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Airline Division News, Week Ending November 23, 2014

Arbitrator Issues Ruling in the Republic, Midwest Flight Attendant Seniority Integration

The Teamsters Airline Division and Teamsters Local 135 prevailed in the Midwest Seniority Integration Arbitration on November 18, when labor arbitrator Homer C. La Rue found the Teamsters’ proposal to be the most “fair and equitable” method to integrate Republic and former Midwest flight attendants.

Arbitrator La Rue rejected the Midwest Committee’s proposals to place all 163 former Midwest flight attendants at the top of the Republic seniority list based upon “date of hire,” finding that this proposal was fundamentally unfair. Instead, he used the ratio approach advanced by the Teamsters, dovetailing former Midwest flight attendants on the list after Republic flight attendants who were on the payroll as of June 23, 2009, when Midwest was acquired by Republic.

The seniority integration dispute arose in 2009 after Republic purchased Midwest, which was on the “cusp of extinction.” The parties agreed in 2013 to arbitrate remaining seniority issues before a neutral arbitrator. 

In January 2014, the IBT and Local 135 presented the case before the arbitrator in two long days of hearing in Washington D.C.  Teamster witnesses Mathew Fazakas, Nicole Zimmer and expert witness Robert Mann Jr., testified in support of the Teamsters’ proposal for a fair and equitable integration and against the Midwest Committee’s proposal to “end-tail” nearly all Republic flight attendants.   

The arbitration award issued November 18 establishes three tiers for integration: 1) Republic flight attendants who were hired on or before June 23, 2009, will not be affected by the integration at all; 2) 163 former Midwest flight attendants that were not on furlough at the time of the merger of the airlines will be integrated with Republic flight attendants hired between June 24, 2009, and April 17, 2013, via a ratio method; 3) furloughed Midwest flight attendants will be integrated on the list after the 163 active former Midwest flight attendants. This is the same approach found to be fair in the Frontier seniority integration and the Republic pilots’ arbitration award.

No flight attendant will be bumped from position. The former Midwest flight attendants will be eligible for recall by Republic to open positions where vacancies exist. It is anticipated that this will have minimal effect on current Republic flight attendants.

Commenting on the decision, Airline Division Director David P. Bourne commented, “Mergers are never an easy process. I would like to welcome the former Midwest flight attendants to the Airline Division and pledge that we will work hard in making this transition positive for everyone.”

Airline Division Attends IAC Address by Norwegian Air Shuttle CEO

This past Thursday, Airline Division Director Captain David P. Bourne attended the International Aviation Club luncheon in Washington. The guest speaker was Bjorn Kos, CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle. Kos addressed the industry and spoke to the recent discussions that have kept his low cost carrier from operating in the U.S.

Airline Division Director Meets with Centurion over Payroll Issue

Airline Division Director Captain David P. Bourne went to Miami on Friday for an emergency meeting over a concern that the paychecks for Centurion's pilots had not been paid. Commenting on the situation today, Bourne said, “As of today, it appears that the situation has been resolved, however we will continue to monitor events.”

Airline Industry News

Governmental and Regulatory

Calvin Scovel III, the Department of Transportation's inspector general, delivered a report on the Federal Aviation Administration to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. "In general, FAA is not using businesslike practices to improve its operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. As a result, FAA has experienced significant increases in its costs without appreciable increases in controller productivity," he said.

The Obama administration's revisions to no-fly list procedures should be completed by Jan. 16. The administration is updating procedures to comply with a federal court ruling that stated travelers have a right to verify their inclusion on the list so that they may lodge an appeal.

Airlines, Industry and Labor

American Airlines intends to let arbitrators decide in a dispute over their flight attendants contract, as it said it would do if members of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants rejected a tentative agreement. They also set a Friday, November 21st deadline for APA leaders to accept a “framework” for a new contract. Otherwise, it has said it will set the arbitration process in motion.

An editorial in the Garden Island in Hawaii says more than eighty five years of service by Hawaiian Airlines is cause for celebration, as the airlines has helped boost tourism to the islands. "We've come a very long way since 1929, and being able to celebrate 85 years of continuous service is an exceptional achievement in itself for Hawaiian Airlines," said Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines.

Frontier Airlines plans to trim flights at Denver International Airport because of the high cost of doing business in the Mile High City. Frontier CEO Dave Siegel said taxes have "doubled in the last two years and (Denver) airport landing fees are up 30 percent over the past three years. The cumulative effect of these increasing costs is that connecting traffic is no longer profitable for our airline."

Boeing has launched the latest round of ecoDemonstrator testing using a 787-8 flight test aircraft loaded with 25 new technologies. The aircraft, with serial number ZA004, completed first test flight on 17 November.

In honor of Thanksgiving, the offices of the Airline Division will be CLOSED on Thursday, November 27th and Friday, November 28th.

On behalf of the Officers and staff of the Airline Division, we would like to extend our best wishes to each of you and your families for a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

The office will re-open for regular business on Monday, December 1, 2014.