The Denver Post reports that Frontier’s pilots are going to present a united front in their negotiations with the airline.
That’s not hyperbole.
The Air Line Pilots Association union said that 100% of eligible pilots voted in favor of a work stoppage if they cannot reach a collective bargaining agreement with Frontier.
The sides have been trying to come to an agreement since March 2016. A mediator became involved last October.
Last week, the arbiter in a different negotiation between the airline and its pilots ruled that Frontier had acted in bad faith. In 2011, the airline had promised wage increases to its pilots once the airline attained certain profit margins. The airline has yet to deliver on that promise.
The strike vote was called shortly after the arbiter’s ruling.
Capt. Tracy Smith, chair of the Air Line Pilots Association’s Frontier unit, said, “We’re the lowest-paid Airbus pilots in North America, but that pitiful status is definitely going to change.”
However, the airline said that there would be no strike while negotiations are ongoing.
Airline spokesman Richard Oliver said in an email, “Frontier remains committed to reaching an agreement that is fair for both our pilots and the company.”
The National Mediation Board is overseeing the negotiations. Should its members decide the two parties are at an unproductive impasse, the board would offer to arbitrate. If either Frontier or the pilots declined arbitration, then the door would be open for a strike or a lockout.
According to data gathered by the union, Frontier’s salary for first-year first officers is one of the lowest in the U.S. at $39,110. Even lesser-known competitors in the ultra low-cost carrier market, like SkyWest and GoJet, pay better.
Capt. Alan Christie, the PR representative for the pilots, said the pilots gave up approximately $53 million in salaries and benefits in 2011 to save Frontier from bankruptcy.
“We have earned a new contact and this strike vote shows that we are unified and committed to getting the deal that we earned,” Christie said.