The Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA) and Hawaiian Airlines have been negotiating toward a new pilots’ contract for approximately two years. Recently, ALPA has engaged in an extensive media campaign alleging that Hawaiian Airlines hasn’t made up for past wage cuts during the period the company was in bankruptcy several years ago.
Contrary to ALPA’s rhetoric in the media and to the rest of the airline industry, Hawaiian pilots didn’t take wage cuts in 2003 or when the airline was in bankruptcy in 2005. According to a company spokesperson, the pilots didn’t lose their pension benefits, either: Senior pilots retained full pension benefits while junior ones kept past accruals and now participate in the richest defined contribution plan in the airline industry.
Rather, Hawaiian’s pilots have led the industry in pay raises since 2000 — 41.8%, as a matter of fact. In negotiations for a new contract, the airline has said it’s willing to give pilots a pay raise so long as it allows the company to remain competitive. The ALPA executive board recently approved a $2 million grant to provide Hawaiian pilots with some financial resources in the event of a possible strike.