October 3, 2007
Spirit Pilots to Begin Mediated Negotiations as Contract Talks Sputter
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The pilots of Spirit Airlines, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Intl. (ALPA), today said that they will receive federal assistance from the National Mediation Board in ongoing contract negotiations between the union and the company, which began more than a year ago. Citing that their management has little interest in further direct negotiations, the pilots asked for mediation assistance due to numerous critical unresolved contract issues including scope, wages, work rules, and retirement.
“Management has been largely unresponsive to our attempts to negotiate in earnest for a fair and consensual contract,” said Capt. Matt Nowell, chairman of the Spirit Master Executive Council of ALPA. “They have delayed the negotiation process by coming to meetings unprepared and without the proper authority to negotiate our contract’s most important economic issues.”
Union negotiators have offered numerous productivity and other work rule enhancements, saving the company millions in exchange for better pay rates. The company, however, which is eager to accept these new work rules, still wants concessionary pay cuts at a time when they are making record profits. Additionally, management is insisting on concessionary per diem pay cuts that equal less than half the industry rate.
“The pilots and other employee groups at Spirit are the sole reason that this airline has been solvent over the years and is now enjoying prosperity—not the company individuals who appear to be stifling negotiations,” said Bill Russo, chairman of the pilots’ Negotiating Committee. “Bringing in a federal mediator will do little to further progress if the company persists in its strategy of trying to get us to negotiate with ourselves. Negotiations, whether direct face-to-face or under the auspices of a mediator, must be a two-way street.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA represents 60,000 pilots at 41 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit the ALPA website at http://www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACTS: Ron Lovas, 703-481-4468