August 25, 2008
ALPA Pledges $2 Million to Support Spirit Pilots Against Rogue Management
Washington, D.C.—The Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), authorized $2 million from its Major Contingency Fund to support the Spirit pilots and their efforts to fight against the irresponsible actions of Spirit management. In the two years since Ben Baldanza and his management team took the helm, they have repeatedly disregarded labor contracts and blamed its pilots for service, planning, and staffing failures for which management alone is responsible.
“From the often offensive advertising campaigns to the unethical treatment of their employees, management’s actions have destroyed much of the reputation and customer base of Spirit Airlines,” said Capt. Sean Creed, chair of the Spirit unit of ALPA. “With the backing of our national union, we will work to restore the proud tradition of Spirit airlines that we helped build and make it a great place to work and a great airline to fly.”
The $2 million grant will fund training, education, and activities that will shine a spotlight on the activities of Spirit’s increasingly out-of-touch management with its workforce, its customers, and its business model. Just a few years ago, Spirit Airlines was poised to become a leader in the low-cost carrier market. However, skyrocketing fuel costs and other economic pressures seem to have thrown management into a tailspin. The company increasingly treats its employees as both disposable and replaceable.
Recently, the company used the news media to accuse the pilots of a “sick-in”—even though the staff shortage was a direct effect of furloughing 45 pilots without a commensurate reduction in scheduling. Many pilots, including one recovering from an emergency root canal, were called in for disciplinary hearings. Most of these hearings were canceled following a challenge from ALPA.
“Baldanza appears to be intent on destroying Spirit Airlines,” commented Capt. Creed. “Since the investors seem unwilling to rein him in, it’s up to the employees to force this company back on track.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union and represents 55,000 pilots at 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada, including more than 500 pilots at Spirit Airlines. Visit the ALPA website at http://www.alpa.org.
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Capt. Sean Creed—(765) 338-6824
Arthur Luby—(571) 236-3523
Jen Lofquist—(703) 481-4459