(Washington, D.C.) – CitationAir, the Greenwich, Conn.-based provider of luxury business jet and charter aircraft services, radically altered the work schedules of the company’s nearly 230 pilots who are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Airline Division, Local 1108. CitationAir is wholly owned by Cessna Aircraft Company, which in turn is wholly owned by Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT), a major U.S. defense contractor. The Teamsters and CitationAir management have been in negotiations over a first contract for the pilots since Nov. 2011.
Prior to the change on March 1, CitationAir scheduled pilots to be available for duty seven consecutive workdays during each two-week period. Management’s new schedule pattern now requires pilots to be available for duty eight consecutive workdays during each two-week period for an increase of 26 more workdays per year.
During each workday, a pilot can be required to remain on duty for 14 hours straight, with only 10 hours off the job before again reporting to fly. Management recently rejected efforts by the Teamsters to implement protections preventing the company from scheduling a pilot for nine or more consecutive workdays without his or her concurrence.
“The typical U.S. worker has a five-day workweek that keeps him or her on the job 20 days a month, not counting holidays. Assuming eight-hour shifts, that worker puts in about 160 hours a month,” said Capt. Mat Slinghoff, Local 1108 President. “In contrast, CitationAir could conceivably require a pilot to be at work 252 hours, or more, during a single month. Furthermore, pilots do not get holidays off—they work in a 365/24/7 business.”
“CitationAir is requiring pilots to work 26 additional days per year, effectively for free,” said Capt. David Bourne, Teamsters Airline Division Director. “Management will be keeping pilots on the road away from their homes and families nearly one full month each year against their will for no additional compensation. This type of abusive scheduling practice can only contribute to pilot fatigue, which has been proven to negatively impact aviation safety.”
“In an effort to cut costs, our pilots and their schedules were targeted. CitationAir’s move will severely impact the quality of life of our pilots and their families,” said Teamster General President James Hoffa. “The International Brotherhood of Teamsters stands with these dedicated professional pilots and those that depend on them for safe air travel.”
Local 1108 is part of the Teamsters Airline Division and represents more than 700 pilots employed by CitationAir and Cleveland, Ohio-based Flight Options LLC, which is also a provider of luxury business jet and charter aircraft services. The Teamsters Airline Division represents about 80,000 workers in all segments of commercial aviation. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters was founded in 1903 and represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.