(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Aircraft mechanics, fuelers, cleaners and stock clerks passed out hundreds of handbills to their NetJets co-workers in the company cafeteria in response to their employer’s decision to subcontract critical maintenance work to third-party vendors.
Teamster representatives handed out fliers titled, “Broken Planes, Broken Promises,” which stated, “Subcontracting maintenance reduces jobs and decreases oversight…keep the jobs and the oversight at NetJets for the good of all of us.” The handbill also said, “When an aircraft breaks, NetJets mechanics and support employees know how to fix it with skill and dedication.”
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Teamsters Airline Division and Local 284 represent mechanics, maintenance control, aircraft fuelers, aircraft cleaners and stock clerks at the Columbus, Ohio based airline. The business jet operator is owned by Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A and BRK.B).
NetJets Aviation, Inc., and NetJets Sales, Inc., employ a mere 111 mechanics to perform maintenance work on its fleet of approximately 400 aircraft. By comparison, a major airline employs over 7,000 mechanics to service its fleet of approximately 700 aircraft. The number of mechanics employed impacts other jobs, including positions related to oversight and maintenance support. Increases in maintenance subcontracting could affect hundreds of other jobs at NetJets and other carriers.
NetJets recently announced that its sister company, Executive Jet Management, intends to phase out maintenance operations in White Plains, N.Y., and Cincinnati, Ohio. However, the company refuses to commit that its own aircraft technicians rather than lower cost vendors will perform maintenance work on NetJets aircraft at those locations and others around the nation.
“There is no good reason for NetJets to continue down the path of outsourcing more critical maintenance functions,” said Paul Suffoletto, President of Local 284. “They have highly skilled technicians sitting idle while subcontractors work on NetJets aircraft across the nation. The trend with NetJets management is more subcontracting in the future, not less.”
As part of an effort to publicize their labor dispute, workers plan to distribute similar handbills at locations frequented by NetJets’ customers. Contract negotiations between the Teamsters and NetJets have stalled over the company’s refusal to limit subcontracting and assign more safety-sensitive maintenance to its own workforce.
“The Teamsters are standing up for these hardworking and professional men and women,” said Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division. “We are committed to the success of maintenance operations at NetJets and our efforts to bring subcontracted maintenance work in-house are good for the workforce, the company and customers.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.