August 12, 2005
Spirit Pilot Union Leaders Express “No Confidence” in Management
Pilots demand contract compliance
FT. LAUDERDALE, FLA -- The Master Executive Council (MEC) for pilots at Spirit Airlines, a unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l. (ALPA) today voted unanimously to express “no confidence” in the present Spirit Airlines management.
“This ‘no confidence’ vote is an expression of our total exasperation and frustration with Spirit management’s willful failure over the course of many months to abide by our collective bargaining agreement,” said MEC Chairman, Capt. Vince Heist. “This has been compounded by management’s actions in harassing members who have taken issue with their failure to honor their obligations to our pilots. We have reached this sad state of affairs in which compliance with the contract is the exception rather than the rule” he said.
Thirty months ago, the pilot group signed a concessionary contract with management that allowed for unprecedented growth in an airline environment of instability and furloughs. Since then, numerous contract violations have led to an abundance of grievances increasing labor unrest. Pilots entered into negotiations with management in April 2005 to resolve contract violations and agreed to discuss management's issues. Since that meeting management has made no attempt to address these problems and continues to willfully violate and abuse the pilots in the normal course of their flying and time off. In addition, the company has maintained the airline at a level below adequate staffing, forcing pilots to fly on their days off while fellow pilots are on furlough. One top executive even informed several pilots that the reason for furloughing was because the pilot union turned down pay cuts in late 2004.
“We intend to take all lawful measures to protect our crewmembers as well as ensure that our customers are properly served. In most operations, management works with the union to achieve these ends. Unfortunately, at Spirit, management is the primary obstacle,” Heist said.
Spirit Airlines’ headquarters are in Ft. Lauderdale, which, together with Detroit, are its main hubs. It is one of the few profitable airlines as of August 2004, recently reporting record traffic for June 2005. The airline has received $100 million of new financing led by Oaktree Capital Management, LLC and Goldman Sachs Credit Partners L.P. With nearly 120 departures per day to cities throughout the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, Spirit Airlines is the largest privately held airline in the United States.
ALPA is the bargaining agent for the nearly 400 pilots at Spirit Airlines. Founded in 1931, ALPA represents approximately 64,000 pilots at 41 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA Contacts: Capt. Mike O'Connell, 954-465-5546