In support of a motion by Frontier Airlines pilots to strike if negotiations break down, the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) executive board has approved a $2 million grant.
The grant is specifically designed to aid strike preparedness and is being pulled from the association’s Major Contingency Fund–a $46 million trove meant to take the pressure off pilots in the midst of hard talks. Frontier is currently in the crosshairs as it negotiates with its more than 1,100 pilots, who are currently the lowest-paid for their aircraft type in North America. Those negotiations have been ongoing since March 2016, though, and even though federal mediation has taken over, there are no mediation sessions scheduled after November 2017.
“We are putting Frontier management and ownership on notice—the days of looting our airline are over,” Tracy Smith, chairman of ALPA’s Frontier pilot group, said. “With this new funding, we will not be outspent by the Company should they force us into a lawful strike. We would much rather have a new contract than a strike, but the pilots at Frontier demand a market-rate agreement.”
Frontier pilots’ existing contract was agreed upon more than a decade ago. With the real threat of stalled negotiations, 100 percent of Frontier pilots voted last month to empower their leaders with the ability to call a strike. This will depend on whether the federal government actually allows the strike or management lockout to happen.
The ALPA grant money can be used for a number of things during a strike: rent, supplies, communications, advertising, and even family awareness programs.