Pilot union files lawsuit against Republic Airways

Teamsters Local 357, which represents the pilots of Republic Airways and its subsidiaries, has filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that it unilaterally changed pilots' working conditions regarding "open time" flying without first agreeing those changes with the union.

More than 2,200 Republic pilots are members of Local 357, which has been negotiating a new contract with the company since the previous contract became amendable in 2007.

The union’s lawsuit asserts that the company's changes are unlawful alterations in the status quo and that they took place even while the items changed were the subject of ongoing bargaining between Local 357 and Republic. The purpose of the lawsuit, says Teamsters, is to compel Republic's compliance with its lawful duties under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), the federal law which governs labour relations in the airline industry.

To uphold the principle that Republic can only make changes to the pilots' agreement through the bargaining process, Local 357 filed its lawsuit in the US District Court in Indianapolis seeking “injunctive relief, declaratory judgment and other appropriate relief against the company's unlawful changes in the status quo of pilot contractual rates of pay, rules and working conditions”.

"Republic has had eight years to come to an agreement. The pilots are seeking a fair contract that spells out pay, benefits and working conditions, so that the company can't give something and take it back at their whim. That's what these hardworking, skilled pilots deserve now—plain and simple," emphasised Jim Clark, president of Local 357.

Pending the outcome of this lawsuit, the pilots will maintain their normal practice with regard to flying.

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