NetJets Pilots’ Union Launches Suit Over Website Referrals


The nasty labor dispute between NetJets and its pilots took a legal turn last week when the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots launched a suit over a company policy on talking to passengers and aircraft owners about the negotiations. Specifically, NetJets has ordered pilots to not refer clients to the website the union created to tell its side of the story on the dispute. The union said it filed the suit “in response to NetJets’ threat to discipline or to discharge pilots for referring aircraft owners and customers to the union’s website when they ask questions about contract negotiations.”

The union says it asked the company how pilots should respond to questions about the dispute but the company did not respond. Union President Capt. Pedro Leroux said in the release that passengers and owners always chat with the pilots and the labor dispute is a natural topic of conversation. “Referring to a union website is a professional and legal way to respond to their questions,” he said. There are about 3,000 NetJets pilots and wages are the main issue in the dispute. 

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. First world problems.

    Union is mad the company doesn’t want pilots bitching to the passenger about their labor negotiations impasse?

    Both NetJet and the Union are there to serve customers not include customers as pawns.

    Sounds like that annoying friend who’s always bitching about their estranges spouse in a divorce process. Just don’t care. Fly me where I paid you to fly me without hearing about your drama.

    • At first glance, that’s what it sounds like, but upon further reading, you’ll find that the salient point of this article is that pilots, when directly asked by their passengers to answer questions regarding the contract dispute, will be disciplined for referring them to the union website. In other words, precisely for NOT bitching at them about the union talks.

  2. Freedom of speech & all that, yes, but an employer can reasonably control how an employee who is the “face” of the company presents the company to customers. The affirmative act of referring the customer to an anti-company website is precisely the same as if the employee handed the customer an anti-company brochure produced by the union.

    Same situation as legal battles, with their court-enforced restrictions on discussing the case outside of court.

    • minor difference…the company IS publicizing their side, but putting a proverbial gag order on the pilots…

  3. It is not reasonable to compare the pay of a captain flying three people to one flying 160 or more, The responsibility is much greater. NetJets offers great pay for people wanting to fly in the corporate world away from the airlines. 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off, the newest equipment and great training. As usual with unions you have to wonder who is really pushing this? Yes younger pilots can make the jump to the majors and deal with that life at the bottom of the seniority list. The older guys seem to have a great life.

  4. “It is not reasonable to compare the pay of a captain flying three people to one flying 160 or more, The responsibility is much greater. ”

    Not true. The sole responsibility is to complete the trip safely. It does not matter whether there is one passenger or 800. I never worried about my passengers because I knew if I completed the trip safely, the passengers would, too.

  5. Umm…Aren’t those “customers/passengers” in fact “owners”. I thought that was the “workaround” to avoid Part 135. So NetJets doesn’t want pilots talking with the aircraft owner. Got it.

  6. Just noticed the signs they are holding are about healthcare. Wouldn’t it be great if we all took care of our own healthcare and left our employers out of the loop? Just one more thing to strain employee relations that shouldn’t be an issue.

  7. They need to vote with their feet. If the comp package is that bad, quit and go fly for a major passenger or box carrier.