More than 100 of the airline’s 160 active pilots walked in alternating 20-minute shifts at MSP’s Terminal 2. Virtually every Sun Country pilot not flying or on other duty participated in the event.
“Our airline has gone through some tough times in past years, and the pilots have endured them along with the other employees. Now that Sun Country is making money, the owners should share that success with the people who got them there,” said Capt. Dennis Vanatta, chairman of ALPA’s Sun Country Master Executive Council.
Sun Country pilots have gone seven years without an increase in pay rates, and are among the lowest-paid pilots in the industry flying similar aircraft. Once a small-town vacation carrier, the airline now has global ambitions, flying internationally and vying for military charter business to far-flung destinations.
“We are not looking for top-tier pay, but we would at least like to have some parity with our peers,” Vanatta said. “Right now some of our pilots are paid half of what a Southwest pilot with similar experience earns for flying the same airplane.”
Before Sun Country entered bankruptcy in 2008, employees endured 50 percent pay cuts for a brief period to help keep the carrier afloat. ALPA and management entered contract negotiations in 2010 and are now working with a federal mediator.
ALPA is the bargaining representative for the more than 160 pilots in the service of Sun Country. Founded in 1931, ALPA represents 52,000 pilots at 36 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at http://www.alpa.org.