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Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets Sued for Labor Law Violation

Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets Sued for Labor Law Violation

NetJets, the luxury plane unit of Berkshire Hathaway, has been sued by its pilots’ union for violating federal labor law and attempting to suppress union-related pilot speech.

The 3,000-member NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) filed a lawsuit in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, where NetJets is based, seeking an injunction protecting pilots from discipline for referring people to the union website or expressing support for the union.

In March, a senior NetJets executive sent an email saying that referring aircraft owners and customers to the union’s website when they ask questions about contract negotiations is a violation of company policy. NetJets President of Sales, Marketing and Service Patrick Gallagher, later sent an email to NetJets employees saying that the pilot union’s leadership is out of touch with its members.

The NJASAP created the website to tell its side of the story on the dispute between the union and the company. The website claims NetJets has “lost its competitive edge” in career earnings for pilots, and that low-cost and regional airlines are paying pilots more.

“The aircraft owners and customers we fly engage our pilots in conversations every day, including about their jobs and a wide variety of other topics,” NJASAP President Capt. Pedro Leroux said. “It is only natural that they would ask us for basic information about our current labor dispute when they see picketers.”

Leroux said referring to a union website is a professional and legal way to respond to questions from aircraft owners and customers. “We believe NetJet’s discriminatory ban on union-related speech is unprofessional and illegal,” he added.

NetJets has not responded to requests for comment.

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