MILWAUKEE, WI (September 23, 2008) – Midwest pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), today filed a grievance challenging the company’s decision to sub-contract Midwest Airlines’ flying to Republic Airways. Under the services agreement with Republic Airways Holdings beginning October 1, all but nine of the airline’s Boeing-717 aircraft will be replaced with Embraer 170 jets. Further, Midwest pilots will be replaced with Republic pilots to fly those aircraft, resulting in well over a hundred additional Midwest pilots losing their jobs.
ALPA is asking a neutral arbitrator to issue a cease-and-desist order against the outsourcing of Midwest pilots’ jobs. It also asks management to compensate the furloughed and downgraded Midwest pilots affected by the company’s actions. Under the pilots’ contract, the dispute will be heard by an arbitrator no later than thirty days from today’s filing (subject to the arbitrator’s availability), and shall be decided no later than thirty days following the close of the formal hearing.
“We will not stand idly by as Midwest management flagrantly violates the Midwest pilots’ contract,” said Capt. John Prater, president of ALPA. “We will utilize every legal means to hold this management accountable for its contractual obligations to the Midwest pilots.”
When the deal with Republic was announced earlier this month, management said that Midwest pilots might operate the EMB 170s in the future on the condition that the pilots acquiesce to significant economic demands before management would be willing to petition the FAA to permit Midwest to add the Embraer fleet to its operating certificate.
The Midwest pilots’ contract became amendable on August 31, 2008, and they have attempted to begin the negotiations process with management. “Midwest pilots have waited eight-and-a-half years to address our contractual concerns and needs through the negotiations process. If management truly intended to negotiate with us in good faith, it should have brought the proposal to operate Embraer aircraft to the bargaining table,” said Capt. Jay Schnedorf, chairman of the Midwest pilots’ Master Executive Council (MEC). “Instead, management is holding our jobs hostage in exchange for outrageous and unfair concessions.”