Teamster pilots, flight attendants and mechanics at Republic Airways are fighting back against the company’s anti-worker tactics, including rallies outside a shareholders’ meeting and a march on the company’s headquarters. Republic provides regional flights for United, American, Delta and US Airways as well as its own Frontier Airlines.
In early August, the workers protested outside the company’s shareholders’ meeting in New York City, warning the public that labor unrest is a real threat in light of the company’s attack on workers.
“We came to New York to warn passengers and investors that a strike is on the horizon if management continues down its current path,” said Republic Airlines First Officer Craig Moffatt, President of Local 357 in Plainfield, Ind. “A strike could disrupt air travel throughout the country.”
With no wage increase in more than five years, some Republic pilots now qualify for food stamps. The company is also destroying morale among other work groups by violating the workplace rights of mechanics.
“Since its purchase of Frontier and Midwest Airlines in 2009, Republic has pursued a business strategy that has antagonized customers, squandered cash and undermined its core regional carrier business,” said Ken Hall, Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer.
Investors gave strong support to a Teamster shareholder proposal calling for an independent chairman of the board.
In its report, “Independent Board Leadership at Republic Airways—The Final Frontier,” the Teamsters note concerns about the airline’s clubby board and conflicted lead director who have allowed CEO and Chairman Bryan Bedford to create the current crisis at Republic.
In late August, workers marched on the company’s Indianapolis headquarters, demanding that management honor the professional employees who keep the flying public safe.
“I’m here to tell the company to respect our federally protected rights to form our union,” said Thad Tivin, a four-year Republic mechanic based at National Airport near Washington, D.C. “The company is violating our rights and we are fed up with these attacks. Management needs to start honoring their employees.”
The Republic mechanics are trying to form their union, hoping to join the mechanics at Frontier, who are already Teamsters.