Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AmeriJet pilots seek release from mediation

AmeriJet International IncThe pilots at air cargo carrier AmeriJet International, Inc. have asked the National Mediation Board (NMB) to release  them from mediated contract talks with AmeriJet management.  The request was made because "the parties are at an impasse in their negotiations after Amerijet announced last week that it was unilaterally cutting the employees’ wages by 10 percent and eliminating their 401(k) pension matching contributions," according to a statement by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents the pilots.

AmeriJet and its pilots have been negotiating for a collective bargaining agreement for nearly five years. The last three years of negotiations have been supervised and directed by the NMB and its team of mediators.

The Teamsters want to be released from mediation, and to proceed to binding arbitration. According to the Teamsters' statement:
If the NMB releases the parties from mediation, and if either of the parties refuses to accept binding arbitration, then – barring intervention by President Obama – they will be free to engage in economic self help at the conclusion of a 30-day cooling off period. Typically, self help includes strikes and lockouts.
“It is abundantly clear that Amerijet’s tactics and antics throughout the mediation process were designed to ensure that no self-respecting labor organization would ever be able to reach an agreement with it,” said Teamsters Airline Division Director Capt. David Bourne in the NMB filing. “In doing so, Amerijet has also evidenced a total lack of respect for the NMB process and indeed has made a mockery of it.”