Spirit Airlines Strike Settled, Pilots Return to Work
Spirit Airlines is back in the air on Thursday after pilots made a deal to end a five-day strike that started on Saturday.
Beginning at 4 p.m. eastern time today, Spirit will begin operating about 20 flights. The airline announced it will return to full service by Friday.
The resumption of services comes after a tentative agreement was made with Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA), the union that represents Spirit pilots, on Wednesday afternoon.
ALPA had been at the negotiating table for nearly four years before a strike started early Saturday. The pilots had argued that Spirit’s management was paying them below-market rates when compared to competitors like JetBlue, Frontier, AirTran and Southwest.
The pilot’s alleged that they continues to be underpaid despite the company being profitable for the last six reported quarters and expanding the company’s routes.
In negotiations earlier this month, Spirit offered to pay a compounded average 29 percent pay increase, which would total a 47 percent increase in annual compensation over five years, when combined with annual step increases. That increase does not include a $3,000 signing bonus and 401(k) matching plans.
The strike forced the Miramar, Florida-based air carrier to cancel all of its flights through Wednesday, leaving thousands of travelers stranded. The airline offered passengers credit toward the price of their unused ticket and a $100 future flight credit
Though the specifics of the tentative agreement between Spirit management and pilots are still unknown, union representatives say that the agreement moves them closer to the goals established for their pilot group. The agreement still needs to be ratified by Spirit pilots before it can be finalized.
By Adriana Padilla for PeterGreenberg.com.
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