DENVER, Colo.—On behalf of the Frontier Airlines pilots, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) launched its first-ever mobile strike center in Denver, Colo., today, the latest sign that the Frontier pilots are making preparations to strike as soon as they are legally allowed to do so.
The 37-foot converted recreational vehicle will serve as a command post for striking Frontier pilots if they are released from mediation and complete a 30-day cooling-off period. The Frontier pilots have asked the National Mediation Board (NMB) to declare a bargaining impasse and release them from mediation, saying that the airline will never come to terms with its pilots until it is facing a hard deadline to achieve a contract or face a strike.
“This mobile strike center tells the public in foot-tall letters that Frontier pilots are 100 percent ready to strike. We’re ready to walk as soon as the NMB lets us,” said Capt. Tracy Smith, who leads ALPA’s Frontier Airlines pilot group.
The mobile strike center is a movable office ALPA’s Strike Preparedness Committee will use to support strikers and picketing at any one of Frontier’s four pilot bases in Denver, Chicago, Orlando, or Las Vegas. The vehicle’s exterior has been wrapped with images of Frontier pilots and graphics that are consistent with the pilot group’s ongoing outreach efforts telling management to get serious about negotiating a market-rate contract for the airline’s approximately 1,200 pilots. In the event of a pilot strike, the vehicle would be used to help track the movement of Frontier’s aircraft, set up a call center to communicate with pilots, serve as a rallying place for strike teams, and be a storehouse for supplies like picket signs.
“In the meantime, we will be taking the ‘Strike Bus’ on the road to visit many of the cities we fly to nationwide. We want the public to hear our story and learn why the Frontier pilots have earned a market-rate contract,” Smith said.
Frontier is the last major U.S. airline whose pilots still work under a bankruptcy-era contract. Frontier pilots are the lowest-paid major airline pilots in North America, earning an average of 40 percent less than their peers.
The last U.S. pilot strike took place in June 2010, when Spirit Airlines pilots walked the line for five days, stranding thousands of passengers and disrupting untold vacations. At the time, Indigo Partners—the same equity firm that now owns Frontier—owned Spirit Airlines.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents more than 60,000 pilots at 34 airlines in the United States and Canada, including the more than 1,200 Frontier pilots. Visit the ALPA website at alpa.org or follow the Frontier pilots on Twitter @F9ALPA and Facebook @FrontierPilots. More information about the Frontier pilots’ fight for a contract is available at frontierbadbargain.com.