Pilots dispute court ruling and demand a rehearing

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Pilots flying for Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo have demanded a rehearing after the US Court of Appeals ordered them to stop an “intentional and illegal work slowdown”.

The lawsuit was filed in September 2017 by the airlines alleging the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224 were responsible for scheduling issues.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed a federal district court ruling ordering the union to stop the slowdown in violation of the Railway Labor Act.

The three judge panel ordered the union to stop from engaging in “improper activities” such as excessive sick days and refusing to work overtime.

Captain Daniel Wells, Atlas Air pilot and president of Teamsters Local 1224 says the union disagree with the decision and will petition for a rehearing.

He says: “Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings brought this suit originally to deflect attention and blame away from its incompetent management of the airline and the supposed merger between Southern and Atlas Air pilots — which is the real cause of the operational failures seen by our customers.”

Wells says it is unfortunate that Atlas Air has spent time suing employees instead of improving working conditions to attract skilled talent.

He adds: “Our pilot group has been speaking out against the company’s heavy-handed and outdated practices because we know that chronic mismanagement, a pilot shortage, and poor working conditions are what’s threatening our long-term operation and will continue doing everything we can to get Atlas back on track.”

Edward Gleason, general counsel at APA Teamsters Local 1224 expressed surprise and disappointment at the court’s decision.

He says: “The court has affirmed a status quo injunction without ever identifying status quo is that the union is said to have violated. That is the same fundamental mistake that the district court made, and it is one that we believe warrants reconsideration and reversal by the court.  We therefore fully anticipate filing a petition for rehearing along with a petition for rehearing en banc.”