Republic Airways’ $100,000 New Hire Agreement Faces Controversy

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Teamsters, the union representing Republic Airways' pilots appears to have filed a grievance against Republic Airways' controversial new hire agreement. The agreement seems to be fought with areas of concern. Per a Teamster's memo obtained by ACN:

“With the completion of the new Training Center, and after a brief hiatus of New-Hire classes to bring our Captain/First Officer ratio into closer balance, Republic Airways is beginning to bring in new First Officers for training. It has come to our attention that as a prerequisite for employment, New-Hire Pilots are required to enroll in the Republic Airways New First Officer Career Advancement Pathway Program Agreement (the “Agreement”). Your Executive Board believes that this Agreement is problematic for many reasons.

The most relevant problems are;

1. the circumvention of certain CBA protections;
2. compliance with the terms and conditions being determined solely at the Company’s discretion;
3. the exorbitant and unprecedented financial jeopardy imposed if the terms and conditions are unfulfilled

4. the one-year non-compete clause prohibiting Pilots that sign this agreement from seeking employment

at essentially any Airline should you leave Republic prior to the end of the term.

The Agreement has been attached to this letter for your review.

During negotiations for the 2022 CBA, mandatory upgrades were discussed as they are allowed at other properties. Your negotiating Committee rejected that concept and instead proposed language that eventually became LOA#9; which offered incentives rather than mandates to encourage upgrades. The Agreement mandates that upon reaching 850 hours, the pilot must bid for, and accept one of two class dates offered by the Company at that time. To reach 850 hours as soon as practical, the pilot is expected to pick up extra available flight time in addition to their monthly schedule. The determination if a pilot has picked up enough of this mandatory overtime is at the sole discretion of the Company. Finally, after the mandatory upgrade (to whatever base and class is available at the time), the Pilot will only receive the first year Captain pay at 850 hours that LOA#9 (we assume the 2022 CBA) affords if the Company is offering that particular incentive at the time.

Forced upgrades and mandatory overtime have been rejected by Negotiating Committees over several negotiation cycles. That the Company would impose them as a condition of employment is a circumvention of our CBA we will vigorously challenge.

Signing Bonuses are not new in the Airline Industry, nor are they new at Republic. The ability to offer bonuses and the flexibility to tie them specifically to upgrades were significantly augmented with the 2022 CBA. This was done to give Republic the tools to compete for both new First Officers and Captains in a very competitive environment. The $60,000 offered to complete upgrade is within the range of what we see elsewhere in the industry. The financial jeopardy lies within the disqualification/forfeiture of the bonus and the liquidated damages Republic requires the Pilot to agree to. If the Pilot is downgraded, “voluntarily, or by Republic due to Republic’s determination, in its sole discretion, that the Pilot did not satisfactorily perform his/her the pilot must

Teamsters Local Union No. 357
6100 Clarks Creek Rd., Suite 100, Plainfield, IN 46168 Phone: 317-644-1405 / Fax: 317-644-1408 /

Teamsters Local Union No. 357

“Flightdeck Crewmembers of Republic Airways Holdings”

Affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

repay the previous installment, forgo any future installment, and this amount will be in addition to the liquidated damages set forth in Section III.

We will cover liquidated damages momentarily, but let’s pause to consider the implications. Are these Pilots not going to be afforded the rights to resolve disputes via the protocols set forth in Article 18, or have training issues referred to the TRB in Article 10? If at its sole discretion the Company may remove a pilot from the program and terminate the Agreement, is the pilot no longer responsible for liquidated damages or subject to the non-compete as they are part of the Agreement? Beyond just the provisions of the Agreement that we disagree with, the language itself is unclear and contradictory.

Section III, Non-Compete and Liquidated Damages. This section speaks for itself and is reprinted in its entirety for emphasis:

Upon entering this Agreement, Pilot agrees to make at least a three (3) year employment commitment to Republic, which specifically includes a two (2) year commitment as a Captain at Republic (assuming successful upgrade). Pilot acknowledges that Republic has invested time, resources, and money, as well as provided access to confidential and trade secret information, in return for this three (3) year at-will commitment. Pilot understands that his or her failure to comply with this employment commitment, which is a material term of this Agreement, shall be a material breach of this Agreement; and it is understood that the precise calculation of damages may be difficult, if not impossible, to determine but it is indisputable that the Company will suffer significant harm in the event the Pilot fails to fulfill such employment commitment. Consequently, not as a penalty, but as liquidated damages, Pilot agrees to pay the sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) to Republic in the event Pilot breaches this commitment obligation. For the avoidance of doubt, the three (3) year employment commitment, especially the two (2) year captain commitment, is the material consideration for which Republic is relying upon in order to enter into this agreement, and the liquidated damages will not be prorated if the time commitment is only partially completed. It shall not be a breach of the Agreement if Pilot cannot satisfy the commitment due to circumstances reasonably beyond the Pilot’s control.

As further part of this commitment, Pilot also agrees, in the event the Pilot resigns from his or her employment or is terminated for cause, he or she warrants that he or she will not work as a pilot for any airline that is in competition with Republic for a period of one (1) year after termination of Pilot’s relationship with Republic. Republic shall have the remedies of enforcement of liquidated damages and/or injunctive relief, at its discretion, as well as recovery of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. It is agreed that “in competition with Republic” shall be understood to mean operating as a pilot for a commercial airline with routes that compete with Republic for the flying public in the United States. Non-competing pilot employment is not prohibited by this Agreement, but Pilot will still be subject to the liquidated damages penalty for breach of the Agreement.

Teamsters Local Union No. 357
6100 Clarks Creek Rd., Suite 100, Plainfield, IN 46168 Phone: 317-644-1405 / Fax: 317-644-1408 /

Teamsters Local Union No. 357

“Flightdeck Crewmembers of Republic Airways Holdings”

Affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

To borrow a phrase from the Agreement, “for the avoidance of doubt”, let’s summarize what is being asked of new Pilots on day one of INDOC:

  • Give up the right to determine if you choose to upgrade. Does not matter if the forced upgrade requires a two-leg commute while you are currently home based.
  • Give up the right to determine when you choose to upgrade. Does not matter if the two classes offered don’t fit into your personal or family obligations.
  • Give up the right to bid schedules, take time off, or otherwise create a work-life balance best suited to your preferences as you will be required to fly as much as possible, including on your days off. It is the Company’s sole discretion to determine if you have met this particular metric.
  • On day 1 of INDOC you must know if Republic is the best fit for you and your family for the next three years minimum. If upgrades stop tomorrow, you are still on the hook until you have fulfilled the obligation of 2 years as a Captain. This $100,000 is not a repayment for any bonus you have received. This is $100,000 of your money, plus any bonus you must forfeit, plus both yours and their attorney fees if you choose to challenge it, in the court and jurisdiction the Company has chosen (section IV).
  • On day 1 of INDOC you must know if Republic was the best choice of all the job offers you may have gotten. If you have made the wrong decision, you are not just $100,000 poorer, you may not work in your chosen profession for a period of one year.

This Agreement is egregious, and we are hopeful the Company will reconsider its position before it needs to be settled via grievance, arbitration or litigation. The Local very much wants the Company to be successful and to capitalize on the investments made in the training infrastructure. We hope to see new classes filled with quality Pilots who have chosen Republic because of its merits over our competitors. We believe this Agreement, even before we get into haggling over its enforceability, will have a chilling effect on the quantity and quality of the Pilots willing to choose Republic to begin their career.”

The memo from Teamster was signed by the Teamsters Local Union 357 Executive Board.

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