Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Republic Airways' skies are unfriendly for Teamsters, passengers

Fasten your seat belts! Teamster-member pilots with Republic Airline Holdings, Inc. (RAH), are warning potential new hires and customers about their abysmal pay and working conditions. The pilots are telling them they would be much better off with another airline, and they caution that the safety of both pilots and passengers is at stake.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 357, which represents 2,300 professional aviators, ran an advertisement in USA Today last Friday and created two websites to publicize their disgust with RAH. Local 357 also began a White House petition asking for the law to be changed so companies can't endlessly extend contract negotiations. RAH pilots have been trying to reach a deal on a new contract since 2007, and have not received a contractual raise in more than five years.

This advertisement ran in the May 17 edition of USA Today.

Meanwhile, RAH -- which operates regional jets for American, Delta, Frontier, United and USAirways -- has increased employee contributions for health care and uprooted pilots from their home bases. Many pilots subsist on less than $1,000 a month in take-home pay and are spending more time away from their families.

As both websites state:
Aviation is a rewarding career in many ways, but Republic Airways management does their best to keep that at a minimum. They continue to beat the competition and expand the business by ensuring that we are among the lowest compensated pilots in the industry. Republic Airways works against us in every possible fashion to keep us cheap at our own expense and sacrifice.
How could a company let issues grow to the point that the pilots’ union is taking out ads and creating a website like this? Believe it or not, management does it on purpose. The “stepping stone” mentality was intentionally designed to get low-experienced pilots in the door who will stay for a minimum time then move on once better employment is found – essentially making the company into a temporary staffing agency for other airlines. The industry has changed, but our company (along with our pay and work rules) have not kept up with the times.
It is time for RAH leadership to come to the table and negotiate in good faith with hard-working pilots who are only asking for a fair shake. To say our lives are in their hands is not an exaggeration. Pilots should be fairly compensated for the critical work they do. Until RAH changes its ways, new pilots and customers should vote with their feet by choosing other airlines.