Details on Southwest, Frontier pilot negotiations

Posted on 26. Aug, 2009 by in Airlines, Blog

SWAPA released details of their negotiations with Frontiers pilot union FAPA; they are listed below:

Fellow SWAPA pilots,

We are very disappointed the FAPA pilots decided to turn down our SLI offer, and equally as disappointed in the Company’s loss in the auction process. It appears that in addition to the labor clause, Republic significantly increased their monetary offer, causing Frontier to go with Republic. Our attorneys in Washington D.C. describe a bankruptcy auction like a “Turkish Rug Bizarre” and there were many mitigating factors which influenced the final decision. Certainly Republic’s notable increase in their monetary offer had significant weight on the final decision.

To outline our last offer to the FAPA pilots, we had offered the following:
1. Adding FAPA pilots to the bottom of our Master Seniority List
2. Snap up to the greater of pre-concessionary FAPA pay rates (10% increase) or SWAPA F/O pay rates
3. Indexing pay raises to our Section 6 increases through the fence period
4. Denver Domicile protections for 3 years after the fence agreement

Their counter offer was essentially numbers 2 through 4 plus relative seniority (top to bottom of our list) less a factor of ‘X’ which they never defined – plus the following:
1. 100% Denver Domicile protection forever
2. $3000/month furlough pay for all of their furloughees forever
3. Health benefits for all furloughees forever (SWAPA values a family of four cobra rate at $1,000/month)

They made no concessions from their offer.

Considering the looming Company-induced deadline of midnight and the vast differences in offers, very little movement was made on either side. Without more time, our differences were just too vast. Our assessment of their offer was essentially “You want all your seniority at our pay rates and benefits.” This wouldn’t be a win for our pilot group. As such, we left our last offer on the table. At the 11th hour, the Company told us that they would go ahead with the auction and leave the labor contingency in place.
They weren’t confident of their success at the auction considering the “negative value” the labor contingency was causing at the legal level, but SWA was committed to our pilots’ best interests.

SWAPA did not hear from FAPA at all on Thursday except that they acknowledged some of our communication we forwarded to them. SWAPA made multiple attempts to contact FAPA on Thursday, but FAPA did not return messages or make any further attempt to bargain. Thursday night, the bid was awarded to Republic.

Obviously this is the point of view from SWAPA only. I invite any FAPA member to post theirs. I still can’t stop wondering what FAPA was thinking. Republic just finished virtually destroying Midwest Airline. All of their mainline jets are gone and the entire airline has been outsourced. THAT ALONE would have been my first clue. I hope they fare better, I’m afraid they won’t.

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