Last week, in a big win that will preserve the jobs of 150 Teamster pilots at Local 1224, the Broward County Board of Commissioners in south Florida reached an agreement to allow Silver Airways to continue operating at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).
“This victory is tremendous news for Silver Airways pilots and a testament to what unity can achieve. I am grateful for the support of every Teamster who chipped in and contributed to this result, and I want to extend a special thank you to Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien for taking the time to advocate on our behalf,” said Hans Giger, Executive Council Chairman with Teamsters Local 1224.
The Broward County Board of Commissioners had scheduled a vote to potentially terminate the airline’s lease at the airport after it was discovered that the airline owed approximately $1 million in unpaid rent and fees at the airport. But thanks to swift action from the Teamsters, the Commissioners got the message that any lease termination would have had devastating consequences for more than 800 airline workers with no knowledge of unpaid rent or any prior reason to fear that their jobs were in danger.
Given the importance of FLL to Silver’s business model – Silver’s headquarters is based at FLL and Ft. Lauderdale is their largest hub – it’s possible that the airline would have folded entirely if the lease was terminated, causing those pilots, and hundreds of other workers, to lose their jobs.
That’s when the Teamsters jumped in, making phone calls and sending letters to every member of the Board urging them to delay the vote, and working with Silver to help them reach a job-saving agreement with the County. Teamsters across the country also sent letters to the Board of Commissioners asking them to consider the potential ramifications of causing 833 Silver Airways workers to lose their jobs.
Partnering with the unions that represent other workers at Silver, Teamsters made clear that workers would unfairly bear the brunt of any decision to terminate the airline’s lease at FLL. With members of Local 1224 on hand, the Board voted to preserve those jobs and allow Silver to continue to operate out of FLL. By helping Silver Airways and the Broward County Board of Commissioners come to an agreement, Teamsters not only helped preserve the jobs of 150 pilots, but also the livelihoods of hundreds of families in south Florida.