Today, the Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224 announced that they have reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement with ABX Air, Inc. This announcement comes following more than four years of frustration and futility.
The tentative agreement between ABX Air and Teamsters Local 1224 is contingent on two key components: (1) ABX Air and DHL must reach a commercial agreement for airlift and (2) the membership’s vote to approve the contract.
“The union’s leadership has worked very hard to finalize the provisions established in this contract and we believe the agreement is beneficial to our members as well as DHL and ABX Air,” said Local 1224 President Joe Muckle. “The fact is that our struggle may not be over. If ABX Air and DHL aren’t able to reach a commercial agreement, all our time and efforts will have been for naught.”
The voting deadline for ratification by Teamsters Local 1224 is November 17. It is anticipated that DHL and ABX Air will reach a decision regarding a commercial agreement shortly thereafter.
Local 1224 Secretary Treasurer Tim Jewell said, “Contract negotiations are always about give and take. In this case, we knew it was necessary for the pilot group to make sacrifices to help the company reduce costs so that it could survive and strive for growth. We were able to collectively find common ground on provisions which not only make this contract acceptable to our membership and ABX Air, but also make it appealing to key customers in the industry who demand the exceptional quality of service that ABX Air provides.”
Most notable is the language that makes ABX Air competitive as an “ACMI Carrier”. This change aligns ABX Air with ATSG’s new business model. The agreement also reduces ABX Air’s costs while adding greater flexibility. The combination makes the company more competitive in the broader industry, which in turn will better enable ABX Air to provide jobs and potentially speed up the recall of its nearly 400 flight crewmembers on furlough.
“If all of the pieces fall into place, this agreement will mark the end of an injustice for our furloughed crewmembers by releasing severance benefits that were earmarked by DHL over a year ago. The union fought hard on many fronts to create an environment that brought management to the table with an open mind,” said Muckle. “The time for fighting is over. We worked together, cooperatively and tirelessly, for the past three months to forge this agreement. Continuing this cooperative relationship is the best way to ensure long-term success for the company.”
The flight crewmembers of ABX Air have been flying under the provisions of a contract which was last updated in 2003. Compared to the life of a typical contract in the aviation industry, the tentative agreement reached last week between Local 1224 and ABX Air was long-overdue.
The Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224 is a multi-carrier local which specializes in representing heavy-lift airlines. It represents the flight crewmembers of ABX Air, Atlas Air, Polar Air Cargo and Kalitta Air. The union hall is located at the DHL Airpark.