Frontier pilots protest saying management broke promise to give raises

Protest comes a day before arbitration

DENVER — Frontier Airlines pilots protested Wednesday at company headquarters, a day before the pilots union and management will go to an arbitration hearing with management of fair pay.

Pilots in the union say when they gave up part of their salary to help the airline financially in 2011, Frontier management agreed to renegotiate salaries if Frontier’s profit margin exceeded 5% for two consecutive years.

Both sides signed a letter of agreement in 2011, said Alan Christie, Frontier pilots union spokesman.

Frontier’s pre-tax profit margin exceeded 13% in 2014 and 14% in 2015, Christie said, triggering the need to renegotiate based the letter of agreement.

Christie said Frontier refused to do that citing challenging business conditions.

Both sides will go before an arbitrator on April 20 to discuss this issue, he said.

“Frontier Airlines is enjoying record profitability, among the most profitable airlines in the country. The management has chosen not to reinvest those profits in its employees or the customer experience,” Christie said.

Frontier spokesman Jim Faulkner would not comment specifically on the disagreement but issued a statement.

“We appreciate the dedication our pilots have for both our customers and the company, and we have additional dates scheduled to meet with them. We will continue to work with union leadership to ensure that both they and Frontier have a successful and secure future while recognizing that any agreement must be sustainable,” the statement said.

Operation of the airline, hasn’t been affected by the pilots’ protest.

Unhappiness over pay comes as the union and management have been working for months to renegotiate a new contract.

The airlines has stayed successfully out of the news lately following mishaps in late December and earlier this year.

Denver7 Investigative broke news in January that a Frontier Airlines jet flew with about 20 screws missing from an area near the front of the wing. The missing screws did not affect safety, according to the airline and other aviation experts.

Thousands of Frontier passengers were stranded in December when snow and contract-employee sick calls triggered a ripple effect across the airline’s route network.

Baggage was lost and it took the airline weeks to reunite customers with their baggage. The airline agreed to refund many customers’ fares.

Following the incident that stranded passengers, the airline’s vice president of customer experience, Deborah Price, left her position. Frontier spokesman Jim Faulkner said her decision to leave was made before the snow event.

Chief operating office, Bill Meehan, also resigned weeks later. The company said it was for personal reasons.

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