15-Jun-2010 8:57 AM

Spirit flight attendants support pilots' fight for fair contract

Spirit Airlines announced (14-Jun-2010) all flights are now cancelled through 16-Jun-2010. Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) turned down a compounded average 29% pay increase costing the company an additional USD70 million over five years. This 29% pay increase, when combined with annual step increases, totals a 47% increase in annual compensation over five years, prior to any overtime pay, signing bonus and 401K matching contribution increases. Spirit and its pilots are reportedly set to resume negotiations on 15-Jun-2010 (Associated Press, 14-Jun-2010). The National Mediation Board has asked both sides to meet in Fort Lauderdale but union officials have stated they will remain on strike until a deal is reached. [more]

  • ALPA responded (14-Jun-2010) stating Spirit management continues to seriously misrepresent its latest pilot contract proposal, which would force pilots to work more hours and pay more to provide health care for their families, while company profits continue to soar and Spirit was ranked as the most profitable US airline by pre-tax profit margin last year. The carrier stated management’s latest proposal is worth USD62.5 million over five years, while Spirit earned a record USD83 million profit in 2009 alone. Spirit’s ranking as the most profitable airline by pre-tax margin in the US in 2009 is based on the Department of Transportation’s Form 41 data. Pre-tax margin, which is the profit made by a company calculated as a percentage of sales before taxes, is an important measure of the profitability of a company. In the context of this strong profitability, management’s proposal would not bring Spirit pilots’ salaries up to industry standards for at least five years. The pilots’ pay has been frozen for almost four years, which would mean the pilots would wait a total of nearly nine years under management’s proposal before their salaries would match those of other pilots who fly similar aircraft elsewhere in the industry. The management proposal would also force pilots to work more hours and pay more for health care. [more]
  • Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) announced (13-Jun-2010) their support for the carrier’s pilots' fight for a fair contract. In a statement of support, the Spirit AFA-CWA master executive council (MEC) overwhelmingly pledged their support to the pilots for a successful conclusion to current negotiations. [more]
  • FlyersRights.org called on (14-Jun-2010) Spirit CEO, Ben Baldanza, to keep his promise to secure safe passage for passengers stranded by the airline's ongoing pilot strike. [more]

Air Line Pilots Association: “Spirit management should recognise that its pilots have powerful backing and an unshakable resolve to get a fair contract. We regret that Spirit management’s failure to take seriously its pilots’ contributions to the company has forced us to strike, but, one way or another, we will make our value clear. For the sake of the passengers who have been inconvenienced by this situation, we urge Spirit management to get serious and present a contract proposal that is fair and equitable for all of its pilots. Moreover, Spirit management should focus its energy at the bargaining table instead of negotiating in the news media. Management has hampered our efforts to develop a deal by waiting until hours before the strike deadline to offer any contract increases at all,” Capt. Andy Nelson, Vice-Chairman. Source: Air Line Pilots Association, International.

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