The busy summer travel season at the airport is here. Things at the Union Hall are busy as well. Allow me to give you some updates.
Contract Negotiations. The Negotiating Committees met these past two weeks in Washington, DC. The manner in which the negotiations are taking place have, in part, changed recently. Instead of the full Negotiating Committees having direct talks with the company, a smaller Executive Negotiating Committee comprised of both TWU and IAM representatives meet directly with the company while the remainder of those on the Negotiating Committees do research and work on language. The reasoning behind this change, in part, was to expedite the overall process. Undoubtedly, we, as a work group, have had the most difficult contract to negotiate resulting from the merger of American Airlines and US Airways. It is because of the formation of the TWU / IAM Association, our Collective Bargaining Agreements have required both the combination and the amending of those contracts concurrently, this, as opposed to simply amending the existing agreements as was done in the past. No other work group at the “New AA” has been tasked with this work. And while the content of the individual contracts, in many circumstances, cover the same items, the language, processes, work rules and formatting of the articles is vastly different. The final contracts are going to be unlike anything that you are accustomed to, and, as a result, require additional time to write. We are meeting with the company the weeks of July 17th and 24th, and the scheduling of additional weeks are being discussed at this time. The remainder of the negotiating sessions are expected to be in Washington, DC. Once a final Tentative Agreement is reached, you will have full text agreements to review, and there will be presentations made prior to membership ratification. The official communication from the TWU / IAM Association is your best source for factual information and updates.
Equity Lawsuit. There has been some movement lately, but the matter is far from being concluded. The plaintiffs in the case have asked the Appellate Court to reverse its decision, and, if that action proves unsuccessful, the plaintiffs can then ask the U.S. Supreme Court for consideration. The June 8th communication from the Air Division Director explains that any distribution of funds to eligible members this year is highly unlikely. The official communication from the TWU International is your best source of factual and reliable information. That communication will be passed along to you as soon as we receive it.
Safety Issues / Powerstows. There has been much communication with the Company over these issues. The official position of Local 512 in respect to the use of the Powerstows and how it relates to safety has been crystal clear. There must be visual contact with the FSC in the aircraft belly that is at the end of the Powerstow, at all times; this for safety reasons. This is accomplished by always having two FSCs in the belly. The sole exception is when the last bags are being loaded in the doorway of the aircraft and the FSC in the belly has visual contact with someone on the ground outside the aircraft belly. If any CSM tells you that there is any agreement otherwise, they are either misinformed, ignorant of the facts, or they are simply not telling the truth. If you have any issues with a CSM insisting that one FSC can operate the Powerstow without visual contact as described above, contact a Shop Steward or Officer immediately.
Gate Utilization / Construction. We are experiencing many issues as of late when it comes to gate staffing, aircraft parking, and gate utilization. The Bid Committee continues to monitor gate activity to insure that we get as many gates manned as possible. While the expansion of the flight schedule is good for our membership, the issues that result from that expansion become problematic. As an example, just this past week, the company scheduled AA aircraft to be parked on L8, a dedicated regional gate. Concrete jersey walls were clearly over the safety lines, yet management insisted that FSCs park the aircraft anyway. Much conversation between AA Management and Local 512 Officers occurred over this problem and, as a result, the jersey walls were removed prior to any further AA aircraft being parked there. Additionally, gate K1 was shared by AA and Envoy and issues arose as a result of that activity. The sharing of gate space between the regional carriers and AA will hopefully be all but eliminated when the new “L Stinger” gates are completed. Those new gates are planned to be exclusively used by regional aircraft. After those gates are completed, further reallocation of gate space is expected. If you experience problems resulting from gate sharing, please contact a Shop Steward or Officer.
Benefits Committee / Benefit Issues / TWU-IAM Association. There is a reorganization of the Benefits Committee happening at this time. This is essentially being done to strengthen the autonomy of all the Locals in the AA System. The existing committee, which I serve on, meets regularly at HDQ with AA Management to resolve issues and to keep current on the benefits that affect our membership. There hasn’t been, for the most part, any change of those that serve on the committee for several years. The International wanted to insure that those that serve in those roles actually represent their individual Locals. Additionally, once we ratify a Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA), there will be much work to be done with those members that move across the TWU and IAM in relation to benefits. Thus, under the direction of International Vice President Sean Doyle, every Local in the AA System was tasked with designating Benefit Coordinators which will meet quarterly to discuss Benefit issues. From among that group, some will be designated to meet monthly at HDQ with AA Management and will hold the position of AA System Benefit Representative. Local 512 has designated both Rick Friedman and me to be our Benefits Coordinators. I will update you when all is finalized.
29(d) Grievances. There has been some movement in the Pay Seniority Grievance and you will be receiving a letter in the mail soon with an explanation of the status of this grievance and how it relates to all affected members. In regard to the Drug Testing Grievance, a date has not yet been set to finish the arbitration case because of the schedules of all those involved. As we will keep you updated in both of these cases, it is extremely important that you look out for the letter that you will receive soon about the Pay Seniority Grievance. The award is expected to be quite substantial and we want to insure all those due money receive it.
Communications / Social Media. Local 512 has official forms of communicating with the membership. Our Web-site, smart phone app, bulletin boards, and membership meetings are great forms of communication. The Weekly Update is sent out every Saturday morning to those that provide a non-AA e-mail address. We forward postings from the International. As we also understand that Social Media is also a widespread form of communication, we also utilize Facebook. Please understand that we will not post any information unless it is verified as being correct and factual. If the information is forwarded from another source, we will always credit that source for the information. As it takes time to verify the information, we may not always be first to post it. But any information from Local 512 can always be considered reliable and will be passed along in as timely a manner as possible.