NetJets Pilots Picket Shareholders

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Over 70 NetJets pilots formed a picket line outside the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders' meeting in Omaha, Neb., on Saturday. The pilots passed out leaflets about their ongoing efforts to negotiate a contract with the fractional airline, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's conglomerate. "Our issues have seemingly fallen on deaf ears," pilot Alan Hayes said in a news release. "While all of these investors are enjoying the fruits of our labor, our pilots struggle to make ends meet." Hayes said that NetJets pilots, who are represented by the Teamsters union, are paid about half of the industry average compared to other pilots flying the same equipment. The pilots have been negotiating since 2001, when their last contract came up for renewal. "Eighteen percent of our pilots make a salary that qualifies them for public assistance," said Nick Reyer, a Teamsters official. "That is unacceptable." More than 80 percent of the 2,000 NetJets pilots rejected a contract proposal in August 2004.