Release #08.SPA6
September 4, 2008

ALPA to Spirit Management: “Enough Is Enough!”
After months of contract violations, ALPA files suit against Spirit Airlines

DETROIT—After three months of continuous contract violations by Spirit Airlines management, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), representing the more than 500 Spirit pilots, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against the company. The suit seeks federal court relief against Spirit Airlines for its multiple violations of the Railway Labor Act, the law that governs labor relations in the airline industry.

Specifically, the suit alleges that the company has engaged in a pattern of unlawful behavior by negotiating in bad faith with ALPA; unilaterally imposing a series of changes in rates of pay, rules, and working conditions through bad-faith application of the contract; attempting to coerce and intimidate pilots by undermining their union; and seeking to circumvent the collective bargaining process as a whole.

“Enough is enough,” said Capt. John Prater, president of ALPA. “Over the last few months, Spirit pilots have withstood every contract violation and every form of harassment that this management could throw at them. Since the company refuses to honor the contract, we are asking a court to force them to, and treat these pilots and our union with the respect we deserve.”

In May, Spirit Airlines announced furloughs of 30 percent of the active pilots; 45 on August 1 and 70 on September 1. Despite this reduction in staff, the company made no attempt to make a commensurate reduction in flights. Instead, the company has repeatedly violated the contract in an effort to compensate for its poor decision making and self-inflicted pilot shortage. By unilaterally changing and ignoring clear contractual rules and long-standing work practices, as well as commitments made in bargaining, the company has tried to run roughshod over the pilots, their contract, and the collective bargaining process.

“Spirit pilots are working harder than ever to meet the demands of this airline,” said Capt. Sean Creed, chair of the Spirit unit of ALPA. “It’s unfortunate that the actions of a misguided management team have forced us to take this step to protect our profession, our contract, and our airline.”

The full text of the complaint can be found here.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union and represents 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the U.S. and Canada, including more than 500 pilots at Spirit Airlines. Visit the ALPA website at

# # #

Capt. Sean Creed—(765) 338-6824
Arthur Luby—(571) 236-3523
Jen Lofquist—(703) 481-4459