For Immediate Release Contact:
Dec. 2, 2014 Paul Suffoletto (614) 228-0727
NETJETS’ TEAMSTER WORK FORCE REFUSES
TO SUBSIDIZE PET TRAVEL FOR THE RICH AND FAMOUS
(COLUMBUS, Ohio) - Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK/B) NetJets, Inc., continues to demand compensation and benefit cuts from more than 600 workers represented by the Teamsters Union as part of a scheme to lower prices for its wealthy customers. The Columbus, Ohio-based business jet operator is owned by Warren Buffett’s holding company and provides business and leisure travel to the global super-rich.
“The middle class families I represent will not agree to compensation or benefit cuts so a Wall Street banker or CEO, let alone their pets, can fly cheaper on a private Gulfstream jet,” said Paul Suffoletto, President of Teamsters Local 284 in Columbus, Ohio. ”I love dogs, but millionaires and billionaires who can afford to fly their unaccompanied pets on luxury private jets don’t need a subsidy from working families who have real-life concerns, like paying for housing, buying groceries, and saving for their retirement and kids’ education.”
Teamsters Local 284 represents flight attendants, aircraft mechanics, maintenance controllers, aircraft cleaners, aircraft fuelers, stock clerks and flight dispatchers employed by NetJets.
Contract negotiations between the union and Buffett’s company have stalled because of management’s demands that workers accept compensation cuts and pay more for their health insurance. Meanwhile, the company is boasting of increasing revenues, record profits and foreign expansion in China.
NetJets’ own website states that a “core negotiation requirement” is “to pass as much of the savings [from employee concessions] as practicable to Owners and potential Owners…” NetJets refers to its wealthy customers as “owners.”
“By admitting that it plans to pass on the savings from employee benefit and compensation cuts to the rich and famous, NetJets has shown itself to be completely out of touch with the struggles faced every day by hardworking Americans,” Suffoletto said.
In an interview posted at www.superyachts.com, a NetJets Vice President Cory Valentine said, “I have many customers that fly with us only because of their dogs. Once there was a dog flying by itself, with no humans, and they needed a piece of grass for the dog on the aircraft to go to the restroom while it was on the aircraft.”
For the past four years, NetJets has refused to grant pay increases or issue profit sharing checks to professional flight dispatchers who are responsible for critical functions related to the safety of flight. At the same time, managers are taking profit sharing checks for themselves and shifting health care insurance costs to the dispatchers and their family members.
“Even in this era of inequality and unrestrained corporate power, NetJets’ behavior is corporate greed and arrogance on a scale rarely seen,” said Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division. “We are going to resist this attempt to transfer money from the paychecks of our members to the wealthiest people on the planet, no matter what it takes.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, including more than 80,000 workers in every craft and class of the airline industry. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters .