Continental Pilots Picket in Downtown Houston

Several hundred members of the Air Line Pilots Association rallied to draw attention to an annual concession of more than $213 million they've been making since their last contract, as airlines fought bankruptcy after 9-11. Captain Jay Pierce is with the union.

"The shareholders meeting is today across the street, and we wanted to send a message to the shareholders, to our executives, that as they develop a business plan going forward, that the pilots' needs can't be forgotten."

Carriers are fighting high fuel costs. Last week, Continental said it will cut 3,000 jobs, reduce flights and retire its least efficient jets. But Captain Pierce doesn't see the picketing and rally as counterproductive to good labor relations.

"I don't think it should be an embarrassment to the company by any means. I think they should be proud to see that our pilot group is unified, that we're strong, that we stand together. Because given the right set of circumstances, we'll stand together in support of the company as well, as long as the company is standing together in support of the pilots' group."

The contract with Continental pilots becomes amendable at the end of the year.

Ed Mayberry, KUHF—Houston Public Radio News.
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