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Airline Division News, Week Ending, September 24, 2016

Teamsters win Court decision against Amerijet as 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Union

A three-judge panel for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that Amerijet must follow a district court order to arbitrate labor disputes with Teamsters who are temporarily based in the Caribbean. 

This decision is the latest in a series of legal wins for the Teamsters against Amerijet. The union originally sued Amerijet in April 2012 after the company began illegally terminating workers who were stationed overseas under false legal premises. 

“This case was decided in less than a week and the court’s ruling was less than 50 words,” said Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division. “It has been almost a year since the Supreme Court declined to take this baseless case. Enough is enough; this company needs to stop the games and get back to the table to work with the pilots.” 

A copy of the ruling may be found by clicking on the link:

Flight Options/FlexJet Negotiations Continue as Management continues to delay discussions

Negotiations for the Flight Options/FlexJet Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (“JCBA”) resumed on September 13, 2016, in Cleveland, OH. Initially, management indicated their team intended to caucus the first day, “in order to make this week the most productive.” After further discussion, they stated they would meet on Tuesday, if either party had proposals ready for presentation.   

Tuesday the Joint Negotiating Team presented management with the Union’s JCBA proposal for Section 15––Filling of Vacancies. Management provided their concept of an Integrated Collective Bargaining Agreement (“ICBA”) proposal for Section 20––Expenses and Crew Meals. 

Formal discussions concluded with the negotiators inquiring as to the disposition of the long-overdue Company response to the data request from the Union months ago. The requested data is critical to the computer-based model that will be used to analyze and determine the value of future Union JCBA proposals.  

Wednesday afternoon the parties reconvened and the Union negotiators presented a proposal for JCBA Section 13––Crew Bases. Management presented their ICBA proposal for Section 5––Seniority and a companion Letter of Agreement (“LOA”) titled “Integrated Seniority List” (“ISL”); which spawned significant discussion.  

The negotiators inquired about the announced Flairjet operations in the United Kingdom. Specifically, management was asked for aircraft serial numbers and if those Nextant aircraft would begin European operations prior to the end of this year.  The Company’s legal counsel stated he would provide serial numbers and that he believed Nextant operations in Europe would probably not begin prior to the end of the year. 

This session, management amplified their twists and turns of pilot group segregation with their ICBA proposal for Section 20––Expenses and Crew Meals, while also proposing differentiated per diem rates and set apart paid meals. Flight Options pilots would be able to purchase all of meals at the Company’s expense with no limit, while Flexjet pilots would only be allowed dinner. 

The committee reported that management’s proposed ICBA Section 5 is rife with shortcomings that promote a divided pilot workforce. From the very beginning of their proposal, the isolation is apparent, with their first sentence distorting the concept of seniority. As the committee explained to the members; management’s idea of “seniority” is to either abolish it entirely or, at the very least, keep the two pilot groups totally segregated, as they continue their attack on seniority by separating a Red Label pilot’s choice of scheduling and vacation from every other pilot. The intended result of their seniority proposal is very simple to discern, according to the committee; Flight Options pilots would exist in their current world and Flexjet Pilots would exist in their current world of favoritism-based employment when it comes to seniority, meaning they will have no say in the most important facet controlling their working conditions. 

In concluding their message to the membership, the negotiating committee noted; “That brings us full circle. Management started the week with a prophecy of making “this week the most productive.” However, they were only able to produce two regressive ICBA proposals and one unnecessary LOA in three days! They failed to produce a single JCBA proposal during their many hours of sequestered caucus. Productive? Hardly!”

UAL Negotiators, Management to meet at NMB

On September 19th, the National Mediation Board sent a revised meeting notice that reconfirmed the status conference on September 26th and directed the parties to remain in Washington through September 28th to finalize all open issues. The NMB notice also reaffirmed that the NMB’s gag order remains in place, but instructed the parties to disseminate key agreed upon terms of the AIP.   

An update with information on Pay, Retro Pay, Retirement, Vacation, Holidays & Paid Sick Leave, Job Protections, Early Out Program, Medical, Profit Sharing, Duration & Out Year Increases was sent to the membership. Additionally, a Letter of Agreement providing an “industry reset” every two years and then annually, beginning with the amendable date that adjusts pay rates to keep pace with the industry and ensure that United technicians are always at least 2% above AA and DL in total compensation, as established through a defined and agreed criteria, was agreed to.   

UA technician total compensation under the August 12 AIP, per the defined reset formula, would be 5.8% above the industry average of AA and DL.

Airline Industry News 

Governmental and Regulatory

FAA administrator Michael Huerta said FAA is moving quickly to adapt to the demands of new technology, acknowledging that the pace of change is difficult for some in the agency.

Airbus and Boeing have both been given the green light to sell airplanes to Iran in a multibillion-dollar, historic deal, according to the Wall Street Journal. The European-based Airbus became the first manufacturer on Wednesday to receive permission from the U.S. to sell aircraft to Iran since sanctions were lifted on the country as part of an international nuclear deal struck earlier this year. Chicago-based Boeing received similar approval shortly after.

Airlines, Industry and Labor

Atlas Air’s deal with Amazon is set to go ahead after shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour – despite a plea from pilots for greater scrutiny of the contract. 

American Airlines Cargo plans to receive certification from the International Air Transportation Association to transport pharmaceuticals and other healthcare products that must be shipped at cold temperatures. "Our focus is on moving pharmaceuticals safely and efficiently across the globe," said Tom Grubb, manager of cold chain strategy for American's cargo division. 

American Airlines' regional carrier Piedmont Airlines is joining PSA Airlines and Envoy Air in increasing starting pay for pilots to $58,800 a year. All three carriers operate short-haul flights for American. 

FedEx plans to boost hiring for the holidays, aiming to bring on more than 50,000 seasonal workers.  

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines’ international expansion could take it to Canada, and an executive for the company did not rule out eventual transatlantic flights.