Spirit Pilots Receive ALPA Battle Star Pins

October 11, 2010 - Spirit pilots were awarded their ALPA Battle Star pins in a special presentation during the first day of the Board of Directors meeting. During the afternoon plenary session, president Capt. John Prater called the Spirit MEC to the stage to be recognized for their resolve and determination during the five-day strike this past June.

“Typically at the Board of Directors and other meetings, the Association presents awards to individuals or small crews,” said Prater. “Only on very rare occasions does ALPA have the ability to honor an entire pilot group for their contributions to the profession. This is one of those times, and I have the distinct pleasure of recognizing the nearly 500 pilots of Spirit Airlines.”

In his presentation, Prater recounted the details of the Spirit pilot endgame efforts, which led to the improved contract. “Not a plane moved. Not a wheel turned. And not one of the nearly 500 pilots of Spirit Airlines crossed the picket line. Every airline but one rebuffed Spirit’s offers to pick up their flying — and that lone airline flew only a single flight with a single scab crew before it too wilted in the face of the pilot profession’s wrath. For five days, Spirit Airlines’ gates were silent.”

“It is with great pride and the utmost respect that I present Capt. Sean Creed, and every pilot of Spirit Airlines, with the ALPA Battle Star pin. You join eight decades of pilots who when given no other choice, bravely took the final step to get a fair contract and the respect this profession so richly deserves,” Prater added.

Spirit MEC chairman Capt. Sean Creed graciously accepted his pin, and spoke to the BOD briefly about his pilot group’s accomplishment. His comments are below:

“Last May, within hours of receiving the NMB’s proffer of arbitration, I asked the Executive Board for their support as the pilots of Spirit Airlines prepared for a strike—and what we received was overwhelming. You showed up at events and picket lines, you sent messages of encouragement, and you denied any attempt to fly struck work. For five days we held that line and got a fair contract that benefited all Spirit pilots.

“This success would not have been possible without the assistance we received from every corner of ALPA, including Captain Prater who sat with us at the negotiating table, the MECs that voted to support our strike benefit that we thankfully didn’t need, the line pilots who used their days off or time between turns to walk the picket lines with us, and the ALPA staff members who dedicated long hours to ensure our success.

“In those five days, I saw the vitality, strength, and resolve of this union. When our MEC called for a strike in the early morning of June 12, we knew it was going to be a fight, but we also knew we weren’t going in it alone. On behalf of every pilot of Spirit Airlines and their families—thank you.

“I am fortunate to be a pilot, I am thankful to be an ALPA brother, and I am honored to stand among you wearing the Battle Star.”