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Sun Country makes contract offer to pilots

September 26, 1997

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Sun Country Airlines, one of the nation’s largest air charter carriers, said Friday it has offered pilots a contract with a 5 percent wage increase over two years.

Negotiators for the Air Line Pilots Association are expected to respond when negotiations resume Oct. 6, said John Skiba, Sun Country’s president and chief executive.

The proposal also includes improvements in benefits and working conditions, Skiba said.

But pilots association spokesman Paul Omodt said the proposal would increase wages only 1.75 percent in each of the two years and that is ``clearly insufficient.″

The offer, he said, is essentially the same as a proposal unanimously rejected by pilots last Monday.

``This is far from a done deal,″ he said. ``There’s a lot of work to be done yet.″

Sun Country pilots voted for ALPA representation in June 1995, and the union is negotiating its first labor contract with the Mendota Heights, Minn.-based charter airline. Sun Country has about 250 pilots.

Contract talks began nearly two years ago and have been under the supervision of a federal mediator since June 1996. Pilots are seeking higher salaries, a seniority system and negotiated work rules.

The average salary for Sun Country pilots is $60,000 to $65,000 a year, according to ALPA.

Sun Country carries more than 2 million passengers a year to many vacation destinations, including Mexico and the Caribbean, and flies private charters.

The carrier _ with a fleet of 10 Boeing 727-200 and nine wide-body DC-10 jets _ generated revenues of $210 million last year.

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