Teamsters Airline Division

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Airline Division New, Week Ending, June 25, 2016

UAL Mechanics to meet again next week with Company, NMB

After this week’s meeting, the parties are again scheduled to meet next week at the direction of the National Mediation Board.

The NMB has directed each side to be prepared to present an industry analysis for comparison purposes, along with a presentation of the costing of proposals during the session. Discussions on several open items are expected to take place during the week. The NMB has stated they will assess the progress made and will set future dates at the end of the session. A report of the discussions and future dates will be distributed after the session ends.

Allegiant Pilots reaches Tentative Agreement with management

More than three years after bargaining, Allegiant Airlines pilots represented by Teamsters Local 1224 have reached a tentative agreement on their first union contract with the airline on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. Teamsters and company negotiators have agreed to meet the week of June 27 to finalize the contract language. There are more than 700 pilots in the bargaining unit.

The tentative agreement includes significant compensation, retirement and medical benefit increases, improved scheduling rules and procedures, strong job protections, and other important work rule enhancements. The specific details of the tentative agreement will first be disclosed to and discussed with the workers. Allegiant Airlines pilots will vote whether to approve the agreement in a secret ballot referendum that will likely be conducted in July. 

“I’m incredibly proud of this victory,” said Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division. “After years of hard work, we’ve reached a tentative agreement on a first contract for these pilots. I want to thank all of the pilots for demonstrating the true meaning of Teamster unity and strength. I want to thank the company for helping us get to this point. Everyone at Allegiant Airlines just took a big step forward.”

“The Allegiant Airlines pilots have demonstrated tremendous determination and resilience over the last several turbulent years,” said Teamsters Local 1224 President Daniel C. Wells. “Their professionalism, courage and unity in the face of adversity has been truly remarkable to watch, and they have earned the respect of their fellow pilots throughout the industry.

“Their resolve and the tentative agreement that they have now secured show that when airline pilots stand together, we can win real changes that help improve the passenger experience and the company’s bottom line, as well as our ability to support our families.”

“Since we voted to join Teamsters Local 1224 in 2012, we have been committed to working with the company to reach a contract that fairly rewards the pilots for their vital contribution to the company’s operations and success,” said Capt. Scott Whitman, Chairman of the Allegiant Airlines Pilots’ Negotiating Committee. “Our tentative agreement with the company meets that objective, and I believe the pilots will be proud to work under it.”

“For years, we have been asking Allegiant Airlines to invest in its pilots, and this agreement shows that Allegiant has listened,” said Capt. Cameron Graff, Allegiant Airlines Pilots’ Executive Council Chairman. “This contract brings us in line with industry standards that we, our families and customers deserve. With the new contract in place, we will have a voice at the table to make sure Allegiant Airlines is the best possible airline for people to work and fly.”

NetJets Dispatchers ratify first ever agreement

Following a tentative agreement on May 6, 2016, Teamster flight dispatchers at NetJets have voted unanimously to ratify their first-ever contract. The vote was 38 to 0 in favor of accepting the agreement.

The contract will run for five years and contains an average wage increase of 18.5 percent in the first year, with signing bonuses worth thousands of dollars. It will also bring flight dispatchers’ pensions in line with other unionized worker groups at NetJets and ends at-will employment, replacing it with just-cause protections and access to shop steward and union representation.

“On behalf of the entire Airline Division, I want to commend this group of workers for their unity and resolve in achieving a first contract,” said Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division. “When this unionization effort began five years ago, it was with this outcome in mind: an agreement that would give these workers higher wages, better benefits and more job security. The contract that they will be working under achieves all of these goals.”

“This long battle to raise working standards and conditions for this group of workers has come to an excellent conclusion,” said Paul Suffoletto, President of Teamsters Local 284. “The workers endured a lot over the course of this campaign. They showed toughness and resolve, and were determined to not give up their fight to better themselves. They’ve won and this five-year agreement is a fitting victory prize.”

“Further mediation would be fruitless and counterproductive,” says Kalitta pilot negotiators

After more than five years of negotiations for a new labor agreement with Kalitta Air, LLC, the cargo airline based in Ypsilanti, Michigan, the union representing its pilots and flight engineers informed the National Mediation Board (NMB) that further mediation efforts would be fruitless and counterproductive.

Kalitta Air operates a fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft in support of the global network of DHL Express, a division of the German logistics company, Deutsche Post DHL and other customers. Crew members, represented by the Airline Professionals Association (APA) Teamsters Local 1224, are preparing for a strike.

In a letter to the NMB last week, the Teamsters requested that the agency make a so-called proffer of arbitration to the union and Kalitta Air. Under the Railway Labor Act, if the agency proffers arbitration and both parties accept it, then all disputed contract terms are submitted to binding arbitration for resolution. If either party rejects the proffer, then the NMB must place the parties in a 30-day cooling off period. During the cooling off period, the NMB typically engages in intensive mediation efforts in a final attempt to avoid a work stoppage. Absent intervention by the president of the United States, a union is free to strike at the end of the cooling off period.

“We have reached an impasse in negotiations,” said Scott Nelson, Chairman of the APA Teamsters Local 1224 Kalitta Air Executive Council. “The union has made it clear that we have compromised as far as we can to reach an agreement and that our last proposal was, in fact, final. Yet, Kalitta Air has remained inflexible in its position.”

On May 12, negotiators representing the union and the company met with a federal mediator in St. Louis. The Teamsters offered a compromise proposal to resolve all outstanding issues.  After receiving the proposal, Kalitta Air’s management team left the negotiations site without responding to the union’s proposal or the courtesy of notifying union negotiators that they were returning to Michigan rather than returning to the negotiating session.

“Their actions speak volumes as to why we have been unable to reach an agreement on an amended contract in more than five years of negotiations,” Nelson said. “It is clear that they are intentionally trying to delay reaching a contract.”

Last December, 97 percent of the Kalitta pilots and flight engineers voted to authorize the union to call a strike. According to a recent survey, nearly 90 percent of Kalitta Air pilots would not recommend the airline to other pilots as a good place to build a career.

In May, the pilots overwhelmingly passed a resolution of “no confidence” in management, which stated: "The management of Kalitta Air, by and through their poor judgment, bad labor relations decisions, disrespect for union representatives and contempt for line pilots, has tarnished the good reputation of Kalitta Air." The resolution also accused management of "undermining the ability of Kalitta Air to attract and retain quality pilots in an increasingly tight labor market.”

“The pilots and flight engineers are fed up,” said Daniel C. Wells, President of Teamsters Local 1224. “We have long believed that Kalitta Air’s management team would rather provoke a strike than resolve differences at the bargaining table, regardless of the impact it would have on families and customers. By all appearances, our suspicions are being confirmed.”

Airline Industry News

Governmental and Regulatory

The Federal Aviation Administration will struggle to hit its target of hiring more than 3,400 controllers within two years, according to the Department of Transportation Inspector General's office. The FAA has failed to hit hiring targets for six years in a row.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  is in the process of crafting a broad plan to integrate civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace, with a rule on small commercial drones expected to be finalized as early as this week.

If the House and Senate can't reach a deal on a long-term authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration by the end of this week, a short-term patch that lasts until 2017 is likely, according to a Senate GOP chairman.

Kirk Shaffer, former associate administrator for airports at the Federal Aviation Administration, said a New Jersey plan to hike jet fuel taxes "is illegal on its face." Shaffer writes that federal law requires that "airport revenue stay at the airport for aviation purposes and that state taxes on jet fuel likewise be used only for the State aviation program or airport-related purposes."

Airlines, Industry and Labor

United Continental Holdings is rolling an aggressive plan out to boost profits by $3.1 billion by growing sales and cutting costs. The plan includes generating $1.5 billion in sales, including the addition of an entry-level fare.

FedEx has announced the purchase of six Boeing 767 aircraft that will be delivered beginning in 2019. The 767 freighters are valued at $1.2 billion.

American Airlines will make its first scheduled commercial flight to Cuba on Sept. 7, quickly ramping up service to the long-isolated destination. American has been the largest charter flight operator connecting US travelers to Cuba.

United Airlines is assuring shareholders that a turnaround for the airline is a top priority. CEO Oscar Munoz led a webcast this week highlighting the steps United is taking to win customers and improve the bottom line.

A labor contract deal has been reached between United Continental Holdings and the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. Terms of the deal have not been released, and union leaders must first approve the deal before it can be deemed a "tentative agreement."