Local 357 Timeline of Events 1999-2016
In July 1999, Bryan Bedford became CEO of Chautauqua Airlines, which flew Saab 340's, Jetstream 31's and two EMB145's exclusively for US Airways. Pilots worked under a 1998 contract, which included (for the first time) pay and work rules for the EMB-140 and 145. Despite threats to job security, pilots voted to decline Bedford's request for a contract extension that he said was necessary to secure additional flying for US Airways.
In the summer of 2001, the pilots voted down a tentative agreement between the company and the Union. Subsequently, 9/11 and a termination of 125 pilots (out of seniority order) occurred.
Negotiations restarted with new Union leadership. In light of a multitude of carriers accepting concessionary agreements, as well as a downturn in the economy, negotiations dragged on throughout 2002 and most of 2003.
The company threatened outsourcing of Chautauqua jobs to gain leverage. In the summer, 95% of the pilots voted in favor of striking. Immediately following the strike vote, a furlough of 60 pilots occurred. This was, technically, a violation of the status quo requirement in Section 6 of the RLA. The company and the Union came to a tentative agreement which, unfortunately, assumed good faith with regard to contract compliance and gave the company the ability to twist the language. Overall, it was a non-concessionary contract, but not a great contract. With one exception: it was the first agreement to bind the holding company to the scope of a pilot contract.
The contract became amendable in April with the last contractual pay-raise in October of that year. The Union requested to open Section 6 (of the Railway Labor Act) contract negotiations in April of 2007.
For over 3½ years the company and the Union were in negotiations with little movement. There were extenuating circumstances, such as removal of the president of the former Local 747, the purchase of two airlines and the complete replacement of the Union’s leadership.
Local 357 filed a single transportation system application with the National Mediation Board (NMB) after RAH purchased Frontier Airlines.
Local 357 Executive Council reformed the Negotiating Committee. The Union and the company agreed to open only four sections (Scope, Compensation, Scheduling and Vacancies of the current CBA with the stated goal of expediting the negotiating process. In essence, the Union's
"give" was to to close the vast majority of the contract at current book, including such weighty sections as insurance and other benefits, expenses, bases, moving expenses and new aircraft.
Dec 2010-March 2011
Negotiation meetings with RAH management.
February 19, 2011
Arbitrator Dana Eischen issued the Integrated Master Seniority List (ISML) covering all pilots at Frontier and RAH carriers.
Local 357 pilots approved a temporary assessment (in addition to dues) to help fund negotiations and eventual contract amalgamation.
The company opened a session with the Union’s Negotiating Committee (concerning the Union’s comprehensive Article 6 Scheduling and Reserves proposal) by saying “We will not negotiate with you on the basis of your proposal.”
April 8, 2011
The National Mediation Board ruled that Chautauqua, Shuttle, RA, Frontier, (and Lynx) operated as a single transportation system (Republic Airlines et al./Frontier) for representation purposes under the RLA. The former Midwest Pilots are included in the single transportation system. The MEA pilots are in the system, although MEA is not. (Read the ruling here -PDF file is large. Please try downloading the file if you cannot view it in your browser.) Later that month, the IBT Airline Division, on behalf of Local 357, filed for federal mediation.
The National Mediation Board assigned a mediator.
The Union and the company hold a first meeting with mediator from the National Mediation Board.
During the last days of the NMB representational election, Republic Airlines and FAPA entered into a Letter of Agreement (LOA 67) in which Frontier pilots made concessions in return for RAH aiding FAPA in its representational efforts. IBT was voted in as the representative body for ALL RAH pilots.
The IBT sued RAH, Frontier and “FAPAInvest” over the illegal LOA 67 executed by Frontier and FAPA in June. The lawsuit alleges that the LOA is void because it was an illegal agreement between the company and FAPA to give concessions in return for the company aiding FAPA in its representational effort. It also alleges that RAH/Frontier are unlawfully dealing with “FAPAInvest, LLC”, a shell company set up by FAPA with the FAPA President as managing member, that owes no duty to Frontier pilots over the potential profit-sharing and equity identified in LOA 67. In addition, the company colluded with the ex-representatives of FAPA to interfere with the IBT’s ability to negotiate on behalf of the Frontier pilots, keep the FAPA concession agreements away from IBT, and hamper the Union’s ability to bargain on behalf of the pre-acquisition Republic, Midwest and Lynx pilots by attempting to circumvent our current CBA’s scope language. As it is the Union’s job to bargain on behalf of the members they represent, this lawsuit continued because the LOA 67 agreement is contrary to the letter and spirit of the Railway Labor Act.
Over 99% of the pilot group voted in favor to strike if deemed necessary by the Union’s leadership.
A new Executive Board took office on January 1, 2012 and the Local exited trusteeship.
The company released a podcast that accused the Union of leaving the table. In fact, the Company's claim it was willing to work through the weekend had no credibility. The Union clearly stated a willingness to bargain and compromise for an agreement. The Union was willing to bargain from its initial proposal while management gave a near bottom line, without negotiating rates, and imposed restrictions on what could be negotiated. The company left before 5 pm that Wednesday with no indication of either addressing reserve issues or wanting to "move quickly."
The company violated the rules of mediation by offering first officers and newly-hired pilots increased compensation OUTSIDE the collective bargaining agreement or process.
March 28, 2012
The company filed a complaint against the Union in Federal Court and moved for an injunction to take down a website published by union volunteers. ((1:12-cv-00398-JMS-MJD)). The company asserted that the website, rahcontractnow.org, damaged the company. However, all information on the website was a matter public record. Union volunteers developed the site for the convenience of fellow pilots who were considering employment with RAH and may not have been aware of the poor overall compensation and quality of life pilots endure at RAH.
April 27, 2012
The company withdrew its motion for injunction in the rahcontractnow.org case.
May 2, 2012
The Union and the company meet in federal court over rahcontractnow.org.
June 8, 2012
Teamster pilots, flight attendants and mechanics who work at Republic Airways distributed fliers at 10 airports nationwide to educate the flying public about the company’s ongoing attacks on its employees.
July 2, 2012
The IBT requested the NMB to release the Local and the company from mediation because the path of bargaining made it abundantly clear that no agreement could be reached with the company.
July 9, 2012
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters called on Republic Airways [Nasdaq: RJET] shareholders to vote for the Union’s proposal to appoint an independent chairman of the board. 48% of voters agreed (http://teamsternation.blogspot.com/2012/08/48-of-republic-airways-shareholders.html).
July 13, 2012
The court officially dismissed the rahcontractnow.org lawsuit. “…the Airlines’ federal claims against the Union are moot and dismissed…” due to the fact that “…the Airline('s) unambiguous admission that they can, in fact, currently recruit a sufficient number of pilots to operate despite the existence of the Union’s website directly contradicts the allegations in their Complaint that they are unable to do so.
On July 2, 2012, the IBT requested the National Mediation Board to release the Union and the Company from mediation. If granted by the NMB, the release would have started a 30-day clock to either reach agreement or go on to strike activity. That request for a "proffer of arbitration" was denied by the NMB through a poorly written notice that literally got the name of the company wrong and failed to complete the most important sentence of the notice. The NMB would go on to reassign two mediators and refuse any explanation for why it failed to act to bring the parties more quickly to an agreement. The first two mediators both reported to the NMB that the parties were at an impasse. A third, senior mediator who specialized in railroad cases (as opposed to airlines) was assigned to the case. The company and the Union began meetings with the Senior Mediator in September 2012
August 1, 2012
Republic Airways Holdings employees and supporters picket RAH’s annual shareholder meeting held in NYC.
After the Union presented a proposal that had a 25% lower cost than the previous Union proposal, the company gave an ultimatum that an agreement could not exceed $12 million in cost for the first year. It would have taken $17 million to keep up with inflation. The company never responded to the Union’s counter-proposal.
In a late-January mediation session, the company presented the first “Last Best and Final” offer. This one was the same offer presented in January; just in written form. When the IBT Economics Department independently valued the contract terms, it reached a value of $10 million. After the offer was rejected by the Local, the mediator stated no more sessions would be held. Four days later, the company announced a surprise (to the Union and the mediator) new service agreement with American Airlines for up to 100 new aircraft. The mediator quickly summoned both parties back to the table to discuss.
In mediation, the company presented a proposal again labeled as “Last Best and Final", which had no change in economics or work rules from prior proposals. The meeting ended without agreement and the NMB senior mediator again stated that where would be no further mediation session scheduled.
RAH terminated Local 357 President Craig Moffatt for a "training failure" when no training event took place. RAH also failed to follow the procedural steps for termination set out under the contract.
The Local encouraged members to send letters to their congressional representatives urging Congress to review funding for the NMB in light of the agency’s issues in resolving disputes in a timely manner. Several members joined President Craig Moffatt and Local 357’s lobbyists in Washington DC to speak with key congressional staff members regarding the Local’s battle for a contract.
The NMB set negotiations meetings for August 6-7 on Washington D.C.
The Local's public campaign continued with an ad in Flying Magazine.
97.5% of pilots voted “No Confidence in Wayne Heller COO RAH (RJET) and his Senior Leadership Team. Click here for press release.
Allied Pilots Assoc. expressed support for Local 357 and vows close cooperation. Click here for press release.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ Airline Division and representatives of Republic Airways held talks in Washington, D.C. Both sides agreed to bring in a private mediator to help them reach a new collective bargaining agreement. Click here for press release.
RAH and Local 357 reached a settlement agreement regarding the improper termination of Local 357 President Craig Moffatt.
November 2013-February 2014
Negotiations with the private mediator were held.
December 3, 2013
RAH completed the sale of all the outstanding shares of Frontier to Falcon Acquisition Group, Inc., an affiliate of Indigo Partners, LLC.
December 18, 2013
FAPA filed a representation application for the pilots on Frontier seeking a single transportation investigation and election.
Both parties announced that a tentative agreement has been met. The TA was presented to the Local's Executive Board in late-February. And a vote will be held in March. See press release. More information is available at the IBT Airline Division's website.
March 31, 2014
An NMB investigation established that Frontier is operating as a single transportation system for the craft or class of Pilots.
April 4, 2014
Local 357 pilots overwhelmingly rejected the Tentative Agreement announced in February. 289 For / 1643 Against, 1932 votes cast (15%/85%, 89.5%)
Upon certification by the NMB, Frontier Airlines Pilot Association (FAPA) assumed collective bargaining representation for Frontier pilots.
On December 31, 2014, Chautauqua Airlines ended flight operations. All services and the fleet were absorbed into Shuttle America.
A new Executive Board started a three-year term, ending on December 31, 2017.
The Local obtained legal counsel which specialized in state tax law for affected cities under the Company's plan to unilaterally apply local and municipality taxes to non-resident pilots. Pilots began receiving notices in March that the Company was implementing the deductions even though the Company had previously delayed the program due to concerns raised by the Union.
The Local filed a formal grievance based on the Company’s procedural violations of the dry lease provisions of Article 1.J after the Company informed Local leadership of their intent to lease several more aircraft. We will continue to work to ensure that future leases do not impact our flying and that all CBA procedures and protections of Article 1 (Scope) are applied.
Contrary to its legal obligations under the Railway Labor Act to maintain the "status quo" while negotiations continue for a new agreement, the Company again implemented a premium pay rate scheme to encourage pilots to pick up more open time flying on days off. The Company claims it has implemented overtime premiums in the past, but that was isolated instance in 2007 -- before the expiration of our contract and before the parties entered mediation.
Although the Company claimed that their “management team remains committed to doing everything possible to protect the careers of our pilot group,” yet it has stated to the Union that they are not willing to negotiate any further on Article 1 (Scope)-- the one article that has the most significant effect on the careers of our members.
The Local held a rally outside the Republic Airways annual shareholders meeting in Indianapolis on June 9th. More info here.
The Negotiating Committee (NC) met with the Teamsters Airline Division (ALD) and multiple IBT departments at the IBT's headquarters in Washington, D.C. The ALD provided this pilot group access to all available ALD resources.
RJET shares fell over 55% at one point on July 27 due to the Company's announcement that it rescinded all previously issued financial and operational guidance, retained NY-based Seabury Group to evaluate the future, and would approach code-share partners to reduce flying into 2016 due to a shortage of pilots and a failure to reach a tentative agreement with the IBT. The stock recovered approximately half of the loss the next day.
On August 20, Republic Airways Holdings presented their "Last, Best and Final Offer" to the Local. In addition, the Company bypassed normal protocol and released the information directly to pilots and the public. Days later, the Company warned that they may have to seek bankruptcy protection if its latest labor proposal fails. The Executive Board determined not to put the offer to the pilots for a vote and developed a counter-proposal should the Company agree to return to the bargaining table.
In a letter dated September 1, IBT General President James P. Hoffa stated that he would not overturn the EBoard's decision regarding the vote. In a press release on Sept. 2, the Local restated that it was willing and ready to resume negotiations with RAH to complete a consensual agreement as soon as possible. On Wednesday, September 9, the National Mediation Board asked both the Union and the Company to attend a September 16th session in Washington. The Company and the Union met again with the NMB on Sept. 24 in Chicago.
On September 28, the Local and the Company announced that a Tentative Agreement was reached. (press release)
Results of the ratification vote were announced on October 27. 1363 For | 421 Against. 90% Turnout. (press release)
Republic Airways Holdings filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. (https://cases.primeclerk.com/rjet/)