Accuse Management Of Negotiating In Bad Faith With Workers
Last week, Frontier Airlines announced it would cut
employee pay by 10 percent, as that carrier struggles through
Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The
airline said it's only temporary... and workers will see their pay
restored in October.
Or will they? The Denver Business Journal reports Frontier has
also worked to renegotiate pay agreements with both union and
non-union employees, looking for ways to trim employee costs,
allowed under the rules of Chapter 11. Things seemed to be going
smoothly with that plan... until the Teamsters caught wind Tuesday
of severance packages sought after by the carrier's executive
And then, as they say, the wheels came off the wagon.
"We negotiated in good faith with Frontier management even
though they already have the lowest labor costs of all low-cost
carriers," said Matthew Fazakas, president of Teamsters Local 961.
"They continually moved the goal posts for a deal. But we met every
savings demand they made. Now we learn they had a secret plan to
give themselves golden parachutes while workers get nothing.
"Golden parachutes for management are a deal breaker," Fazakas
Those gilded parachutes amount to six-months pay for all top
executives at Frontier, according to the union, should the airline
go under. Conversely, workers would receive "little to nothing" if
Frontier is grounded.
"We're outraged by this secret plan for a golden parachute,"
Fazakas said. "They concealed this plan from us throughout
bargaining. They want us to have confidence in their plan to emerge
from bankruptcy, but obviously they have no confidence in it
Frontier officials haven't commented on the accusations, though
spokesman Steve Snyder pointed out executives have already taken a
20 percent pay cut of their own, in hopes of making the airline
more attractive to outside investors.
"We're in the process of trying to get financing. We have to
show potential investors ... that we're doing everything possible
for the long-term viability of the company," Snyder said. "I think
you're going to have some people grumpy about it, but I think
people recognize what the situation is."
Most of Frontier's workforce is non-union. Pilots, mechanics,
aircraft cleaners, and dispatchers are Frontier's only unionized
employees, according to the airline, with the Teamsters
representing about 425 workers out of 6,140.