Teamster Workers Picket PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament
Kara DenizEmail: [email protected] Phone: (202) 624-6911
(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – NetJets aircraft technicians and related employees represented by the Teamsters Airline Division and Teamsters Local 284 are conducting an informational picket at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance on June 2. The event is held at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Teamsters Airline Division and Local 284 represent aircraft mechanics, maintenance controllers, aircraft fuelers, aircraft cleaners and stock clerks. The Columbus-based business jet operator is owned by Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A and BRK.B).
“We’re at the Memorial Tournament because NetJets customers are here, and we’re telling them about a serious labor dispute over critical aircraft maintenance issues that they are directly impacted by,” said Chris Moore, Chairman of the Teamsters Aviation Mechanics Coalition. “They’re paying a premium price, but many customers don’t know that the person turning the wrench on their plane doesn’t even work for NetJets. We plan to do everything we can to keep the customers and public informed about the problems that exist between maintenance workers we represent and NetJets.”
NetJets Aviation, Inc. and NetJets Sales, Inc. only employ 111 aircraft mechanics to work on its fleet of approximately 400 aircraft. By comparison, major airlines often employ up to 10 mechanics per aircraft. Workers accuse NetJets of trying to drive away qualified mechanics and support workers in favor of subcontracting critical repair work on NetJets aircraft despite customer expectations and threats to workers’ job security.
On May 25, NetJets issued a policy banning workers from wearing union buttons publicizing labor problems in the maintenance department. The policy also states that any NetJets worker “who is owner-facing, or who may reasonably come in contact with an owner, is not to wear any items on their uniform that are inconsistent with, or in addition to, their standard company uniform.” Union officials accuse the company of trying to hide escalating tensions between safety workers and management from customers. The Teamsters claim the policy violates NetJets’ labor contract and federal law because it prohibits pro-union buttons. Workers filed a grievance and the union is considering filing a lawsuit against NetJets in federal district court.
“It’s very hard to rebuild a maintenance infrastructure that’s been dismantled by subcontracting,” said Mark Vandak, President of Teamsters Local 284. “When it comes to these major outsourcing decisions, it’s not as easy as taking a mulligan on the golf course. NetJets management needs to do the right thing for their workforce and their customers. That means focusing their full attention and resources on rebuilding a NetJets-staffed maintenance system, and not allowing themselves to be distracted by petty issues like trying to ban lawful union buttons. There’s too much at stake.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information, please visit www.teamster.org.