OMAHA, Neb., May 6, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 400 pilots and family members took the fight to preserve their livelihoods and security to the 2015 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting by staging the largest informational picket in NetJets history on Saturday; NetJets is a subsidiary of the Warren Buffett-owned conglomerate (NYSE: BRK.A and BRK.B). The pilots, whose professional interests are represented by the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP), were joined by NetJets flight attendants and Flight Options pilots represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
"In 2005, our pilot group conducted its first informational picket in Omaha during a Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting with 75 pilots sending the message there was a labor problem at NetJets," NJASAP President Pedro Leroux said. "Ten years later, more than 400 pilots and their families traveled from all points across the United States to communicate what we have today is not a labor problem – it is a labor disaster created by management."
The Union president went on to say the comments made throughout the weekend by Mr. Buffett and Vice Chairman Charles Munger have made it clear NetJets management has not shared with Berkshire Leadership the nature and extent of the labor situation unfolding in Columbus. "It is a fact that attrition has increased significantly at this company, and NJASAP's internal polling data has confirmed more than 30 percent of the current pilot force is considering a move to a legacy carrier," Leroux said. "These factors combined with the current pilot shortage have very real implications for NetJets's ability to retain its world-class pilot group – one of its most compelling selling points."
The overwhelming majority of pilots blame senior NetJets management for the labor unrest that has engulfed the company. "In fewer than eight days, 93 percent of the Membership participated in a Vote of No Confidence in NetJets CEO Jordan Hansell with 98 percent supporting the measure," Vice President Paulette Gilbert said. "When you add this to the fact that more than 400 pilots traveled to Omaha on their own time and at their own expense this past weekend, it is clear Union Leadership is speaking definitively on behalf of its members."
The Union sponsored a Vote of No Confidence because NetJets CEO Jordan Hansell has broken the pilot group's trust by engaging in illegal union-busting tactics, diminishing the brand, creating labor unrest and demanding major concessions from the pilot group during the on-going contract negotiation. "NetJets is insisting we agree to deep cuts in compensation, health care and working conditions even though it is highly profitable, expanding both domestically and internationally, and issuing profit-sharing checks to managers and non-union employees," Leroux said, adding the contract proposals Union negotiators have received are reflective of a carrier on the verge of bankruptcy. The parties began contract talks in June 2013.
"NetJets is well aware that we will not accept these terms, which leads us to believe the CEO wants to push us toward a strike – something we are seeking to avoid," Leroux said. "Our preference is to reach an agreement without a strike, and that is what brought us to Omaha. We want to inform Berkshire Hathaway and the public about what is really happening at NetJets. Without Berkshire Hathaway's intervention, we have very grave concerns about the viability of our company."
About NJASAP Founded in 2008 as an independent labor advocate, the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) represents the professional interests of the 2,700-plus pilots who fly in the service of NetJets Aviation, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary. For more information, visit our web site, www.njasap.com, Facebook page, www.facebook.com/njasap, or Twitter feed, @njasap.