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Thu, Dec 07, 2006

PHI Union Pilots Get Help From Courts

Court Supervised Mediation To Begin December 14

PHI's union pilots still aren't back at work. The company and the union remain at odds despite a vote by the pilots to return to work.

The Office and Professional Employees International Union, representing PHI's striking pilots, won a victory of sorts Monday following a two-hour telephone conference with a district court judge. Judge Rebecca Doherty convinced both the union and the company to meet under court-supervised mediation.

Last month, the union accused the company of dragging its feet in reinstating striking pilots who agreed to return to work. According to union lawyers, the Railway and Labor Act requires an employer to immediately reinstate striking employees who agree to end a strike. The company said it would reinstate those pilots in due course after reviewing all the information.

The union claims the company began reinstating pilots at the bottom of the seniority list and required them to sign a pledge not to strike again. It filed an injunction with the courts to force the company to take back its pilots immediately and without condition.

The two sides will now meet under the supervision of US magistrate Judge C. Michael Hill on December 14. The union agreed to suspend all legal action during mediation.

The two sides hope to end a battle begun in September. PHI's union pilots began a strike saying two years of negotiations had failed to produce a work contract.

FMI: www.opeiu.org, www.phihelico.com

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