NetJets aircraft technicians and related employees represented by the Teamsters Airline Division and Teamsters Local 284 are calling on the leaders of the company to stop denying workers pay increases and provide the job security that comes with a viable in-house maintenance system.
The NetJets workers sent a letter to Warren Buffett, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Berkshire Hathaway, and Greg Abel, President, CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, expressing the urgent need to address their concerns. NetJets, a Columbus-based business jet operator, is owned by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Teamsters Airline Division and Teamsters Local 284 represent mechanics, maintenance control, aircraft fuelers, aircraft cleaners and stock clerks.
A copy of the letter was also sent to Berkshire Hathaway board member and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the other Berkshire Hathaway board members, and Adam Johnson, CEO of NetJets.
In 2015, NetJets pilots picketed Abel’s office as part of their labor dispute. While NetJets mechanics, fuelers, cleaners and stock clerks have not received a raise since 2011, Fortune magazine reported that Abel received $17.5 million in pay last year.
“It’s only right that when our members’ concerns over high levels of maintenance subcontracting and no pay raises fall on management’s deaf ears, they address them directly to Mr. Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway,” said Chris Moore, Chairman of the Teamsters Aviation Mechanics Coalition. “Their letter also drew attention to analyst reports warning of a shortage of qualified aircraft technicians that will start to impact fractional aviation operations like NetJets. NetJets’ refusal to give its own safety workers a raise for six years threatens to drive away the small number of technicians that are actually employed by the company. Tens of millions of dollars in executive compensation only adds insult to injury.”
NetJets Aviation and NetJets Sales only employ 111 aircraft mechanics to work on its fleet of approximately 400 aircraft. By comparison, major airlines often employ up to 10 mechanics for every one aircraft.
The letter also accused NetJets of trying to “drive away qualified mechanics and support workers” in favor of subcontracting critical repair work on NetJets aircraft, despite customer expectations and workers’ job security. Highly skilled in-house NetJets aircraft technicians and maintenance support workers say they are forced to compete for work performing critical maintenance with subcontractors.
“Our highly skilled technicians and support workers informed Berkshire Hathaway that NetJets is demanding that they accept wages that are far below those of their peers, including airlines that Mr. Buffett has a stake in, such as United, Continental, American, Delta and Southwest,” said Local 284 President Mark Vandak. “NetJets is even demanding that the workforce give up their one and only paid personal day. There is outrage on the shop floor over this greed and mistreatment.”
Contract negotiations resume on May 17 in Columbus.