TAMPA – Spirit Airlines pilots on Monday said they are ready to strike and demonstrated outside the airline’s Miramar headquarters in the latest round of a labor battle that’s been ongoing for three and a half years.
“Spirit is currently in negotiations with its pilots and is committed to reaching an agreement that is fair for its pilots who do a great job for the company,” Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson said this morning.
The airline serves three destinations from Tampa International Airport: Atlantic City, Detroit and Fort Lauderdale.
The pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International, concluded mediated talks with the company on Feb. 18.
The pilots contend Spirit is seeking a five-year contract with $31 million in concessions, along with work rule changes that would allow Spirit to furlough more than 54 pilots.
They said Spirit has been profitable for four consecutive quarters and enjoys low costs.
“Even in harsh dictatorships, they give you a blindfold and a cigarette before the hanging,” said Sean Creed, a spokesman for the Spirit pilots. “In this operation, they want you to put the noose around your own neck and pull the trap door open yourself — which is exactly what we would be doing if we were to agree to these demands.”