COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an amended complaint filed today in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP), a labor Union representing approximately 2,700 pilots employed by NetJets, Inc., accused the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A and BRK.B) subsidiary of engaging in an unlawful campaign to intimidate pilots and ultimately destroy the Union through a wide variety of anti-union activities. NetJets provides business and leisure travel on private luxury business jets to its wealthy customers.
"NetJets's union-busting conduct is straight out of the gutter," NJASAP President Pedro Leroux said. "Our lawsuit accuses management of not only attacking its own pilot force, but also mocking working people who lost their jobs at other companies and ridiculing honest, hard-working people in the service and construction industries who have done absolutely nothing to deserve this abuse."
The Union originally sued NetJets in December over alleged violations of the federal Railway Labor Act and the Stored Communications Act. The former statute governs labor relations in the air and railroad industries while the latter imposes civil and criminal penalties for Internet privacy violations. The lawsuit accuses the Columbus-based Berkshire Hathaway company of unlawfully obtaining Union members' private communications, conducting surveillance of legally protected Union activities, threatening to blacklist Union supporters and unlawfully retaliating against Union members as part of a campaign to cripple NJASAP.
The amended complaint now alleges NetJets further threatened pilots by repeatedly referring to thousands of job losses at Hostess Brands, Inc., after the iconic producer of snack cakes went bankrupt in 2012, implying that the same fate awaited them. The company went so far as to hang Hostess Twinkie snack cakes on the walls of its corporate offices.
The Union also accuses NetJets of posting statements on social media that demonstrate a virulent hatred of labor unions generally and the pilots' Union specifically, including, "Remember the Hostess motto: Sweetest Comeback Ever," "Not everyone can be a [NetJets] pilot … The country needs retail workers, dishwashers ditch diggers, and the laborers," "See you in hell," "#NJASAP #HITLER" and that Union pilots will "succeed in becoming another footnote in the shameful history of Teamster labor." The recent filing contains new charges concerning management repeatedly breaking into the Union pilots' private, password-protected message board, which the Union refers to as its "Virtual Union Hall."
"Our lawsuit describes an arrogant company that is operating outside the boundaries of the law and basic decency," Leroux said. "Warren Buffett occasionally speaks up about inequality and the plight of the middle class, however, if the allegations about NetJets mocking working people who have lost their jobs at other companies and ridiculing tens of millions of Americans in the service and construction industries are true, NetJets is making Buffett look like a hypocrite."
The Union is now engaging in court discovery with both NetJets and social media outlets and plans to put members of senior NetJets management under oath in the spring. "We believe the lawsuit will document a systematic effort to violate NetJets pilots' rights under federal law, and we have every intention of exposing all the individuals behind this attack," Leroux said. The Union is seeking a court order to prevent NetJets from further intruding into its confidential Union message board, punitive damages for its corporate misconduct and other relief.
About NJASAP Founded in 2008 as an independent labor organization, 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. For more information, visit us at www.njasap.com or www.facebook.com/njasap.