How do I know if a regional airline pilots are members of ALPA or not? I know most of the major and legacy carriers have pilots as members of either ALPA or another union. And is it important to become a member or stay connected to a union even as a pilot student?
Hi Jerry and Welcome!
If you go to Alpa.org, scroll to bottom and click on “Our Pilot Groups” you’ll find a list of all Alpa carriers. Also on the website is airline news where you can find out what’s going on in the industry with the different airlines. Other then that there’s really nothing you can do involvement wise until you’re actually hired by an Alpa carrier. In fact the first year at you’re airline you’ll be on probation and still not officially be an Alpa member.
Airline unions are different than other trade-type unions. You do not have to be a member of the union before you get the job, but after you are hired and complete your probationary year you do have to join the union, there is no way to opt out. Union dues at ALPA carriers are 2% of your eligible wages.
While I love my friend Chris with all my heart, he has been drinking ALOT of the Alpa KoolAid over the years. This is America and you can in fact opt out of Alpa. It’s a pretty foolish thing to do because you’re still required to pay dues and they actually offer some excellent benefits in exchange for those dues. That said I do know a few pilots who feel the need to “make a point” and have opted out of the union.
Adam is technically correct. I was simplifying things because in my mind if you have to pay the dues either way you might as well be a member
I find it ironic, that I’m from a southern state (GA) who has almost always been politically anti-union, however, I’m an hour from ATL and Delta HQ, which is one of the largest airlines in the world and whose pilots are members of ALPA.
Jerry it is impossible to not have the words pilot union and irony in the same sentence
Hah…Seriously, though, I was hoping that I could join as student, so I could possibly get union provided health insurance. Because if/when I do start at ATP Flight School, I won’t be on my employer-provided health insurance anymore.
Sorry, but the pilots unions do not offer benefits such as that. Your best bets are COBRA from your old employer or the Affordable Care Act insurance.
Speaking of irony…a union that doesn’t offer benefits???
Alpa actually offers many fine benefits but you have to be a Alpa member, aka an AIRLINE PILOT
The union does offer benefits, but not in the way the United Mine Workers or the UAW might. Adam is right that ALPA only extends benefits to its members. While new hire airline pilots are considered “apprentices” for the first year, this is no real apprentice program or student program like some unions have. ALPA is focused on representing airline pilots.
There are carriers out there that are part of different unions and some airlines are not unionized at all. At the end of the day each pilot group decides for themselves just how much union they want.