This past week Vice President Hagn, Treasurer Chalcraft, Executive Board Member Lenehan, and I attended the TWU 25th Constitutional Convention in Las Vegas as Delegates for Local 512. The convention is held every 4 years and is essentially the main governing meeting for the union. Policy is made through resolutions, the finances are reviewed and discussed, committees are formed, and the International Officers are elected by the Delegates that attend the convention. There are also workshops offered that provide information and an educational interaction with other TWU members across all the divisions. It is a busy time in the TWU and, as such, it was a busy week at the convention.
Among the resolutions discussed was Resolution 27: Support for Hurricane Victims. This was the TWU at its finest. Locals from across all divisions pledged over $112,000 toward a fund to help our members that are in need as a result of these disasters. The Delegates themselves donated just under $10,000 in cash toward that fund. Discussion about how the relief supplies would be shipped and distributed was had. It was the proudest moment that I have ever experienced as a TWU member. The generosity and compassion displayed during that resolution was overwhelming.
Other resolutions included the strengthening our International Campaign Unit. International President Samuelsen laid out his direction for our current and future campaigns. Discussed at length was the ongoing protests and demonstrations that have resulted from our slow contract negotiations at American Airlines. Also discussed was the first contract negotiations at Allegiant Airlines and others.
The election of the International Officers and Executive Board Members resulted in the entire John Samuelsen Slate being elected by a 91% margin of the delegate body. I am part of that slate and have been elected as an International Executive Board Member. While I will have additional duties as a result of my election, it is not a full time position in the International; and as such, I will continue working as your Local President.
Speakers at the convention included Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York State, Reverend Dr. William J. Barber, Liz Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO, IAM Union Leaders Robert Martinez, Jr. and Sito Pantoja, Mr. Stephen Cotton of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), Mr. Mick Cash of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union (RMT), Nevada’s 10th District State Senator Yvanna Cancela, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, and Writer/Commentator Jim Hightower. There was also a video message from U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
Secretary/ Treasurer Trevor Chalcraft and I attended the breakout session about the Janus v. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) law suit. This case is an all-out assault on Labor Unions and has been fast-tracked to the U.S. Supreme Court. This case is essentially a clone of a case heard before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016, this being Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. That case had a 4-4 split; this due to the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Accordingly, the lower U.S. Court of Appeals decision was not overturned; this resulting in a huge a victory for unions. Now with the Janus case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and newly appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch seated, the finances of labor unions and the exclusive right to represent members is in peril. Because of the huge impact to all Unions, the TWU and the membership included, we will keep you updated with as much information as possible.
Another issue that needs addressing is Annual Benefits Enrollment. Our monthly membership meeting will be conducted on Monday, October 9, 2017 at 10 AM and 2 PM at the airport in the West Mezzanine Conference Room above the ticket counter. Agenda items will include a benefits presentation and the changes you will see this year. Jetnet enrollment is from 10/16/2017 - 10/27/2017. As in past years, we will have the Enrollment Counsellors to assist you in your benefits enrollment. There are some significant changes this year so we encourage you to attend one of these meetings.
The 29(d) Drug and Alcohol Testing arbitration that I filed as your Local President is scheduled to conclude on October 9, 2017 in DFW. This arbitration case started almost 18 months ago and has been constantly delayed due to scheduling conflicts with contract negotiations. At issue are the violations of the contract that our membership experienced while been tested post-accident or for reasonable cause. This case has the same system wide implications as the 29(d) Pay Seniority case that I, as your Local President, filed on behalf of the entire TWU membership. In that case, the company has already paid out several hundreds of thousands of dollars to essentially everyone that was affected, yet outstanding issues remain. Because of the widespread impact to our membership, as these cases proceed, or before any final awards are issued, you will be kept informed.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone’s support in our extremely successful leafleting/protest at Wrigley Field over the past Labor Day weekend. This was our part in the systemwide campaign to inform the company that the pace of contract negotiations is unacceptable, and to inform the public about American Airlines overwhelming desire to outsource safety sensitive work that includes aircraft maintenance and deicing to substandard vendors. We had only 5 days’ notice to put that demonstration together; and we did it! We had great media coverage; the company has been left very uncomfortable with the unity and cooperation that all the unions on the property now enjoy. Thank you for bringing us together Mr. Parker. In keeping the pressure up, we have another special surprise planned for the American Airlines Management Team on Monday, October 9, 2017 & Tuesday, October 10, 2017. We will need your support, and we will be calling on you again to participate. Details will be passed along soon.