IAM members recently ratified a five-year labor contract with Spirit Airlines, creating the highest wages and overall compensation rates for ramp agents in the carrier’s history.

The proposal was approved by a 98 percent margin, covering about 300 workers represented by IAM District 141.

The ratified pact includes wage increases that, on average, would be 30 percent higher than current earnings. The previous top pay was $15.51 per hour. The new contract pushes the highest pay bracket to $23 an hour, and over the life of the agreement will rise to $24.78.

The contract, which the IAM negotiating committee unanimously recommended members ratify, also includes more opportunities for double-time pay, new trainer positions and paid vacation for part-time agents.

The proposal also included a ratification bonus of $100 per year of service, with a $500 minimum.

The ratified deal also comes just weeks after company negotiators at Spirit had asked that talks enter mediation, a process that could have pulled the brakes on finding a deal before the holidays. Fortunately, the company and union reached a tentative agreement only two weeks later, avoiding time-consuming mediation.

“We’re coming out of a pandemic right now, the same pandemic that crippled airlines for nearly a year,” said lead negotiator Tony Gibson. “And, despite all that, our members at Spirit didn’t give up anything. This contract will make the Spirit workplace better – and only better. There are no concessions in this agreement.”

“This strong contract is a win for our hard-working members who have had to weather a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic. They stood strong, and this contract rewards that hard work and dedication with provisions like higher wages and respect in the workplace,” said Richard Johnsen, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President. “I want to thank the staff at District 141 and each and every member of the negotiations committee who stood strong for this good contract.”

“I want to thank our IAM Negotiating Committee at Spirit for the outstanding work they’ve accomplished with this agreement. I particularly want to recognize the contributions of Local 368 members Almarie Jean, Linda Germain, Christopher Willis, and Gregory De La Cruz, who helped put this deal together,” said District 141 President and Directing General Chair Mike Klemm. “Along with District 141 Assistant General Chairs Andrea’ Myers, and Lead Negotiator Tony Gibson, this team spent countless hours away from loved ones to create a better workplace for our Spirit membership.”

“This ratified deal provides respect on the job for all of our hard-working member at Spirit Airlines,” said IAM Airline Coordinator Tom Regan. “These men and women have been on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they proved every day that their dedication to make sure passengers arrive to their locations safely should be rewarded with higher wages and other improved provisions in a collective bargaining agreement.”

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