Pilots agree to contract extension with Republic Airline

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The more than 2,000 pilots for Republic Airline have approved an agreement with the Indianapolis-based carrier that extends their current contract from October 2018 to the beginning of 2021, Republic announced Monday.

The extension includes immediate pay increases for pilots retroactive to Jan. 1, as well as improvements to retirement contributions from the airline and vacation accrual, according to officials for International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ Local 357, which represents the pilots. With additional pay increases over the next 23 months, pilot wages will increase a total of 14 percent to 28 percent, depending on length of service.

The contract extension was ratified by 51 percent of pilots, with 85 percent of the union's 2,089 pilots participating in the vote, according to union officials.

“This extension is an investment in our people and our future,” said Matt Koscal, Republic’s senior vice president and chief administrative officer. “The fact that the agreement was reached well ahead of [October] is reflective of our commitment to a strong, mutually beneficial and proactive relationship with our labor groups.”

The current contract was ratified in 2015 as a three-year agreement through October 2018. The agreement in 2015 significantly raised pilot compensation, ending a years-long labor dispute that threatened to put the regional airline out of business.

Josh LeBlanc, executive board president of Teamsters Local Union 357, said reaching an agreement for a three-year extension was consistent with the union's goal of negotiating more frequently for shorter-term agreements.

"The union leadership feels that incremental improvements not only have a more immediate effect, but also have the benefit that the aggregate of the more frequent increases will be larger than a single comprehensive agreement achieved over the same time," LeBlanc said in a media release.

Republic operates a fleet of about 190 passenger aircraft and runs about 950 daily flights to 100 cities for major carriers under the brands American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express.

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