Teamsters Ratify Contract With 40% Pay Hike For Maintenance Controllers

The deal with U.S. low-cost carrier Frontier will run for five years and includes up to 10 years of salary raises.

Teamsters Local 455 has ratified its first contract with low-cost-carrier Frontier Airlines. The contract will be in place for five years but includes up to 10 years of pay raises.

The new contract covers 12 maintenance controllers at Denver-headquartered Frontier. Local 455 also has material specialists, aircraft appearance agents and aircraft maintenance technician members at Frontier. Local 455 says the contract will result in a 40% increase in wages for the controllers.

“The wage matrix is convoluted,” a Teamsters official says. “They were hiring controllers at higher wages than for those already employed. We agreed to a pre-contract salary increase earlier in the year and this contract locked in seniority and positions the controllers above technician wages. The controller requirements mirror the technicians but add years of experience over that of the mechanics.”

The average pay had been roughly $60,000 a year and, the Teamster official says it now will exceed $100,000 annually. But controllers work 12-hour days, and a normal two-week pay period has 16 hours of overtime, paid at time and a half, built into the normal schedule.

Moreover, Frontier’s base in Denver is a well-paid location for aircraft mechanics. There were about 1,070 mechanics making an average of $72,700 a year in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metropolitan area in 2017, versus $62,540 for the U.S.

The new agreement also provides for overtime after eight hours, seniority rights, a grievance procedure and process for resolving disputes and several different types of paid and unpaid time off, including a leave of absence for members of the military.

The Teamster official says positioning of controller pay over lead technician pay is its pay guideline. The set of rates for Frontier are slightly below those of major carriers.

Gary Appling, vice president of Technical Operations at Frontier, is pleased at ratification of the new agreement. “We would like to recognize the efforts of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the National Mediation Board in helping us come together on a deal that benefits everyone and ensures security for the future,” Appling said.

The only open airline contract Teamsters now have in negotiations is with Southwest Airlines for material specialists. The next maintenance contracts for technicians are with United Airlines and Frontier in 2022.

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