BNA Daily Labor Report: IBT Tentative Agreement with Frontier

May 28, 2008: The International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced May 27 that it has reached a tentative agreement with Denver-based Frontier Airlines for wage and benefit concessions as the company works to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Frontier spokesman Steve Snyder told BNA May 27 that the agreement, reached over the Memorial Day weekend, would implement concessions in wages and benefits for mechanics, tool room employees, aircraft appearance workers, material specialists and related personnel.

Teamsters Local 961 in Denver represents about 430 Frontier employees at the company's Denver hub and headquarters.

Troubled Industry

In a statement, Matthew Fazakas, the local's president and principal officer, said the union was aware of the issues facing Frontier and the entire airline industry. "We understand that in these tough economic times, all Frontier employees need to contribute to the company's future success," he said.

Fazakas said the local leadership was recommending that the membership vote to approve the temporary concessions plan, which would be in effect from June 1 to Sept. 30. Ballots have been sent out to members, he said.

Fazakas was not available to provide details on the concessions. Snyder declined to comment on the details.

Accord With Pilots, Dispatchers

Frontier recently reached a similar accord with the Frontier Airline Pilots Association, which represents about 700 of the company's pilots, and Transport Workers Union Local 565, which represents about 20 dispatchers. Members of the two unions ratified the side agreements May 15 (100 DLR A-13, 5/23/08).

The pilots agreed to take a 14.5 percent pay cut from June 1 to Sept. 30, John Stemmler, president of the pilots association, told BNA May 27. They also agreed to forgo the company's contribution to the 401(k), which is up to a 5 percent match, he said. Details about the wage and benefit concessions for the dispatchers were not available.

Frontier President and Chief Executive Officer Sean Menke said he was pleased with the tentative agreement with the Teamsters. "In challenging times like these, we need all of our employees supporting us in this process, and this tentative agreement is an important step in that direction," he said.

Frontier recently asked all employees, both union represented and non-represented, to take temporary wage and benefit concessions to help the airline as it attempts to secure debtor financing and emerge from bankruptcy.

On May 1, Menke and other members of the executive management team agreed to up to 20 percent in wage and benefits concessions. Frontier said it will "reexamine all the employee concessions in September based on the developing financial condition of the company and current economic conditions."

The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in April, Snyder said. Frontier hopes to emerge from bankruptcy in about nine to 18 months, he said.

By Tripp Baltz

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