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Airline Division News, Week Ending November 3, 2012

Editor's Note: Due to Hurricane Sandy, the Week in Review did not publish. The Airline Division expresses its best wishes for our members, families and all affected for their safety and a speedy recovery.

NJA Dispatchers Deal with Contempt of Company Negotiators during Attempts at Bargaining

Repeated attempts to bargain in good faith by the negotiators for the NJA Flight Dispatchers have been rebuffed by a management team that has shown no good faith whatsoever in the process. This point was again driven home in the last negotiating session when management refused to allow a member of the negotiating committee who was across the hall, from attending the session.

“The union has presented three articles to the company, all containing the same language that is already in force and agreed to by management in existing NetJet contracts,” said Fred Larkins, the lead negotiator. “Each came back with wordsmithing, edits and outright deletions and changes that were intentionally unreasonable. The language was not new, they already use it with the Mechanics and Flight Attendants,” Larkins continued. “Now, according to the companies lead negotiator, it is ‘unreasonable and unheard of,’ who is he trying to fool?”

“At present, the company is understaffed by 5 dispatchers and 1 Meteorologist, positions they have refused to fill and appear to have no intention of filling to ensure the department is properly staffed and our customers get the level of service they are paying a lot of money for. Managements solution was to tell us that no member of the union could be on full time union work because of the ‘undue burden’ it would place on the company,” Larkins commented further.

“What has become abundantly clear is the level of contempt and disrespect that management holds for the Flight Dispatchers,” said International Representative Paul Alves. “While they have claimed publicly to want an agreement in a ‘quick and timely manner,’ the facts clearly prove otherwise. From their refusal to allow a union bulletin board in a company where the CEO loves metrics and there are bulletin boards everywhere you look, to their  refusal to agree to language they already have in place for other employee groups, and  the dismissive demeanor exhibited to a group of professionals who are a critical part of the safety of each NetJets flight, it is clear that the intent of the company negotiators; for whatever reason, is to drag out discussions while they anger their loyal employees and cost the company money.”

“Our intent and hope was that the company was serious about wanting to rapidly conclude a fair agreement and to that end, we had offered to do so and help them save money by conducting all negotiations at their headquarters. They have now indicated that is not their intent and that wasting company finances are of no concern; therefore we will honor that request and return to the practice of alternating discussions between their offices and the IBT offices in Washington, DC,” said Alves. “Whether cooler heads in NetJets management will prevail, we don’t know. We will continue to work with the NetJet negotiators to keep all of their options open,” he concluded.

NetJets Tells Dispatchers They Can’t Vote During Work, In Violation of Ohio Law

In what appears to be an attempt to pressure employees on voting, the Domestic Flight Dispatchers of NetJets (Local 284) were advised by email that if they intended to vote, they needed to do so on their own time.

Title 35 of the Ohio Code (ORC 3599.06) revised on October 1, 1953 code says:

“No employer, his officer or agent, shall discharge or threaten to discharge an elector for taking a reasonable amount of time to vote on election day; or require or order an elector to accompany him to a voting place upon such day; or refuse to permit such elector to serve as an election official on any registration or election day; or indirectly use any force or restraint or threaten to inflict any injury, harm, or loss; or in any other manner practice intimidation in order to induce or compel such person to vote or refrain from voting for or against any person or question or issue submitted to the voters.

“Given what are expected to be historically long lines on Election Day and Ohio’s recent blatant attempts at voter suppression, this memo is troubling,” said Fred Larkins, a member of the negotiating committee. The fact that lines will be so long and it will take time does not guarantee our members will be able to vote before or after their shift, and the company is now telling us that we will not be allowed time during shift to do so; a clear violation of Ohio law,” he continued.

“While we were certainly more than disappointed by the recent actions of management at our bargaining session; refusing to agree to common language from the other groups and generally developing a very argumentative approach towards us when we seek to find common ground and an agreement that benefits our members and our company, this is clearly troubling, but not unexpected,” he went on to say.

“Our members have a legal right as Americans and as citizens of the State of Ohio to vote in accordance with the law, and we expect the company to honor the law as well. We hope they will reconsider their memo and agree that they too are bound by the laws of Ohio and the United States,” Larkins concluded.

Airline Industry News

Employees across the country from United Holdings have temporarily moved to the Northeast to help the airline recover from superstorm Sandy. It will be "a number of days" before the airline returns to full operation, said a United spokeswoman. Crain's Chicago Business

TNT Express is exploring its options for selling its interest in its TNT Airways subsidiary, should the merger with United Parcel Service be approved.

Newark Liberty and JFK international airports have opened with reduced schedules, and airlines expect LaGuardia Airport to open as well.

Pilots for American Airlines held what one union representative termed a "unity march" Wednesday at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to demonstrate the pilots' unified stance as union and airline officials continue contract negotiations.

Boeing has pushed back its delivery of a 787 Dreamliner jet to United Continental due to "unexpected delivery delays," said United spokeswoman Christen David, who added that the carrier expects subsequent planes to be delayed as well.

FedEx is forecasting a 13% increase in business over the holiday season this year, and the company plans to hire 20,000 seasonal workers in response.