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Teamsters May Send Republic Airways Crashing Into Bankruptcy

Republic Airways Pilots Picket
Indianpolis-based Republic Airways may be headed into bankruptcy thanks to the Teamsters union leadership refusing to allow the airline’s pilots to vote on the company’s “last, best and final” contract offer.

In a letter, International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James P. Hoffa told the pilots’ local union that the international “will not take the extraordinary step of ordering an election over the unanimous and emphatic objections of Local 357’s democratically elected local leadership.”

Management’s offer, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ), contains wage increases of up to 74% as well as a ratification bonus.

Under Republic’s latest contract offer, new first officers would receive a 74-percent pay increase, with a smaller raise for more senior aviators.”

The agreement also would give pilots a ratification bonus of $1,000 to $11,000 based on length of service, as well as another bonus on the one-year anniversary of ratification.

Republic pilots’ pay would move to or near the top of the regional airline industry under the contract, said Kit Darby, an aviation consultant in Atlanta.

However, the union leadership does not want members to vote on the contract because “Republic didn’t provide data to support pay proposals, modified contract language previously agreed to, and added wording that prevented some communications between the local and international unions and Republic’s pilots.”

“The lack of a new accord that would boost pay is contributing to a pilot shortage at Republic, which has forced the carrier to reduce regional flying for larger airlines,” reports the IBJ.

Republic has said its proposal would provide pay that would lead the regional airline industry and improve quality of life with work rule and benefit changes.

“Republic Airways Holdings shares were down nearly 20% Wednesday and have plummeted 84% this year as the labor standoff has intensified,” noted USA Today.

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