Pilots Urge New Contract In View Of Republic Shareholders

A protest outside an annual shareholders meeting Thursday urged Republic Airways brass to reconsider pilot contracts.

Republic Airways Jet

Photo: courtesy Christopher Ebdon

Republic shareholders are getting an eyeful of picketing pilots at their annual meeting.

Republic Airways pilots picketed outside the company‘s shareholder‘s meeting in Indianapolis Thursday. Union members held the informational picket to spur contract negotiations.   Pilot and union executive council member Michael Dee said pilots have been working under a contract that‘s been amendable since 2007 without any progress in negotiations.

“The airline industry and the company has gone through a lot of changes,” Dee said. “Republic has since bought Midwest Airlines, along with Frontier Airlines. They‘re no longer the airline they were back in 2007. 2007 we were a stepping stone, now we‘re a career airline.”

The pilot group said although Republic lost $22.4 million during the first quarter, the company‘s regional flying operations showed a profit of $17.6 million.   Republic Airways spokesman Peter Kowalchuk  said the company is willing to speak with the pilots group.

“Our position is and always has been and always will be that we discuss union issues with the union and anytime they want to discuss union issues with us we‘re open to listen and have conversation with them,” he said. “A picket line is not the place to do that, nor are channels other than direct conversations with our union representatives.”

Dee said pilots have held their first meetings with the national mediation board and hope to have a new contract by the end of the year.

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