Spirit Airlines flight attendants picket in Las Vegas

A Spirit Airlines jet takes off from McCarran International Airport on Friday, Aug. 26, 2011.

Informational pickets by Spirit Airlines flight attendants began at McCarran International Airport today, days before millions of passengers take to the skies for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Representatives of the Association of Flight Attendants said they planned to picket outside McCarran’s Terminal 1 on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, after picketing earlier today.

Spirit maintains a crew base in Las Vegas and is McCarran’s sixth busiest carrier with an average 19 daily flights.

Union representatives say Spirit flight attendants have worked without a contract after five years of negotiations. Last year, the airline’s flight attendants authorized a strike, and earlier this year, the union requested arbitration from the National Mediation Board to broker an agreement.

“We don’t want to strike, but we will if that’s what it takes for this management to seriously address the issues and concerns of the frontline faces of Spirit Airlines,” Todd St. Pierre, AFA president at Spirit, said in a release issued by the union.

“Our flight attendants do a great job every day for the company and our customers,” Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson said in an email. “We are committed to reaching a fair agreement that rewards our flight attendants for their contribution and supports the company’s growth.”

The AFA traditionally uses random “CHAOS” strike tactics — for “Create Havoc Around Our System” — that give the airline’s management and customers little time to react.

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