conditions. “We keep trying to engage the company to negotiate a fair contract so we can recruit enough qualified pilots to continue the expansion Amazon wants, yet the negotiation process continues to be stonewalled. We don’t understand how Atlas Air can serve a really big, important customer like Amazon and not include pilots in that process.”
Atlas Air pilot of nearly 20 years, Captain Bob Kirchner, cited that the contractor is expected to increase the number of aircraft for Amazon Air from 24 to 44 planes over the next year.
“Our competitors, who pay 60 percent or more, who have better working conditions and retirement plans, are taking away many of the experienced pilots at Atlas and its creating real stresses in the business,” Kirchner said. “Because the airline is not growing and people are leaving, we feel these are unachievable numbers right now. Unless they come in and fix it, we feel that Amazon is putting so much pressure on contractors, driving the cost down and putting financial pressure on them its becoming a safety problem.”