(RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio) – Senior management of luxury private jet providers Flexjet and Flight Options informed the Teamsters last week that they would not implement the Merged Collective Bargaining Agreement (“MCBA”) covering the combined Flexjet and Flight Options pilot groups that was awarded by an arbitrator on October 10, 2017.
The award follows a lengthy arbitration process that was designed to establish contract terms for bringing all pilots in both groups under one set of rules. Instead, the company intends to delay the implementation of the MCBA, which was to become effective immediately. In addition, the company will challenge in arbitration the pilots’ Integrated Seniority List (“ISL”) that the union presented to the company in February 2016.
In July 2017 a federal appeals court found that the company had the right to arbitrate the ISL before implementing it. The union repeatedly queried the company if it intended to arbitrate, but received no response for months. Now, after the effective date of the MCBA award, management has finally stated their intent to arbitrate the ISL.
“Flexjet and Flight Options management continues to deny the pilots any improvements in their wages, benefits and working conditions at a time when experienced pilots are in short supply,” said Capt. Efrem Vojta, President of Teamsters Local 1108. “It is no wonder that between January 2016 and September 2017 the number of active pilots flying for the combined companies dropped by a whopping 15 percent.”
“In May 2016 U.S. District Court Judge James Gwin ruled the ISL was ‘fair and equitable’ under the federal McCaskill-Bond Act. Although a federal appeals court found that the company had the right to arbitrate the ISL, it agreed with Judge Gwin’s conclusion. We are confident that the arbitration process will determine the company must accept it,” said Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division. “This is just another delay tactic by management to prevent the implementation of a collective bargaining agreement to which the pilots and their families are entitled.”
“The continuing uncertainty over their terms of employment weighs heavily on the minds of the pilots at the combined companies,” Vojta said. “Nearly 600 pilots should not have to work in the hostile environment fashioned by management that creates potential distractions in the cockpit and jeopardizes safe operations. Experienced pilots can choose from many career opportunities and will undoubtedly avoid Flexjet and Flight Options. Instead, they will seek to fly for a senior management team that is focused on growing their company, not waging a war of attrition with its pilots and their union.”
Flexjet and Flight Options are luxury business jet carriers that serve the wealthy and large corporations and operate under the umbrella of aviation parent company One Sky Flight, LLC.
The Teamsters won the right to represent the combined Flexjet and Flight Options pilot group in a National Mediation Board union election in December 2015.
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