An ongoing labor dispute between Spirit Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) which is representing Spirit Airlines’ pilots, has resulted in the cancelation of over 300 flights since the beginning of May, with 81 alone cancelled last Sunday. Security had to wrestle with unruly passengers at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after flight cancelations, leading to at least three arrests.
On Monday of this week Spirit Airlines filed a federal lawsuit against ALPA in the South District of Florida, alleging that the pilots are engaging in a “pervasive illegal work slowdown” and doing “irreparable harm to [Spirit’s] goodwill with its customers.” According to the lawsuit: “This slowdown is in direct violation of the [Railway Labor Act], which prohibits work slowdowns and strikes during collective bargaining negotiations, as expressly recognized by a series of court decisions, including by this Circuit in Delta Air Lines v. Air Line Pilots Association, International.”
Reflecting on the disruption and arrests of passengers at the airport subsequent to flight cancelations, a statement from the carrier said that: “This is a result of unlawful labor activity by some Spirit pilots designed to disrupt Spirit operations for our customers, by canceling multiple flights across our network,” Berry said. “These pilots have put their quest for a new contract ahead of getting customers to their destinations and the safety of their fellow Spirit Team Members.”
In response, Capt. Stuart Morrison, chairman of the Spirit Airlines unit of ALPA said that the pilots would not work for “substandard” contracts, adding that: “Spirit pilots are not prepared to embark on the fool’s errand of accepting substandard pay and retirement based on the unenforceable hypothesis that the Company may grow more quickly,” Morrison said in a statement. “Our ‘peers’ throughout the industry have uniformly and properly rejected agreements based on that theory.”
As a result of the current labor disputes Spirit is presently the airline with the most cancelations worldwide.
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