United Airlines Flight Simulator Technician and Related Negotiations Update
This week concluded the first week of negotiations with management for the Flight Simulator Technicians and Related Amalgamated agreement. The union passed Articles 7 (Hours of Service), 13 (Training), 14 (Safety & Health), 18 (Union Security), 19 (Grievance Procedure), 20 (Board of Arbitration) and the Required, Consent Decree Notice. Management passed back counters on Articles 13, 18, 19 and 20.
The next negotiating session scheduled in Houston, Texas the week of March 17th.
In a message to members this week, Local 19 President and Business Manager Bob Clever said, “It is important to note, just as the Technicians and Related, this group has demonstrated cohesiveness in their resolve to best represent our fellow members. I appreciate everyone’s understanding being afforded these general updates as we will not go in detail on the proposals until we get a finished product.”
Republic TA Package Being Prepared for Distribution; Roadshows Being Scheduled and Electronic Vote Announced
On Friday, February 28, 2014 a draft copy of the February 14, 2014 Tentative Agreement (TA) that was reached with Republic management was sent to Washington, DC for printing. The TA, including all associated Letters of Agreement (LOA) and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), will be duplicated and included in the packet of information that will be distributed to the Republic Teamsters membership in preparation for their ratification vote. A summary of TA highlights, examples and flow-charts will also be included as part of the TA information packet.
The TA information packet, including voting information, will be put in the mail to the membership by March 7, 2014. Voting will be conducted electronically, with the results of the ratification vote announced on March 28, 2014.
The IBT Negotiating Team is also finalizing the details of scheduling live “Road Show” presentations for the Republic Pilots around the country to help familiarize them with the terms of the TA. The majority of these presentations will occur during the last two weeks of March. They will be conducted by the Republic Pilot members of the IBT Negotiating Team who are each prominent officials of Local 357, which represents the Republic Pilots. The times and places will be published as soon as they are confirmed, with all presentations taking place prior to the ratification vote deadline. All Republic Pilots should make plans to attend.
Sub ASA Technicians and Related Discussions Continue
Negotiations for a stand-alone Technician and Related, Subsidiary ASA contract resumed this week in Atlanta with the Union and the Company meeting in Federal Mediation. Robert Breaux, the new Business Agent for Local 528 joined the Union Negotiating Team this week.
The Company has yet to respond to the unions’ proposal that the union is interested in accepting their offer of additional wages and work rules with the understanding that it would only apply to the S-ASA side.
Negotiations continued with the Union and the Company exchanging passes on Section 7 (Hours of Service), and Section 10 (Leaves of Absence). Although no tentative agreements were reached this week, substantial progress was reported on both Sections 7 and 10. The Union also worked on Section 3 (Classifications).
For the Stand-Alone Sub-ASA contract, Tentative Agreements on the following Articles 4 (Seniority), 5 (Filling of Vacancies), 6 (Reduction in Force and Recall), 13 (Training), 14 (Health and Safety), 16 (Moving Expenses), 20 (Grievance Procedure), 21 (Board of Arbitration) and the Interim Agreement which gives the members a process to fight Discipline and Discharge up to and including Arbitration.
The next scheduled meetings with the Company are tentatively planned for the week of April 1, 2014.
Talks also continue in mediation on the Sub-XJT side. If at some point during the Mediation process it is determined to be advantageous to the members, the union will consider offers from the Company for a combined agreement for the S-ASA and S-XJT Mechanic and Related work group.
GAO Releases 2014 Aviation Workforce Report
In response to the Friday release of the 2014 Aviation Workforce Report on the “Current and Future Availability of Airline Pilots”, Teamsters Airline Division Director Capt. David Bourne issued the following statement:
I’m pleased that the GAO has confirmed what we in the airline industry have known for years – the starting wage structure in the regional airline industry has not only kept qualified pilots away, it has deterred many from entering the field.
In a field that requires not only an extremely high level of training and professionalism and, unlike others, requires semi-annual proficiency checks and medical evaluations –with a failure of either potentially ending a pilot’s career – the current levels of pay for many in the regional industry are inexcusable.
The issue causing the shortage is not a lack of skill; it is the inability for many pilots to survive on wages below the poverty level. When faced with that reality and the investment of the money and time required to enter the industry, there is no incentive for them to make the commitment. It is time for the industry to recognize pilots for the professionals they are and compensate them accordingly. When we see pilots paid in a manner commensurate with their skills, training and professionalism, we will see the shortage abate.
Airline Industry News
Governmental and Regulatory
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said airport congestion could cost airlines $63 billion in lost revenue by 2040 if further investments in NextGen are not implemented, citing a study by the American Society of Civil Engineers. "There is no project in aviation with the potential to improve efficiency more than NextGen," Foxx said.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on Wednesday gave the U.S. Department of Justice until March 10 to finish up its response to comments made by interested parties to the US Airways-American Airlines merger.
Charles Keegan, who leads transportation training and integration solutions at Raytheon, said the U.S. should improve training for air traffic controllers to reflect modern technologies.
Airlines, Industry and Labor
American Airlines and US Airways will give employees profit sharing bonuses in March. "Eligible employees of legacy American will share a total of $85 million and legacy US Airways employees will share a total of $124 million," American Airlines Group said in a Q&A sent to employees.
Brian Bedford, the chairman and CEO of Republic Airways, said he has no plans to acquire jets from American Airlines. Last week, an analyst predicted that Republic might pick up jets that were previously destined for American Eagle.
American and USAirways pilots face numerous challenges as they begin the process of integrating seniority.
Global airport passenger traffic grew 3.9% in 2013, matching the growth rate reported by Airports Council International (ACI) at the end of 2012.
Worldwide air freight traffic grew 1% in 2013, a modest improvement from the 0.2% drop in freight traffic reported by ACI for 2012.
Boeing is seeking buyers for an early model of its 787 Dreamliner. The aircraft manufacturer has 11 787s parked near Seattle, Wash., as the aircraft await acquisition.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said the carrier sees a "host of expansion opportunities" this year, including the expiration of the Wright Amendment in October. "To me this is like 1971 Southwest Airlines all over again," he said.