Air Line Pilots Association, International

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Air Line Pilots Association logo.png
Full nameAir Line Pilots Association, International
Founded27 July 1931
Key peopleCapt. Joe DePete, President
Office location1625 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.
CountryNADIAD, Canada

The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) is the largest pilot union in the world,[1] representing more than 63,000 pilots[1] from 35 U.S. and Canadian airlines. ALPA was founded on 27 July 1931[2][3] and is a member of the AFL-CIO and the Canadian Labour Congress. Known internationally as U.S.-ALPA, ALPA is also a member of the IFALPA.

Current leadership[edit]

ALPA's four national officers were elected by the union's Board of Directors on Oct. 17, 2018, and began their four-year terms on Jan. 1, 2019.[4]

President: Captain Joe DePete[edit]

Captain Joe DePete, FedEx Express, is ALPA's eleventh president.[4] Captain DePete previously served as ALPA first vice president and national safety coordinator, executive vice president, FedEx Express Master Executive Council chairman, and Local Executive Council chairman. He was an active member of the ALPA Organizing Committee for the merger with the Flying Tiger Line Pilots Association as well as for the merger with the FedEx Pilots Association.[4]

First Vice President: Captain Bob Fox[edit]

Captain Bob Fox, United Airlines, serves as ALPA's first vice president.[4] He has served his pilot group as Master Executive Council vice chairman and Alliance and Scope Oversight Committee member, as well as a Local Executive Council chairman and secretary-treasurer.[4]

Vice President–Administration/Secretary: Captain Bill Couette[edit]

Captain William Russell “Bill” Couette, Envoy Air, is serving his fourth consecutive term as ALPA's vice president–administration/secretary.[4] Captain Couette is a five-time elected local council representative who served until the end of 2006 as the American Eagle Local Executive Council 133 chairman in Chicago.[4] He acted as Strike Oversight Board representative for the Atlantic Southeast and Skyway pilots, and also served as an ALPA negotiator, organizer, and merger representative.[4]

Vice President–Finance/Treasurer: Captain Joseph A. Genovese Jr.[edit]

Captain Joseph A. Genovese Jr., United, serves as ALPA's vice president–finance/treasurer, having previously served on numerous ALPA committees and held ALPA leadership roles for his pilot group, including Master Executive Council (MEC) executive administrator, MEC secretary-treasurer, and member of the MEC Grievance Committee. He also served as a Local Executive Council chairman and secretary-treasurer.[4]


The Walter P. Reuther Library is home to over 40 collections of archival material documenting the history of the Air Line Pilots Association. To access the collections' finding aids, please refer to the ALPA-related content at the Walter P. Reuther Library's website.

Former Presidents[edit]

The following is a complete list of ALPA's former presidents[5] since the Association's founding in 1931:

  • Tim Canoll (2015 – 2018)
  • Lee Moak (2011 – 2014)
  • John H. Prater (2007 – 2010)
  • Duane E. Woerth (1999 – 2006)
  • J. Randolph Babbitt (1991 – 1998)
  • Henry A. Duffy (1983 – 1990)
  • John J. O'Donnell (1971 – 1982)
  • Charles H. Ruby (1962 – 1970)
  • Clarence N. Sayen (1951 – 1962)
  • David L. Behncke (1931 – 1951)

Member pilot groups[edit]

ALPA represents the following bargaining units:[6]

USAir Flight 5050 controversy[edit]

While ALPA has claimed to support testing for drugs and alcohol of pilots who survive accidents, the conduct of ALPA representatives, following the fatal takeoff crash of USAir Flight 5050 on September 20, 1989, was contrary to that stated policy.[7] ALPA reps sequestered both surviving pilots and refused to reveal their whereabouts until such time that any testing for drugs and alcohol would be useless.[8]

After the FAA prepared subpoenas to compel them to appear, the pilots finally relented and appeared some 44 hours after the accident. Upon the advice of their ALPA attorney, the pilots refused to provide any blood samples, but did give urine samples. Valid samples, taken shortly after that accident were very important to the investigation, especially since the NTSB found numerous "crew coordination problems" during its investigation. But, the conduct of ALPA representatives, acting contrary to ALPA's stated safety policies, prevented a thorough and complete investigation.[9]

This made the NTSB investigators so upset that a very unusual and strong statement was included in the official accident report:

The Safety Board is extremely concerned that no federal investigators were allowed to speak to the pilots of flight 5050 until almost 40 hours after the accident.... The Air Line Pilots Association representatives initially stated that they also did not know where the pilots were, then later stated that their location was being withheld so they could not be found by the media.... The sequestering of the pilots for such an extended period of time in many respects borders on interference with a federal investigation and is inexcusable.[10]

At a press briefing, James L. Kolstad, the acting chairman of the NTSB, stated "there clearly was a lack of proper procedure being followed in the cockpit" of USAir Flight 5050.

Kolstad also said "it clearly took too long" for the pilots to present themselves for drug and alcohol testing. "The public has a right to know that its transportation system is alcohol- and drug-free", Kolstad said. "Failure to promptly volunteer for alcohol and drug testing following a major accident is inexcusable. The provision of urine samples, and no blood samples, almost two days after this accident severely impedes our investigation and unnecessarily creates an environment of suspicion."[9][11]


  1. ^ a b What We Do - ALPA
  2. ^ Checking In at ALPA HQ - 1931 to Today
  3. ^ Santiago, J. P., "The Early History of ALPA, the Air Line Pilots Association, and the First Airline Strike,", February 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i ALPA - Home
  5. ^ "The ALPA Hall of Presidents"
  6. ^ Our Pilot Groups - ALPA
  7. ^ "ALPA drugs policy, p.40726". November 21, 1988. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  8. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (September 22, 1989). "Pilots Sought". The New York Times. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  9. ^ a b Malnic, Eric (September 23, 1989). "FAA Suspends". latimes. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  10. ^ "Aircraft Accident Report: USAir Flight 5050" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-04.
  11. ^ "pilots-union-fought-drug-testing".[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]