Release #: FFT 18.08
August 27, 2018
Frontier Pilots’ Mobile Strike Center Hits the Highways for Nationwide Tour
Pilots to share their story in 21 Frontier focus cities across 14 states
DENVER, Colo.—Typically, when Frontier Airlines pilots travel cross-country, it’s in the cockpit of an Airbus jet. But this summer and fall, some of them have hit the highways aboard a 37-foot recreational vehicle modified to serve as a rolling office should the Frontier pilot group get permission from the federal government to go on strike after almost three years of stalled contract negotiations.
The Frontier pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), have launched a 21-city tour with the Frontier Strike Bus to help get out the message that “it’s time for a market-rate contract for Frontier pilots.” Frontier’s 1,200 pilots are the lowest paid in North America for their aircraft type.
“Our Strike Bus is going city to city, especially focus cities in the Frontier network, to let the public know that Frontier pilots are flying the same routes and aircraft as other pilots—but earn more than 50 percent less than their peers,” said Capt. Tracy Smith, chairman of ALPA’s Frontier Airlines group. “While other groups have signed new agreements, Frontier pilots are still flying under an 11-year old bankruptcy deal. Imagine working under the same rules as you did more than a decade ago, while people who do the exact same job as you get paid more, have better job security, and have more time with their families.”
Leaving its home base in Denver on August 25, the Mobile Strike Center will visit Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo.; Chicago, Ill.; Cleveland, Ohio; Harrisburg and Philadelphia, Pa.; Herndon, Va.; Washington, D.C.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Jacksonville and Orlando, FL; New Orleans, La.; Houston, Austin, Fort Worth, and Dallas, Tex.; Tucson, Ariz.; Las Vegas, Nev.; and Salt Lake City, Utah.
ALPA has been in negotiations with Frontier since March 2016. The tour comes four months after the pilots asked the National Mediation Board (NMB) to declare a bargaining impasse and release them from mediation and a month after ALPA sued Frontier in U.S. District Court in Chicago for bad-faith bargaining.
“Management’s conduct at the negotiating table has been the very definition of bad-faith bargaining. It’s clear they will never come to terms with the pilots until they are facing a hard deadline to achieve a contract or face a strike,” Smith said. “This mobile strike center tells the public in foot-tall letters that Frontier pilots are 100 percent ready to strike. We’re ready to walk as soon as the NMB lets us.”
In addition to public visibility, the mobile strike center would also serve as a command post for striking Frontier pilots if they are released from mediation and complete a 30-day cooling-off period. The movable office could support strikers and picketing at any one of Frontier’s four pilot bases in Denver, Chicago, Orlando, or Las Vegas.
In the event of a pilot strike, the vehicle would be used to help track the movement of Frontier’s aircraft, set up a call center to communicate with pilots, serve as a rallying place for strike teams, and be a storehouse for supplies like picket signs.
The last U.S. pilot strike took place in June 2010, when Spirit Airlines pilots walked the line for five days, stranding thousands of passengers and disrupting untold vacations. At the time, Indigo Partners—the same equity firm that now owns Frontier—owned Spirit Airlines.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents more than 60,000 pilots at 34 airlines in the United States and Canada, including the more than 1,200 Frontier pilots. Visit the ALPA website at alpa.org or follow the Frontier pilots on Twitter @F9ALPA, and Facebook and Instagram @FrontierPilots. More information about the Frontier pilots’ fight for a contract is available at frontierbadbargain.com.