Airline Pilots Union’s Questionable Ad Campaign against Low-Cost Foreign Airline

In a previous post, I document labor unions and their history of advocating for discriminatory policies like the Davis-Bacon Act and Project Labor Agreements.

Unfortunately, as Marc Scribner has noted in two recent blog posts on, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) is still promoting bigotry in public ad campaigns and, worse, tolerates racism within its own ranks.

Here is the background:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently considering whether or not it will honor its EU-U.S. open skies treaty in the case of Norwegian Air Shuttle’s Norwegian Air International (NAI), a low-cost airline seeking to expand service throughout Europe and the United States.


European regulators have already approved NAI operations, rejecting the protectionist outrage from domestic airlines and their unions who have been alleging bogus labor violations. Regulators in Ireland, where Norwegian is domiciled, are fuming at the Obama White House’s apparent anti-consumer protectionism that has led to these delays. The European Cockpit Association, having lost its case in Europe, is now lobbying the FAA to kill NAI’s expansion plans.

To combat the consumer-friendly treaty, the ALPA has spent millions on an ad campaign that “largely relies on xenophobic language to make their ‘case’ against Norwegian.”

An example of the campaign is on display in a full-page ad in The Washington Post, which expresses “anti-consumer sentiment colored by anti-foreign bias.”

Sadly, this is not an isolated instance. In the recent past, the ALPA leadership has seemed to tolerate racism from its membership.

In 2010, Marcin Kolodziejczyk, an ALPA member, was fired from his employer, Mesa Airlines, for sending an openly racist mass email about Mesa’s Vice President of Human Resources, who is black. In part, the email read:

He was hanging from the ceiling making monkey sounds. That’s all I witnessed at the meeting I was at . . . Stay focused and I already have the chains for him, just need your help to string him up!

Not only did ALPA defend Kolodziejczyk in court and get him reinstated, Scribner notes, the union “then promoted him to chairman of the MEC at Mesa. Making things even worse, ALPA is currently featuring a YouTube video starring Kolodziejczyk from November of last year.”

If the ALPA’s action (xenophobic ads) and inaction (not distancing the union from Kolodziejczyk) weren’t bad enough, Republicans in Congress have bought into the bogus talking points of ALPA’s questionable ad campaign. Scribner reports:

33 House GOP members sent a letter to the Secretary of Transportation yesterday parroting ALPA’s bogus claims against NAI. Republicans constantly talk about “principles,” “limited government,” and “free enterprise.” But when the time comes to actually promoting free enterprise, competition, and consumer welfare, they often do the opposite of their stated beliefs.

To learn more, see here and here.