Spirit Airlines Pilots Picket Outside O’Hare, Hoping To Reach New Contract Deals

CHICAGO (CBS) — After more than two and a half years of contract negotiations, Spirit Airlines pilots are fed up and taking their frustrations to the picket line at O’Hare Airport.

Captain Paul Slotten is a member of the Negotiating Committee of the Spirit Airlines Pilots Association.

“We’ve been struggling to get an amended contract for over two and a half years now,” Slotten said. “We’d like management to come back to the table and prepare to negotiate a contract that fairly reflects our commitment to Spirit Airlines.”

Just last month, 100-percent of participating pilots voted to call for a lawful strike.

“Spirit pilots absolutely do not want to go on strike,” Slotten said. “We think we can get this deal done, we just need management to cooperate.”

Slotten is hoping a demonstration outside of O’Hare Airport will speed up that cooperation.

When it comes to a new contract, he said enhanced job security and safety protections are some of pilots top priorities.

“A big one is job security – the protection in the event of an acquisition or merger – and what happens to pilots if they face a career-ending injury or illness? That sort of protections are in place at all other mainline carriers and Spirit should be no different,” he said.

There are no further negotiations scheduled. A spirit spokesman tells WBBM they remain committed to reaching an agreement as soon as possible.

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