Spirit pilots edge toward strike

Washington DC
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After failing to reach a contract agreement, pilots at Spirit Airlines have declined arbitration from the National Mediation Board (NMB) and have entered into a 30-day cooling off period that could lead to a strike if no agreement is reached.

Pilots, who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), have been in negotiations with management at the low cost carrier for the more than three years.

"As pilots, we would rather be in the air than on the picket line," says Sean Creed, head of the Spirit unit of ALPA. "We hope that the added pressure of a strike deadline will help management realise that a fair and equitable contract is in everyone's best interest."

The union says it is waiting for notification from NMB for the official start of the 30-day cooling off period and the date for a possible strike.

Spirit Airlines declined to comment because it had not received official notification of a cooling off period from the NMB.