Welcome. The purpose of this web site is to provide helicopter and fixed-winged EMS pilots with information about the union organizing process and the benefits of union representation and collective bargaining.
Over 80% of airline pilots are unionized. There is a substantial gap between pay, benefits, and work environment between airline pilots and helicopter and fixed-winged EMS pilots. EMS pilots today are where airline pilots were when airline pilot unions first organized. And the demand for both airline and qualified EMS pilots is increasing.
There are several important issues: competitive pay and benefits, job security and representation, safe and efficient operational policies, and more. These issues can only be addressed through the collective bargaining process and can only be guaranteed in a union contract.
In 1999, pilots working at Bristow Helicopters unionized and negotiated significant wage increases, benefit improvements, and several job protections in their union contract; including the elimination of “at will” employment and a resolution process that is fair for both pilots and management. Flowing the success at Bristow, pilots working at PHI, Air Methods, Canadian Helicopter, and Ft. Rucker joined OPEIU and negotiated excellent union contracts. These pilots now have legally binding contracts which define their compensation and benefits, give them a voice regarding safety and operating procedures, provide job protections, and contain a fair conflict resolution process and representation.
Credible improvements to working conditions come about only after pilots organize and negotiate their first collective bargaining agreement.
Organizing requires individuals joining to form a cohesive group whose collective voice has the power to effect change. Your organizing efforts are protected by federal and state law. OPEIU maintains confidentiality with our members and cannot be forced to identify our members.
All helicopter and EMS fixed-winged pilots deserve more. The only way to secure the best benefits and wages is through union representation and the collective bargaining process.
Success will be determined by individual participation and the cohesiveness of the group. Stand up for a safe, secure, professional work environment.