Hawaiian Air pilots prepare for strike

HONOLULU— Hawaiian Airlines is still in negotiations with pilots who are threatening to strike.

Citing low pay, despite a productive year, pilots are working with the Air Line Pilots Association to get permission to go on strike.

In April, ALPA’s Hawaiian Airlines Master Executive Council unanimously to conduct a strike authorization ballot.

If passed, the ballot will give the Hawaiian Master Executive Council permission to strike once ALPA gets the go ahead from the National Mediation Board, the release said.

The NMB sets a 30-day “cooling off” period. If an agreement cannot be reached within 30 days, the strike will begin.

Plans for the strike began in April 2015. While the pilots have not yet gotten permission from the National Mediation Board to go on strike, they are making the necessary preparations, said Hoon Lee, Hawaiian Airlines master executive chairman of ALPA.

“We’re anxiously waiting for NMB to make a decision on our application,” Hoon said.

Part of the preparation includes opening a Strike Operations Center near the Honolulu International Airport.

Officials expect the SOC to open Sept. 14.

“We’re doing our due diligence,” Lee said. “The company will not be forthright, so we have to take the next course of action.”

Alex DaSilva, a spokesman for Hawaiian Airlines, said the airline is hopeful the two parties can come to an agreement.

“We remain focused on negotiating a market-based contract with the Air Line Pilots Association — a contract that offers our pilots wages, benefits and work rules that are in line with our competitive position in the industry.”

For the second quarter of 2016, Hawaiian Airlines reported net income of $79.6 million for the second quarter, a $30.7 million year-over-year increase.

About 99 percent of Hawaiian Airlines pilots support the potential strike, Hoon said.

ALPA’s five-year contract with Hawaiian became amendable on Sept. 14, 2015.

The continuing negotiations are not impacting flights at the Lihue Airport, DaSilva said.

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