A union organizing campaign is under way at fractional-aircraft provider Flight Options, according to Don Treichler of the International Brother of Teamsters (IBT) airline division, with an initial distribution of “representation” cards sent to pilots on along with an explanatory newsletter dated May 23. IBT followed up with a second newsletter dated June 12.
Change to Win Federation
Mount Saint Helens wasn’t the only imminent eruption last month. With liquid magma figuratively coursing through their veins, many NetJets pilots–estimated by some in the flying ranks to be an “overwhelming majority”–were expressing anger over the tentative agreement (TA) their master executive council (MEC) struck with the company for a new three-year labor contract.
The Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 1108, which represents pilots for fractional provider Flight Options, claimed last month that some pilots were fired for their inability to receive Canpass authorization. According to the union, Flight Options management recently fired or otherwise forced out about half a dozen pilots over what
it said amounted to simple traffic violations.
After nine months of intense bargaining, NetJets’ unionized pilots (represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters) and management reached a tentative agreement (TA) on Saturday. The move comes four years after the pilots’ contract became amendable in October 2001.
Three of the five pilots for Cleveland-based fractional aircraft operator Flight Options who are trying to organize pilots under International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1108 (the same union that represents NetJets fractional pilots) told AIN that they soon expect to have enough organizing cards to call a vote.
On October 29, more than four out of every five of the unionized pilots at fractional provider NetJets voted to reject a tentative agreement (TA) reached in late August (see AIN November, page 4), sending a strong message to their now former master executive council (MEC) members, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 284 and the company itself.
On December 23 NetJets pilots overwhelmingly elected the five-member master executive council (MEC) slate known as Strong Union. Eighty-nine percent of the more than 1,900-strong unionized fractional pilot workforce supported the candidates and delivered a vote of no confidence to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 284.
Since the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1108 filed an application letter to the National Mediation Board (NMB) for representation of the 830 Flight Options pilots earlier this month, the fractional provider has increased efforts to thwart the union drive. It has set up a Web site to provide information to the pilot workforce about unions and, according to NMB filings, hired union-busting law firm Ford & Harrison.
Last Thursday’s union victory for the Flight Options pilots has received mixed reactions.
Members of the Teamsters union that represents mechanics, aircraft fuelers and other support personnel conducted what they called "informational picketing" at the NBAA Convention this week and elsewhere against their employer, fractional provider NetJets.