Delta pilots form trust amid strife

ATLANTA: Amid much-publicized management wranglings, The Delta Air Line Pilots Association has formed the Delta Pilots Charitable Trust.

ATLANTA: Amid much-publicized management wranglings, The Delta Air Line Pilots Association has formed the Delta Pilots Charitable Trust.

ATLANTA: Amid much-publicized management wranglings, The Delta Air Line Pilots Association has formed the Delta Pilots Charitable Trust.

The public launch of the trust, which will fund projects for children in Delta hub cities, took place last week, while pilots and Delta management were engaged in difficult contract negotiations.

It is said to be the first charitable fund established and managed by the pilots of a major airline. 'Three and a half years ago the pilots decided they would like to have more say about where charitable contributions were going,' said Chuck Albers, the trust's director and a Boeing 767 first officer.

Albers has rejected the suggestion that the trust was established as a PR ploy to gain public support should a strike occur, saying he has personally been developing the idea for more than three years. 'To a lot of people it will seem very coincidental,' he said. 'I can assure you that there is no ulterior motive.'

The trust will be run out of regional offices in Delta hub cities, including Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, FL, Salt Lake City, Miami and Chicago. Committees in each city will look at proposals and decide which child-related projects best serve their areas.

In Atlanta, the fund is raising money to purchase a pediatric ambulance for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. About half of the dollars 200,000 needed to buy the vehicle has already been raised. Pilots distributed aviator teddy bears to the hospital's patients last week when the plans were announced.

The pilots association retains Atlanta PR agency Dowling, Langley & Associates, which helped organize the event.

The airline's pilots and management are currently in joint negotiations with the National Mediation Board. The pilots are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA). The deadline to reach a tentative agreement is February 28, followed by a 30-day cooling off period.

If no contract is ratified, the pilots could strike as early as April 1. Strike ballots were sent out to about 10,000 members to measure support for a call out if negotiations break down.



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