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US Airways Pilots Picket at PHL Airport

More than 150 uniformed US Airways pilots and a smattering of labor allies picketed for a couple of hours today at Philadelphia International Airport.

pilots oval ost US Airways Pilots Picket at PHL Airport

KYW’s John Ostapkovich reports they made not a sound as they either stood ramrod straight in a line outside Terminal A-West or marched in a long oval.

They carried signs which read “Contract Now,” but there was no chanting.

pilots line ost US Airways Pilots Picket at PHL Airport

Pilots’ spokesman Capt. James Ray says that’s because these are serious people with a serious gripe: five years of stalled contract talks with pay and benefits cuts:

“We went through two bankruptcies.  The pilots gave away half their pay and lost their pension, all this in an effort to keep them from closing the doors.  We just want them to recognize the sacrifices that we make and pay us on par with what our contemporaries at other airlines make.”

Ray says US Airways pilots are paid 25 percent less than industry average, while the airline management team boosted its own pay by 60 percent since 2006.

The company says it is committed to achieving a new contract but that it has nothing to do with a major stumbling block:  that pilots from the pre-merger US Airways unit and those from America West have been unable to agree on new seniority rules critical to pilots’ flight schedules and chances for advancement.

All these demonstrating pilots were either off duty or between flights.

(Photos by KYW’s John Ostapkovich)

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