Accusations Of Bad Faith Bargaining Still Under Review
operator PHI released a statement Thursday regarding the
hearing conducted January 11, in the US District Court for the
Western District of Louisiana. The statement's
wording implies the union's unconditional offer to return
to work may not have been so unconditional.
It read, in part, the Office and Professional Employees
International Union (OPEIU), the body representing the union pilots
who struck PHI last September, sought injunctive relief from
the court because of "PHI’s
handling of the return to work of striking pilots following
OPEIU’s purported 'unconditional'
offer to end its strike."
PHI says it reached an agreement with OPEIU in court on a
return-to-work process for the approximately sixty pilots still
awaiting reinstatement. It described a phased-in process to bring
pilots back by groups, and then by aircraft type as determined by
PHI, and then by seniority. The company says the process is
consistent with the methodology it's used to reinstate union pilots
who broke the strike and offered to return to work
The agreement sets January 29, 2007 as the start date for PHI to
begin reinstatement of the remaining pilots. The company's
statement says pilots can expect to be back at work by April
29, 2007, although PHI warns processing of those requiring flight
simulator training at third-party training facilities may extend
According to the release, other issues surrounding PHI’s
allegations the union engaged in bad faith bargaining, as well as
the union's counterclaims, remain outstanding and are to be
addressed by the same court.
The company claims it's seen greater success in hiring new
pilots since it instituted a wage increase following failed
negotiations with the union. It also says "a substantial number" of
pilots broke the strike and returned to work voluntarily.
PHI claims it suspended new pilot hiring on November 10, 2006,
when the union ended the strike with an unconditional offer to
return to work. It says it's resumed new-pilot hiring, while also
processing union pilots awaiting reinstatement, to account for new
aircraft added to its fleet.
The company's statement read, in part, "Although the last
several months have been difficult, our customers have been very
supportive throughout this process. Additionally, it has been the
dedication of PHI’s flight crews, maintenance crews, and
support staff that enabled us to maintain high safety standards and
customer service throughout these difficult months. They have
demonstrated an attitude and work ethic that we will preserve going
forward in all aspects of our safety and service goals."
PHI says that although its financial statements have not yet
been audited, it estimates a 2006 fourth-quarter loss in the range
of $0.32 to $0.36 per share on a fully diluted basis because of the
strike and weather.