ATI pilots are taking a less antagonistic tone in hopes of bringing Amazon to the negotiating table. “What we don’t want is to affect our clients. “We’ve done a lot to protect our obsession with Amazon,” Sterling emphasized. However, he admitted that the intransigence of the ATSG management had left the pilots with no choice but to call a strike.
“This part of the Amazon network is the most vulnerable to labor strikes,” said Marc Wulfraat, president of MWPVL. If drivers or warehouse workers go on strike, the company will divert the flow of products and packages to one of several nearby distribution centers, but the airports are few and far between.
Amazon will pay for an ATI strike by transferring volume to other airlines under the Amazon Air banner, but only if they have the capacity to manage the flow of all airports. It will also send some of its packages by truck, as it did during a brief strike in 2016. However, this will mean slower deliveries and reduced service, Wulfraat said, which is contrary to Amazon’s mantra of being impressed. to the client.
Pilots also have the advantage of generally being in a strong position in the aviation industry. “It remains a very attractive job market” for pilots, said Geoff Murray, a partner who works in aerospace at management consultancy Oliver Wyman. The declining demand for passenger pilots during the pandemic has caused many to retire early, compounding the lack of current flight staffwhich became worse when the industry recovered. Salary increased. Oliver Wyman estimates that captain salaries at major US airlines, such as Delta and UPS, have increased by 46% since 2020, while regional companies have increased by 86%.
Pilot Drew Patterson came to ATI in 2021, attracted by the work-life balance the airline offered, but as the company lost pilots, he saw his workload increase and his schedule become more unpredictable. . With fewer crews to operate the same number of flights, “the agenda of others is being squeezed. Sometimes you spend a lot of time away from home,” he said.
In the long term, he believes that Amazon’s continued growth should be positive for ATI and its employees, so he is willing to continue. But he’s not sure all his colleagues feel the same way about the company’s current state.