Wed, Mar 14, 2012
National Mediation Board Asked To Define Negotiations' End Date
Flight Attendants for Spirit Airlines have officially requested a process that would encourage reaching an agreement or a strike deadline. On Friday, AFA asked the National Mediation Board (NMB) to declare that negotiations are at an impasse and requested a proffer of arbitration. This step is required prior to setting a 30-day cooling-off period, the time during which intense negotiations typically take place and lead to an agreement or a strike.
Prior to submitting the request for proffer, a group of Flight Attendants reportedly were denied entrance to company headquarters while attempting to deliver a petition to management. Through the petition, hundreds of Spirit Flight Attendants called on Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza to direct management's negotiators to engage in meaningful and productive discussions.
"It's long past time for management to take these negotiations seriously. We filed for mediation two years ago in order to speed up negotiations and get management's attention. Spirit Flight Attendants are prepared to reach a new, improved contract and we have had it with management games. Our work as first responders is valuable. We want an agreement that recognizes our contributions, and we are prepared to strike if that is what it takes to get this management focused on reaching an agreement," said Todd St. Pierre, Spirit AFA President.
In October, 98.4 percent of Spirit Flight Attendants voted to authorized a strike should management fail to negotiate a new contract. The NMB will now evaluate whether negotiations are deadlocked and then could make a proffer of arbitration, a step required by the Railway Labor Act prior to a 30-day "cooling off" period leading to a strike deadline. The strike deadline often encourages focused negotiations. AFA has a trademarked strike strategy known as CHAOS or Create Havoc Around Our System. With CHAOS, a strike could affect the entire system or a single flight. The union decides when, where and how to strike without notice to management or passengers.
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