June 19, 2015
The parties met this week in Las Vegas. The Union worked on finalizing its comprehensive proposal on Tuesday. The work on finalizing the proposal was delayed by the announcement of the closing of JFK at the beginning of the session. After the closure announcement, the committee discussed ways to defend against the loss of positions in JFK. Several ideas were floated, and throughout the week members of the committee, along with the IBT leadership, worked with the Company to accomplish that goal. In addition, the IBT leadership is exploring all possible legal and contractual options in determining the path forward. Updates on this situation will be provided in future articles of the Dispatch.
The IBT passed a comprehensive counter proposal to the Company. After some discussions at the table about the proposal, the Company caucused. When the parties reengaged before lunch, the mediator suggested face to face, across the table discussions regarding the remaining open items could help facilitate progress. Sub-committees were formed quickly to address items that were agreed to in principal but required clarification/amendment to reflect the understandings. Significant progress was made in these small committee meetings.
These committees met again on Thursday and further progress was made, including more complex economic items on several Articles. TA's on the following were signed: Article 2, Article 12, Article 13 and Article 19. These are in addition to Articles addressed and agreed to or TA’d previously during the expedited process at the start of these negotiations. Those previously TA’d articles are Articles 20 and 23, with Articles 21 and 22 agreed to in principal but requiring some minor edits or clarification. Significant progress was also made on Article 5. If not TA’d they will be addressed during the next round of talks. There are still some economic articles that require modification to reach agreement. These articles will be addressed in the coming sessions. Sub-committee discussions were also held to address outstanding issues regarding health and welfare. In addition to the Articles, two LOA’s dealing with Field Trips and Line Premiums were TA'd and an agreement in principal was reached on a station recall rights LOA.
The positive change in the direction of negotiations was refreshing. It was agreed that due to the progress made, sub committees would continue to meet to attempt to finalize several issues prior to the next session. The next round of mediated talks will be the last week of July. At the writing of this Dispatch the location was yet to be determined. As soon as the information is available regarding the city it will be reported here.
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