After recent missives between NetJets and NJASAP, the company and the union representing its pilots may have reached a new agreement.
According to a post on social media, NetJets and NJASAP, the union representing its pilots, have reached an agreement in principle.
The post included an update apparently from the NetJets Association of Shared Pilots to members.
Late last night, NJASAP reached an agreement in princple (AIP) with NetJets. The Negotiating Committee is currently reviewing the details of the agreement with legal counsel in preparation to publish a term sheet to the Membership later this afternoon.
The committe is scheduled to return to Columbus on Monday to continue the process of trasnitioning the AIP into a Tentative Agreement (TA).
Because of the detailed nature of the AIP-to-TA process, your negotiators, in coordination with legal counsel, will proceed with great care and intentionality when crafting new and revising existing contract language.
As of this update, the committee estimates the full TA will be ready for member review on or about Feb. 19.
Representatives of NetJets and NJASAP were not available to respond to confirm the memo’s authenticity, which was posted on Reddit earlier today.
The poster added, “The (negotiating committee) has been clear for a long time they would not send something they wouldn’t believe would pass by a large margin. I’ll update the post later tonight with a comment, including the term sheet.”
The mid-contract negotiations, ongoing for over a year, recently took a downward spiral.
In December, NJASAP started invoking parent company Chairman Warren Buffett in a series of Wall Street Journal ads, which it had done in 2014.
Back then, one ad read, “Mr. Buffett: Is NetJets your next Benjamin Moore?”
This time, NJASAP used quotes from Buffett alongside press releases expounding on its grievances.
The first broke days after the death of longtime Buffett business partner and Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger.
Instead of condolences, an accompanying press release was headlined, “NetJets Pilots Call Out Warren Buffett in National Ad.”
From there, it went further downhill.
NJASAP attempted to draw a parallel between the recent Alaska Airline accident and discontent in its pilots’ corps.
The latest NJASAP ad in late January read:
NetJets Owners…What if you looked out your window and saw a panel of the plane?
Fact: A Boeing 737-9 MAX panel flew off mid-air during a flight during a flight
Fact: There is a national shortage of aircraft mechanics.
Fact: Pilots play a crucial role in identifying maintenance issues on the planes they fly.
Fact: NetJets, a private jet company owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, is threatening to sue its own pilots’ union over how often they document aircraft maintenance issues.
Fact: If pilots are afraid to document aircraft issues, then air travel may be less safe.
NJASAP posted the advertisement on the wire services and a press release.
The release was headlined, “NetJets’ sterling safety record at risk as Fractional threatens litigation against its Pilot Union.”
In it, NJASAP Vice President Capt. Paulette Gilbert said, “The company’s threats about the frequency of pilots reporting maintenance issues on the aircraft they fly represents a grave threat to the safety culture at NetJets – the very safety culture that aircraft owners, passengers, and flight crewmembers depend upon for their lives every day.”
“At a time when aircraft safety is receiving heightened scrutiny – and deservedly so – it is outrageous that NetJets would question its pilots’ dedication to prioritizing safety and their informed decisions when it comes to documenting identified aircraft maintenance issues or determining they are too tired to safely fly an aircraft,” NJASAP President Capt. Pedro Leroux said.
The ad was a response to a letter from NetJets alleging a concerted effort by the union to disrupt operations as a bargaining tool, something called “self-help,” which is illegal.
According to Thompson Reuters Practical Law, typical actions include “slowing work or production (and/or) working to the specific terms of an existing collective bargaining agreement.”
There were increases in fatigue calls and maintenance write-ups.
NetJets included an 11-page analysis to support its allegations.
The press release from NJASAP claimed that NetJets, “after alleging that pilots are engaging in a work slowdown in an attempt to negatively impact the fractional’s operations, did not provide any evidence to substantiate its extraordinary allegations.”
NJASAP vehemently denied the allegations.
At the same time, it has sent at least two notices to its member pilots telling them, just in case, to cut it out.
NetJets has said the actions aren’t impacting customers. However, they are impacting its bottom line.
It is footing the bills for more recovery flights, both on-fleet and via third-party operators.
Recovery flights are industry jargon for the replacement aircraft when the planned airframe or crew can’t perform.
At the last minute, they can be expensive, costing more than the customer paid.
In many fractional and jet card programs, the provider agrees to provide the recovery flight at no additional cost to the client.
NetJets had remained silent until NJASAP started targeting Buffett.
It then revealed it had offered the union a package that would provide a 52.5% increase in compensation over six years.
The current contract runs through 2027.
The company has a unilateral option to extend it through the end of 2029.
NJASAP has been arguing without a record pay increase; pilots would flee to the major airlines.