As Spirit flies again, other unions press their case

06/18/2010 | TIME (subscription required)

The pilots' strike at Spirit Airlines may be winding down, but its outcome could up the stakes at other carriers facing labor unrest, TIME magazine reports. "If [Spirit pilots] got a substantial increase, others are going to be bolstered to push harder in negotiations themselves," says Thomas Kochan, an industrial-relations professor at MIT. Pilots at American Airlines, for instance, have already congratulated their colleagues at Spirit, adding that they "look forward to learning about the agreement's specifics." Still, experts say unions at larger airlines will have trouble getting federal approval to go on strike. "Spirit is a small airline, so the mediation board gave them the O.K.," Kochan notes, "but the board is unlikely to release an airline like American for a strike."

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