Denver-based ultra LCC Frontier Airlines’ pilots voted unanimously Sept. 8 to authorize a strike if the National Mediation Board (NMB) decides that further contract mediation efforts would be unproductive.

According to the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), which represents Frontier Airlines pilots, if either side declines arbitration, the parties enter a 30-day cooling off period, after which both sides could exercise self-help, whether it is a strike by the pilots or a lockout by the company.

“This vote shows the deep anger our pilots feel towards the direction set by our management,” ALPA’s Frontier Master Executive Council (MEC) chairman Tracy Smith said, adding Frontier pilots are “the lowest-paid Airbus pilots in North America.”

To bolster its complaint, the union cited a recent determination by a neutral arbitrator that found Frontier guilty of bad-faith bargaining for reneging on a promise to increase pilot pay if Frontier met prescribed profit margins.

“Even though Frontier’s margins overwhelmingly exceeded the minimums set to trigger negotiations, management has repeatedly refused to consider any pilot pay increase,” ALPA said in a statement.

ALPA opened contract negotiations with Frontier in March of last year, when the pilots’ contract became amenable. The parties have been working with a federal mediator since October 2016.

“Negotiations with our pilots continue under the guidance of the National Mediation Board,” a Frontier spokesperson told ATW in an emailed statement. “A strike will not happen as long as these negotiations are in progress. Frontier remains committed to reaching an agreement that is fair for both our pilots and the company.”

Mark Nensel

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