Deal Moves Up Discussions From April 2008
Representatives from the Air Line Pilots Association and
Continental Airlines met Monday to sign a Protocol Agreement
setting the stage for the parties to begin talks about changes to
the pilots' contract.
The agreement outlines the schedule, location and agenda for
talks about non-economic contract issues. Without the agreement,
discussions on changes to the current contract would not have
started until April 2008, according to the carrier.
Last May, the union asked the company to begin discussions this
summer in order to complete the process by the contract's amendable
date, Dec. 31, 2008. Continental's agreement led to Monday's
Protocol Agreement signing.
"We're encouraged to see Continental's management take this
forward thinking approach in working with its pilots," said Capt.
Jay Pierce, chairman of the union's Negotiating Committee.
"By agreeing to start talking about the non-economic portions of
our contract now, we will help to ensure that we have plenty of
time to thoroughly discuss and refine all areas of the contract.
Starting the process now allows us an opportunity to address issues
that otherwise might get less attention."
Capt. Tom Donaldson, chairman of the Continental Master
Executive Council, the governing body of the Continental pilots'
union, said, "Continental Airlines management has shown that it is
interested in working with its pilots in a way that other airlines
are not. Working with employee groups and not against them is one
of the best ways, we believe, of contributing to an airline's
"Open, honest and direct communication with our pilots, and all
of our work groups, is part of our culture at Continental," said
Capt. Fred Abbott, vice president flight operations.
"We look forward to continuing and even strengthening the
mutually beneficial, cooperative relationship we already have with