Machinists Union Contract Will Remain In Effect After Spirit / Frontier Merger

Machinists Union Contract Will Remain In Effect After Spirit / Frontier Merger

8 February 2022

Machinists Union Contract Will Remain In Effect After Spirit / Frontier Merger

As you are aware, Spirit Airlines has entered into a merger agreement with Frontier Airlines. First and foremost, I want you to know that our newly-ratified contract with Spirit remains in full force, including essential provisions that protect ramp workers’ jobs, seniority, and wages, among other vital protections, during a merger. 

Article One (Section G) of the Agreement between your union and Spirit Airlines contains Merger Protections that will specifically protect the seniority rights of union members. Our contract requires that any seniority integrations with non-union employees at Frontier be fair and that all union rights be respected. Additionally, Article Three (Section I) states very clearly, “The Company shall not outsource any Ramp Service work at its FLL station during the term of this Agreement.” 

Undergoing a merger can be stressful for non-union employees who lack the protection of a legally-binding union contract. However, I want to reassure all union members that our agreement will remain legally binding for the new company. I encourage everyone to study these contractual rights and how well they protect union members at Spirit. Machinists Union Members can find the Spirit Agreement online at IAM141.org. Look for the Spirit Contract under the “Airlines and Agreements” tab. 

Over the next few weeks, we will be working with Spirit to ensure that the rights of Machinists Union members are respected and that every provision of our collective bargaining agreement is honored. If you have any questions or concerns about this topic, please do not hesitate to contact Assistant General Chair Tony Gibson by email at tgibson@IAM141.org or by phone at (313) 815-9622.

In Solidarity,

Michael G. Klemm

President & Directing General Chair,
IAMAW District 141

Recording Secretaries: Please print and post on all IAMAW bulletin boards.

98% At Spirit Vote YES on New Contract!

98% At Spirit Vote YES on New Contract!

98% At Spirit Vote YES on New Contract!

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Following nearly seven months of concentrated negotiations, union members at Spirit Airlines voted to approve a five-year contract with the airline by an astonishing 98% margin. 

The agreement will include retroactive pay raises, overall compensation hikes, and create new, higher-earning positions for union members to fill. The new deal will also give paid vacations to part-time workers for the first time. Previously, part-time agents at Spirit were only given unpaid time off instead of vacation time. 

The higher wages will bring Spirit ramp workers significantly closer to industry-standard income levels, a long-standing goal for union members at the airline. As the largest transportation and aerospace union in North America, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) has played a leading role in establishing wage standards for gate and ticket counter agents in commercial aviation. Contracts negotiated by Machinists-represented airline workers at airlines like American, United, Hawaiian, Southwest, and others have created upwards pressure on airlines to pay their employees well. 

Images courtesy of Tim Nestler

The new Spirit Agreement creates the most significant pay increases for ground workers in the airline’s history. The average wage increase is about 30% and includes retroactive payments dating back to October 24. Before the new contract was ratified by union members at Spirit, the top wage was $15.15 an hour. The highest pay bracket will now increase to $23 an hour, and over the life of the agreement will rise to $24.78.

The new contract will also provide part-time agents with sick pay and doubles the time union members can remain on sick leave and retain their seniority. 

For Lead Negotiator Tony Gibson, the deal represents a victory not only for what it wins – but also for what it doesn’t lose. “We’re coming out of a pandemic right now, the same pandemic that crippled airlines for nearly a year,” Gibson said. “And, despite all that, our members at Spirit didn’t give up anything. This contract will make the Spirit workplace better – and only better. There are no concessions in this agreement.”

The agreement comes just weeks after company negotiators at Spirit had asked that talks enter mediation, a process that could have pulled the brakes on finding a deal before the holidays. Fortunately, the company and union reached a tentative agreement only two weeks later, avoiding time-consuming mediation.

Our members can stand proud in the work of the committee, which held strong for improving the economic provisions that sets a tone of respect on the job and compensation to match” said IAMAW Chief of Staff Richard Johnsen of the agreement. “This proposal is the result of our strong negotiations team and it will help improve the livelihood of each and every member at Spirit Airlines.”

“The negotiating committee held strong with our demands for improved wages and other demands voiced by our members,” Airline Coordinator Tom Regan said. “These hard-working men and women have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. This proposed labor contract rewards that dedication by each and every member who has made sure all Spirit Airlines’ passengers get to their destination safely.”

“I want to thank our IAM Negotiating Committee at Spirit for the outstanding work they’ve accomplished with this agreement. I particularly want to recognize the contributions of Local 368 members Almarie Jean, Linda Germain, Christopher Willis, and Gregory De La Cruz, who helped put this deal together,” said District 141 President and Directing General Chair Mike Klemm. “Along with District 141 Assistant General Chairs Andrea’ Myers, and Lead Negotiator Tony Gibson, this team spent countless hours away from loved ones to create a better workplace for our Spirit membership.”

Below – the IAMAW District 141 Spirit Negotiating Committee. Bottom row, from right: Almarie Jean, Linda Germain, AGC Andrea’ Myers, Chris Willis. Top row, from right: AGC & Lead Negotiator Tony Gibson, Gregory De La Cruz, and IAMAW District 141 President and Directing General Chair, Mike Klemm.

Recent Articles

Tentative Agreement Reached at Spirit Airlines

Tentative Agreement Reached at Spirit Airlines

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Machinists Union District 141 Reaches Tentative Agreement With Spirit Airlines on New Five Year Pact 

I am proud to announce that Machinists Union District 141 has reached a Tentative Agreement with Spirit Airlines on a truly groundbreaking new five-year contract.

This Agreement will create the highest wages and overall compensation rates for ramp agents in the airline’s history. Our members will receive wage increases that are, on average, 30% higher than they are now. Lead premium increases, more opportunities for double-time pay, and new trainer positions will allow our members to earn even more from the work they currently do.

If ratified, this deal will also bring paid vacations to part-time agents. For some, this will be the first real vacation they have ever known.

I want to thank our IAM Negotiating Committee at Spirit for the outstanding work they’ve accomplished with this Agreement. I particularly want to recognize the contributions of Local 368 members Almarie Jean, Linda Germain, Christopher Willis, and Gregory De La Cruz, who helped put this deal together. Along with District 141 Assistant General Chairs Andrea’ Myers, and Lead Negotiator Tony Gibson, this team spent countless hours away from loved ones to create a better workplace for our Spirit membership.

I’d also like to thank the International, Spirit Airlines’ negotiators, and the National Mediation Board for their vital assistance in finalizing this Tentative Agreement.

The Spirit Airlines management team was respectful to our negotiators, and I believe they were honestly working in a good-faith effort to create this Agreement. The Spirit team recognized that workers are an asset to be invested in, not a liability to be minimized, and they deserve credit for that.

The Negotiating Committee unanimously recommends ratification of the Tentative Agreement. Complete text copies of the Tentative Agreement will be distributed locally before the ratification vote on November 4, 2021.

In solidarity,

Mike Klemm

President and Directing General Chair,
IAMAW District 141

Recording Secretaries: Please print and post on all IAMAW bulletin boards.

141 Report: Paws for Pascarella

141 Report: Paws for Pascarella

Our 141 report this week takes us to IAM local lodge 1759 in Herndon, Virginia, as the membership conducted the annual Paws for Pascarella Guide Dogs of America charity event.

 

141 Report: Paws for Pascarella

Our 141 report this week takes us to IAM local lodge 1759 in Herndon, Virginia, as the membership conducted the annual Paws for Pascarella Guide Dogs of America charity event.

The video report begins with an update from District President Mike Klemm, who traveled to Dulles Airport to conduct a station visit with the United Airlines membership. In the Video podcast, Brother Klemm informs the membership about this week’s trip to the United Airlines hub at Dulles Airport and Local 1759.  

 On Tuesday, Mike attended the monthly Lodge meeting and spoke to the members about the vaccine mandates at American and United Airlines. He also talked about the status of the ongoing negotiations at Spirit Airlines. Spirit has recently entered mediation proceedings.

Mike said, “We’ll be working with the mediation board to hopefully get a tentative agreement for our members of Spirit to vote on.” Brother Klemm also talked about the upcoming negotiation with United Airlines. Mike stated, “We should be seeing a communication coming out on that in the very near future.” 

Mike continues the report by saying he went over to the airport to visit multiple shifts and multiple briefings for members at United. He answered questions about the mandate and vaccine, as well as responding to questions about negotiations. Mike said it was “a real good visit.” Mike walked the property with 141 VP at East Barb Martin, who also serves as the committee chairman in Dulles, Mike Cyscon, the AGC assigned to the ramp, and Rich Creighton, who serves as AGC to customer service above the wing. Joe Washburn, the southeast regional EAP, also joined Mike on the visit. Brother Klemm thanked the local committee, Bill Hoover, Bill Peer, Sherry Curtis, President Bill Huston, and his entire 1759 executive board for their hospitality. 

Mike then talked about the fundraising event for guide dogs that he attended. The 1759 Charity event was In honor of his former AGC, Rich Pascarella, who unfortunately passed away a few years ago. “Rich not only was a phenomenal union rep and an outstanding AGC but also a personal friend of mine and it’s actually his birthday today.” Mike said of the beloved unionist.

The following guest speaker was Sherrie Curtis from local 1759, the UA Customer Service Committee person at Dulles Airport. “We’re here tonight celebrating our second annual event for Rich Pascarella.” The Charity Top Golf event took place in Loudoun County, having about 60 people that showed up to celebrate and raise funds for Guide Dogs of America. IAM members came from Boston, Newark, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Sherrie reports that Rich Passcarella families came to town driving in from Pittsburgh to celebrate a good time with us. 

Donations came rolling in from Locals 914 in Newark and 1776 in Philadelphia, donating $500 each to sponsor a golfing bay to support GDA. 

In the last part of the report, Dave talks to 1759 UA member Ron Rukenbrod who describes how he and his committee put the event together. He spoke of getting donations from local stores, wineries, and brewhouses for many charity baskets they put together. Ron said, “If you send out 100 letters and you only get 20 people to donate, you’re still 20 people ahead. So it’s always good to just overextend. Ron speaks about the support from the 141 Community Service Director, Cristina Odoardi, saying, “she’s been wonderful reaching out to us; what can I do? What can I do? We’ve been very fortunate”. 

If your local is interested in putting a community service event together, be sure to contact Sister Cristina at codoardi@iam141.org.

WATCH: Passengers Delay Evacuation to Collect Personal Items From Overhead Bins

WATCH: Passengers Delay Evacuation to Collect Personal Items From Overhead Bins

Don’t be these people. Panicking passengers evacuating a Spirit Airlines flight are seen ignoring instructions from flight crews during what appeared to be a fairly minor (if alarming) emergency. Some of the passengers evacuating after an engine fire took time to get their belongings from overhead bins, refused to remain seated and tried to give commands to trained flight crews.

WATCH: Passengers Delay Evacuation to Collect Personal Items From Overhead Bins

Passengers on a Spirit Airlines flight leaving Atlantic City in New Jersey were evacuated after a sudden engine fire broke out seconds before the plane was to lift off the runway. No injuries were reported, and all 109 passengers and crew were evacuated, although with disturbing safety failures.

The incident happened Saturday as Spirit flight 3044 was preparing to leave for Fort Lauderdale, Fl. According to the airline, “what is believed to be a large bird” was sucked into the engine just as the plane was about to leave the ground, forcing pilots to abort the takeoff. Cellphone video of the scare has gone viral. 

“The captain braked safely, received an indication of damage to the engine, and ordered an evacuation in accordance with our standard procedures,” read a statement from a Spirit spokesperson. “All Guests and Team Members evacuated the aircraft and were bussed back to the terminal.” The passengers were given full refunds for the flight, which was canceled, and vouchers for future flights. 

The FAA is currently investigating the incident. 

Safety Advocates with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers who reviewed passenger videos of the evacuation found several disturbing failures took place. Chief among them were passengers who slowed the evacuation of the flaming aircraft to collect belongings from the overhead bins – thus trapping everyone on the plane behind them. 

Pilots could not return the plane to the gate until firefighters had extinguished the engine. This forced the flight crew to evacuate passengers on the tarmac using inflatable slides deployed from either side of the aircraft. In the video, flight attendants can be heard clearly and repeatedly calling for passengers to remain seated, only to be ignored almost entirely. However, according to IAMAW District Safety Director Erik Stenberg, what many passengers did next was potentially much worse. Some passengers actively delayed the evacuation to collect their luggage and personal belongings from the overhead bins. 

“We work with Flight Training and Emergency Procedures Instructors regularly,” said Stenberg. “Crews and instructors practice using these slides. Some people have suffered broken bones going down these slides with nothing at all in their hands,” he said. “And, these were not even real emergencies. These were simulations where everyone was thinking clearly and were calmly following standard operating procedures.” 

“So, even if you get your luggage, you can’t safely get down those slides with it.” 

This behavior slowed down the evacuation, Stenberg said. “The fire itself wasn’t much of a risk by that point,” he said. “Fire crews were already activated, and the flight was on the ground.” According to Stenberg, who has been involved in union-side safety programs for decades, the real risk to passengers came from other passengers ignoring flight crew instructions. In fact, notes Stenberg, “it looked like some people were panicking and trying to take control over the evacuations themselves and away from trained flight crews. They were trying to give the flight attendants commands instead of following instructions.” 

While he noted that flight attendants could have gained more control of the situation, Stenberg said that the incident offered many lessons for passengers. Principally, the importance of carefully listening to (and following) pre-flight safety instructions. “I know we all like to ignore the flight attendants when they tell us what we should be doing in an emergency,” he says. “But, we should pay more attention. This incident is a perfect example of what happens if we’re unprepared.”

“The time to react to an emergency is before it happens,” Stenberg said.

Spirit Airlines Negotiations Update

Spirit Airlines Negotiations Update

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Spirit Airlines Negotiations Update


September 29, 2021

 Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

As you are aware, Spirit Airlines has advised you of their request for Meditation Services. We are disappointed that the airline has decided to take this position. The IAM and your negotiating team have been working hard on your behalf and were approaching the compensation portion of the negotiations. As the Company stated in their communication, there exist only a few remaining areas of disagreement, making the decision by the company all the more frustrating. 

Rest assured that, even in meditation, the IAM will continue to seek industry-standard compensation for its members at Spirit Airlines. Any compensation offer falling below acceptable industry standards is an insult to our members and obviously unacceptable. Your continued support is needed now more than ever. We look forward to the response of the National Mediation Board, and we will respond accordingly. Your negotiating team will continue to keep you updated. 

Fraternally, your IAM District 141 negotiating team: 

Michael G. Klemm

Tony F. Gibson 

Gregory De La Cruz

Almarie Jean

Linda Germain

Christopher Willis 

 

Recording Secretaries: Please print and post on all IAMAW bulletin boards.