Frontier pilots vote unanimously to strike

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Frontier Airlines pilots voted unanimously last week to strike if contract talks do not result in a new collective bargaining agreement.

The pilots are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA).

A strike happens when the National Mediation Board decides mediation efforts have reached an impasse and offers to arbitrate the dispute. If one or both sides decline, a 30-day cooling off period will begin. During this time, a company lockout could occur and the pilots can strike.

“This vote shows the deep anger our pilots feel toward the direction set by our management,” Capt. Tracy Smith, chairman of the ALPA unit at Frontier Airlines, said. “We’re the lowest-paid Airbus pilots in North America, but that pitiful status is definitely going to change.”

Contract talks began in March 2016, and the National Mediation Board became involved last October.

A neutral arbitrator found Frontier guilty of bad-faith bargaining earlier this month. Frontier’s profit margins exceeded the minimums set to trigger negotiations for salary increases. The airline, however, has refused to consider a salary increase. Instead, the airline paid $273 million in dividends and bonuses to its private shareholders and management in 2016 and 2017.

Frontier has been one of the nation’s most profitable airlines since 2015, Smith said.