Teamsters Next in Queue for NetJets Labor Troubles

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets can’t seem to escape its labor troubles, even after finally reaching agreement with its flight attendants and pilots.

In December 2015, NetJets put its two-year battle over wages with its approximately 2,700 pilots firmly behind it when it agreed to raises that brought the pilots $575 million spread over five years.

Now, it’s the NetJets technicians and flight dispatchers that are preparing for a strike authorization vote, as Teamsters Local 284 complains of “cost-cutting demands and proposals that they say undermine the ability to perform their jobs.”

“NetJets demands the right to replace human flight dispatchers with automation and software programs,” said Paul Suffoletto, President of Local 284 in Columbus, Ohio. “Management is also telling our aviation technicians that they have to compete against lower cost mechanics if they want to perform necessary maintenance work on NetJets aircraft. These actions raise serious questions about cost-cutting at the expense of employees responsible for the safety of flights.”

Local 284 states that its members at NetJets that work in fueling, catering, dispatching, stock clerk, aircraft cleaning and maintenance control operations also could be impacted by the latest round of labor unrest.

They note that the affected workers have been in contract negotiations for more than five years.

Berkshire Hathaway acquired NetJets in 1998, and has struggled with labor troubles. In June 2015, Berkshire canned NetJets’s chairman and CEO Jordan Hansell, who was unable to resolve the pilots’ dispute. The replacement CEO, Adam Johnson, has had better luck.

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.