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Spirit pilots threaten strike

Spirit Airlines pilots report that they have received confirmation of the 30-day cooling-off period from the US National Mediation Board (NMB), giving the two parties until 00:01 on 12 June, to reach an agreement on a new pilot contract, after which time, pilot leaders may call a lawful strike.

“During the past three years of negotiations, Spirit management has done everything imaginable to avoid giving our pilots a new contract that is in line with our peers at other low-cost carriers,” explained Captain Sean Creed, head of the Spirit unit of ALPA, which represents the pilots. “But the clock is now ticking. There’s no more time for games, stall tactics, or laughable proposals. It is time for them to get serious about delivering a contract that recognises and rewards our contributions to this airline.”

Spirit pilots have been in negotiations with their management for more than three years. In February 2010, the pilots applied to the NMB for a proffer of arbitration. On 3 May, the NMB proffered binding arbitration to both sides, which the pilots refused two days later. This refusal allowed the NMB to call for a 30-day cooling-off period, which begins on 13 May and ends at the stated time above.

Spirit Airlines responded to the announcement of the cooling-off period by issuing a statement which read: “Spirit is committed to working with ALPA and intends to reach an agreement that effectively ensures the long-term stability and growth of the company, as well as providing for rewarding and stable careers for our pilots and co-workers who do a great job for the company.

“Spirit trusts that ALPA shares in the company’s strong commitment to use this period to work diligently to reach a solution that is mutually beneficial for all parties.”

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