Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) is facing a possible strike by its pilots in approximately one month. The pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International Branch (ALPA) has triggered the start of a 30-day cooling-off period—which could result in a strike in the near future if no agreement is reached—by rejecting the National Mediation Board’s (NMB) proffer of arbitration on Wednesday, May 5. The union now awaits the NMB’s notification of the day on which the 30-day clock starts and the date for a possible strike.
According to the union, the pilots have been in contract negotiations for more than three years, with little or no progress made during this time. In April 2009, 98 percent of the pilots voted to give their leadership the power to call a strike should negotiations continue to stall. During contract talks, the company repeatedly demanded unwarranted concessions, requesting that the pilots take substantial cuts in benefits and work rule protection.
On April 6 and 7, the National Mediation Board (NMB) met with pilot leaders and management representatives in an effort to work out an agreement.