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Thu, Apr 26, 2018

Flexjet Calls Netjets Pilot Union Statement Self-Serving And Inappropriate

Says It Is Not The First Interference From Pilot Union Representing Flexjet’s Competitor

Fractional jet company Flexjet has dismissed as self-serving a NetJets pilot union press statement criticizing Flexjet’s interaction with its pilots. An April 13 news release is the first volley from the NetJets pilot union in their attempt to disrupt the momentum of Flexjet pilots’ effort to decertify its representation by the International Brotherhood Teamsters 1108. Oddly, the statement that attacks the Company and supports the Teamsters fails to mention that just a few days ago, more than half of Flexjet’s pilots called for a vote to decertify the Teamsters as its union representative. The vote is scheduled to begin May 2, 2018.

The NetJets pilot union has gone so far as to create a working group and engage in a public relations effort to attempt to stop the decertification. “We find it both ironic and inappropriate for the NetJets pilot union to involve themselves, yet again, in the labor interactions between this Company and its employees,” said Flexjet Chief Executive Officer Michael Silvestro. “And it is puzzling that pilots working for our competition want to preserve a union that they themselves decertified in 2008.”

This isn’t the first time the Columbus-based pilot union tried to interfere with Flexjet’s pilots and their decision-making around union representation. In the run up to the 2015 election, the NetJets pilot union invaded the personal privacy of Flexjet pilots with a letter campaign supporting the Teamsters.

The news release fails to mention that the Teamsters Local 1108 union was elected by a narrow percent of the pilots who voted in the 2015 election caused by the merger of Flexjet and Flight Options. It also fails to mention that the advent of the Red Label Program at Flexjet has been problematic for the NetJets pilot union as well as NetJets. Flexjet Red Label pilots enjoy wages that exceed that of their NetJets unionized peers by as much as 25%. The unique Red Label program, which gives customers a dedicated crew for each aircraft, has experienced unprecedented growth with a capture rate of over 80% coming from customers exiting NetJets – a direct threat to NetJets unionized pilots.

The NetJets pilot union could benefit from a reminder that the Railway Labor Act gives employees the “right to organize and bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.” The NetJets pilot union was formed when those pilots chose to represent themselves instead of allowing the Teamsters Local 1108 to do so. Why then, are they so committed to encouraging Flexjet pilots keep representation by the same Local they fired? It appears as if they are more concerned with arresting Flexjet's business growth than the best interests of the Flexjet pilots or their constitutional right to choose.

“Since the last election the company has heard over and over from the Flexjet pilots who say the union has continually over-promised and under-delivered,” said Silvestro. “Now, the IBT Local 1108 (with NJASAP in tow) is using scare tactic messaging in an attempt to subvert the will of the Flexjet pilot group. Flexjet gives no credence to the arguments tossed up by NetJets pilots’ union because it is a thinly veiled attempt to interfere with our Company’s innovation and collude with the Teamsters.”

The Company has complete confidence that Flexjet pilots will make the best decision for the Company’s collective future as they consider a move back to a direct relationship with the Company.

(Source: Flexjet news release. Image from file)

FMI: www.flexjet.com

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