Kalitta pilots vote to authorize strike

Pilots employed by Kalitta Air, LLC, said they have voted overwhelmingly, 213-7, to authorize a strike against the Ypsilanti, Mich.-based cargo airline.

Kalitta Air operates a fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft in support of the global network of DHL Express, a division of the German logistics company, Deutsche Post DHL. Ninety-two percent of eligible pilots voted in the referendum. Ninety-seven percent of voting pilots voted to authorize a strike. The pilot group is represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Airline Division, Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224.

Negotiations between the union and management started in October 2010. The company delayed responding to union wage and benefit proposals for more than two-and-half years. On Oct. 30, 2015, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan issued an injunction against the carrier for violating federal labor laws. Union communications have complained about persistent unprofessional conduct by managers and expressed alarm over the number of pilots that are considering leaving Kalitta Air for other airlines.

Contract negotiations are currently subject to mediation efforts by the National Mediation board, the federal agency that oversees labor relations in the airline and railroad industries.

The Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224 is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division and represents nearly 4,000 members among 11 air carriers that operate both passenger and cargo aircraft.