Republic Airways late today hit a brick wall it may not have anticipated in its increasingly strained efforts to get a new contract with International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 357.
Jim Clark, president of Local 357 which represents 2,200 Republic pilots — some of whom who operate regional flights out of Chicago for United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines — said in a interview the general president of the national IBT decided today not to present Republic's last, best and final contract offer to Local 357 rank and file for a vote.
Clark was informed of the national IBT decision earlier this afternoon — a decision he subsequently conveyed to Republic management.
The national IBT had the final say on the proposed contract. Local 357's seven-member executive board already had voted not to present the contract to rank and file for a vote.
A Indianapolis, Ind.-based Republic Airways spokesman did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.
Local 357 president Jim Clark said he directly communicated the IBT general president's decision to Republic management this afternoon.
Clark said it remains to be seen if Republic management is willing to go back to the bargaining table now that it is clear the airline's last best and final contract offer will not be voted on by Local 357 rank and file pilots.
If Republic opts not to return to the bargaining table, one scenario, according to Clark, could be a 30-day cooling off period, after which the possibility of a pilots strike could loom.
But Clark today emphasized it's still too early to know if a strike is a likely option at this juncture.
(Lewis Lazare - Chicago Business Journal)