Ticker: US auto workers’ union boss says strikes will continue; Spirit Airlines cancels dozens of flights

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United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain said Friday that while Detroit’s automakers have increased their wage and benefit offers, he believes the union can gain more if it holds out longer in contract talks.

In a Facebook Live appearance, Fain didn’t announce any more factories to add to those that have been on strike for up to five weeks. But he warned that the UAW could announce such an expansion of its strikes at any time, depending on how much progress it makes in its negotiations with the automakers.

In the past 24 hours, Fain said, Stellantis and GM have made wage offers that matched Ford’s 23% over the life of a four year contract. But, speaking in his characteristic sharp tones, the union president insisted that the companies can go further.

Spirit Airlines cancels dozens of flights

Spirit Airlines canceled about 100 flights on Friday after pulling some planes out of service for inspections, and the airline expects the disruptions to last several days.

Spirit did not describe the nature of the inspections and did not respond when asked for further information, but the Federal Aviation Administration said it involved inspection of brackets on the planes’ airframes.

By late Friday afternoon, Spirit had canceled 11% of its schedule for the day, easily the highest percentage of scrubbed flights among leading U.S. carriers, according to tracking service FlightAware.

“We’ve cancelled a portion of our scheduled flights to perform a necessary inspection of a small section of 25 of our aircraft,” Spirit said in a statement. “The impact to our network is expected to last several days as we complete the inspections and work to return to normal operations.”

The FAA said it was aware of Spirit’s decision to pull the planes from service for a “mandatory maintenance inspection.” The inspections are required to look for signs of cracking around fasteners that attach pressure panels to beams on the planes’ airframes, according to an FAA document.

If undetected, the cracks could lead to reduced structural integrity “and possible rapid decompression of the airplane,” according to the document.

Fatigue cracks in the frames of planes are a long-known risk. The inspections that Spirit is conducting have been required by European and U.S. regulators for many years and were last updated by the FAA in 2018.

The FAA said that for the Spirit planes, it “will ensure that the matter is addressed before the airplanes are returned to service.”

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