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Court Orders Atlas Pilots to Cease Work Slowdown

A US Court  has ordered the pilots of Atlas Air, Polar Air and Southern Air – who are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) to cease “encouraging, permitting, calling, engaging in, or continuing any strike, work stoppage, sick out, concerted refusal to volunteer for or to accept work assignments (including, without limitation, open time flights), [or] slowdown.”

The decision by the US District Court for the District of Columbia “requires the IBT to meet its obligations under the Railway Labor Act (“RLA”) and stop its illegal and intentional work slowdown”, Atlas said. “In granting the company’s request, the court further ordered the IBT to take affirmative action to prevent and to refrain from continuing any form of interference with the company’s operations or any other concerted refusal to perform normal pilot operations consistent with the status quo, in violation of the RLA.”

The company claims the “illegal work slowdown and service interruptions are causing significant flight delays and harm to the company and its valued customers.”

IBT Atlas executive council chairman Robert Kirchner responded that the company had grown to fast and could not keep pace with appropriate pilot staffing. IBT added that Inadequate pilot pay has also been a factor in a surge of pilots leaving the company.  IBT has argued there are legitimate fatigue and health issues among Atlas pilots as the company’s operations stretched.

“[Atlas] pilots remain dedicated to shining a light on the serious staffing and operational challenges at the Atlas Air Worldwide airlines,” IBT’s Wells said. “After years of chronic mismanagement and intensifying pilot shortages, the fundamentals of our operation are crumbling every day, putting the success of our carriers and commitments to customers like DHL and Amazon at risk.”

Greg started his professional pilot journey in 2002 after graduating from Embry Riddle. Since that time he has accumulated over 8,000 hours working as a pilot. Greg’s professional experience includes flight instructing, animal tracking, backcountry flying, forest firefighting, passenger charter, part 135 cargo, flying for a regional airline, a national low cost airline, a legacy airline, and also working as a manager in charge of Part 135 and Part 121 training programs.

Greg Thomson