Posted on: 16 June 2010 by Ross McSweeny
Spirit Airlines and its pilots, represented by the Airline Pilots Association, International (ALPA) have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract following protracted discussions and strike action by the pilots.
The contract, which was unanimously recommended by the union’s leadership, is subject to ratification by the pilot membership which is planned for July. If ratified, the contract will include improvements in pay, benefits, and work rules that, accoring to the union, “recognise and reward the pilots’ contributions to the company’s success”.
“We’re pleased to have a tentative agreement that acknowledges the sacrifices each of us made to ensure the success of Spirit Airlines,” remarked Captain Sean Creed, leader of the Spirit unit of ALPA. “This agreement provides increases in pay and retirement benefits, protects our work rules, and ensures our job security at Spirit. After four days on the picket line, this agreement also gets this pilot group and this airline back where they belong – in the air.”
On Saturday 12 June, the pilots went on strike, forcing the company to cancel all flights and call a standstill to its operations. The pilots’ and management’s representatives reconvened on Tuesday 15 June, and met for 24 hours of intense negotiations facilitated by the National Mediation Board. After this effort, negotiators reached a tentative agreement late on Wednesday that will allow the airline to restart flights on Friday 18 June.
Spirit Airlines thanked the National Mediation Board, its pilots, employees and ALPA for their dedication throughout the process. “Our pilots worked hard to get a mutually favourable deal that allows the company to grow while improving their wages and benefits,” said Ben Baldanza, president and CEO of Spirit.
The Spirit pilots’ leaders will hold road shows to meet with their pilots in the coming weeks. The agreement is expected to be brought for a vote to the entire Spirit pilot group in July.