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Airline Division News, Week Ending December 12, 2015

UAL SFMC Engine Shop certification reflects team's quality

The San Francisco Maintenance Center has been awarded AS9100 quality management certification covering Engine Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO), which includes the Landing Gear shop. The certification is an important endorsement of how we repair and overhaul some of our most critical assets.

The certification recognizes the contributions of roughly 745 Engine Maintenance employees on three shifts as well as several hundred others from departments including Engineering, Facilities Maintenance, Inspection, Supply Chain and others.

The certification is a testament to the professionalism and dedication of about 1,000 employees, said Engine MRO Managing Director Dave Van Wart.

"The auditors understand this is a very cross-functional group, and they were very candid about expecting that all our employees on the shop floor would understand our quality programs," Dave said. "They reported they were very impressed with our operation, with our facilities, and with our employees' commitment to quality."

Quality Management Systems Senior Staff Representative Rich Dymer, who coordinated the certification effort over several months, also said the primary audit, which covered four days, resulted in a total of just five findings of things to be corrected. "They told us that was remarkably low for an operation of our size and complexity."

In addition to confirming for customers and employees the quality of the work done at the shop, which is validated every day through the reliability of the engines and landing gear on our aircraft, the certification makes the Engine Shop an even stronger candidate for outside work. An increasing number of potential customers now demand AS9100 certification before they will even consider a provider.

Source: 12/11/15, 19:37

Kalitta Pilots Authorize Strike

Pilots employed by Kalitta Air, LLC, have voted overwhelmingly, 213-7, to authorize a strike against their airline.

Kalitta Air operates a fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft in support of the global network of DHL Express, a division of the German logistics company, Deutsche Post DHL.  Ninety-two percent of eligible pilots voted in the referendum. Ninety-seven percent of voting pilots voted to authorize a strike. The pilot group is represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Airline Division, Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224.

“The pilots of Kalitta Air have sent a strong message to the airline’s management and their customers, including DHL, and potential customers,” said Scott Nelson, the elected chairman of the APA Teamsters Local 1224 Kalitta Air Executive Council. “Our members are prepared to strike over management delay tactics, violations of federal law, mistreatment of pilots and their continuing refusal to agree to a significantly-improved labor contract.”

Negotiations between the union and management started in October 2010.  The company delayed responding to union wage and benefit proposals for more than two-and-half years. On Oct. 30, 2015, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan issued an injunction against the carrier for violating federal labor laws. Union communications have complained about persistent unprofessional conduct by managers and expressed alarm over the number of pilots that are considering leaving Kalitta Air for other airlines. 

ABX Air, Inc., Atlas Air, Inc. and Southern Air, Inc. also perform flight operations in support of the DHL Express global network. Following the announcement of the strike authorization vote, union leadership at those carriers pledged to support the Kalitta pilots in the event of a strike.

“Gone are the days when pilots viewed one another as competitors in a race to the bottom that benefits our employers at the expense of our own paychecks and profession,” said Daniel C. Wells, president of APA Teamsters Local 1224.  “Carriers like Kalitta need to make major improvements to pilot pay, benefits and working conditions if they are to retain and attract quality pilots and ultimately survive the worsening pilot shortage. This is true for all of the carriers where Local 1224 represent pilots. Status quo violations and uncompetitive pay and benefits will produce strikes and disruptions of customer networks, not labor peace and stability.” Contract negotiations are currently subject to mediation efforts by the National Mediation Board.

“Kalitta pilots want to be treated with professional respect and work under a labor contract that is comparable to those of our peers at other airlines,” Nelson said.  “Unfortunately, management seems stuck in the past and continues to insist on substandard terms and conditions of employment as a better course of action.  They need to change course before it’s too late.”  

TMC Pilots Negotiations Continue

Negotiations for the TMC pilots Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) resumed on Tuesday, December 1, 2015. The Union’s negotiating team met in caucus during the morning to prepare a number of proposals, including a counter-proposal for Section 21 (Grievance Procedures) and an initial proposal for Section 13 (Home Bases).

The parties discussed several reported incidents where attempts were made to inappropriately contact pilots while in rest. Management committed to do a better job of making sure Flight Tracking is properly trained and follows the FAA’s rules regarding contacting pilots when in rest.

The negotiators then presented the Union’s counter-proposal for Section 21 and the initial proposal for Section 13. As a result of the discussions regarding rest, your negotiators began preliminary work on Section 28 (Hours of Service).

On Wednesday, the parties were advised that the FAA had approved the ASAP MOU the parties signed during the very first bargaining session on June 2, 2015. With this confirmation, the Union is a full participant in the ASAP program. A primary and alternate pilot selected by the TMC Pilots Master Executive Council (TMC-MEC) will now participate as the employee representative party on the Event Review Committee (ERC).

The Company passing counter-proposals to the union on Sections 13 and 21, Section 25 (Medical Examination), Section 18 (Union Representation), Section 2 (Management Rights) and LOA-18-001—(Negotiations Protocol). During the discussions that followed, the parties’ positions moved much closer together regarding the handful of open items in Sections 2, 21 and 25. 2

A Tentative Agreement (TA) was reached on Section 2, followed by your Union’s counter-proposal on Section 25.

After a brief recess, TA’s were reached on Sections 21 and 25, and LOA-02-001, concluding bargaining for this session. The parties will meet again on January 12th -14th, 2016 in Elkhart, IN.

Airline Division Director Raises over $10,000 for Wounded Troops

For most people, the idea of a vacation conjures images of sun soaked beaches, time with family and relaxing away from work. Planning his vacation earlier this year, Airline Division Director David Bourne had another thought on his mind; our wounded American troops and what he could do to make their lives a little brighter.

Local 769 Business Agent David Renshaw introduced him to “iPods for Wounded Veterans,” a nonprofit that provides iPods and other devices to our wounded troops so they can listen to music during their rehabilitation or simply communicate with their families. After spending time visiting our wounded veterans at military hospitals, Chairman Bourne was focused on one goal; what more could he do for those men and women?

Instead of spending his first vacation in many years relaxing, he embarked on a fundraising walk for the wounded veterans. Not just any walk however; a grueling walk across the length of Scotland, from sea to sea in twelve days.

The walk was not along paved roads, but the rocky, mountainous and sometimes very treacherous trails that provided daily doses of rain, wind, ice and the ever present fog. Unlike places like the Appalachian Trail; well marked and providing shelters along the way to escape the elements, the Scottish Highland trails afforded no such luxuries, meaning he had to be headed off the trail before dark to a local village or risk being stuck on the trail in bone chilling cold and no shelter from the elements.

“There wasn’t a day that went by that someone didn’t tell me I was crazy,” said Bourne with a laugh. “People who had hiked the trail for years said that no one ever did the entire trek in such a short period of time. I didn’t have much choice; I only had two weeks of vacation, including travel time over and back,” he said.

What got him through he said were his thoughts of the troops he had met. "What I was doing was nothing compared to the pain and sacrifices they had made for us. There were nights when I was really beat up; but I’d get to a place with internet access and there were so many messages of thanks and support from those troops, their families, my family, fellow Teamsters and friends that gave me the focus to push on. And along the way, the kindness of the Scottish people who found out why I was walking; their encouragement and especially one B&B owner who was also a volunteer fireman who got me a badly needed brace I needed for my twisted ankle,” he continued. “That’s what I’ll remember.”

The payoff for the wounded veterans was well worth the pain in the end. Over $10,000 was raised for iPods for Wounded Veterans with the walk. An all volunteer group with no overhead, all the money raised was used to purchase electronic notepads and music devices for the troops that have spent in some cases, years in military hospitals enduring multiple surgeries and rehab so that they can someday go home to their families.

Last week, after several cancelled attempts due to his busy schedule, Airline Division Director Bourne was recognized by iPods for Wounded Veterans and General President James Hoffa for his efforts. On the steps of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, General President Hoffa and Bourne presented a ceremonial check for over $10,000 to iPods for Wounded Veterans.

True to form, the ceremony was brief. Director Bourne and many of those present, including fellow members of the organization who are also Teamsters; headed off to Walter Reed/Bethesda Naval Medical Center to hand out more devices to the wounded. “These troops are the heroes,” said Bourne. “Day in and day out, they tough it out in their rehabilitation. You don’t hear any complaining about what happened to them. It’s their brother and sisterhood. They stand tighter as one, not wanting and in fact, refusing sympathy. They are America.”

“This is a cause I will be part of for the rest of my life,” Bourne continued. I encourage all Teamsters to become involved and support this great organization and our troops. It will change your life, I promise.”

Front row Left to right Wayne Fox- Co-chairman” iPods for Wounded Veterans,” General President James Hoffa, Airline Division Director David Bourne, Paul Cardello, member- Local 170, Chairman ” iPods for Wounded Veterans” Vietnam vet- USAF (ret’d.)

Back row left to right  Kathleen McKenna- Board of Directors of “iPods for Wounded Veterans,” John Parker- Army Vietnam-Veterans liaison officer “iPods for Wounded Veterans,” Elena Barbera - Board of Directors of “iPods for Wounded Veterans,” Mayreen Jorden- Writer - “iPods for Wounded Veterans,” Joseph Zuffante-Army Vietnam-retired TLU 122.

Airline Industry News

Governmental and Regulatory

According to the US Government Accountability Office, the Federal Aviation Administration's progress on NextGen faces challenges from budget instability. "NextGen implementation in future years is dependent upon timing and amount of future appropriations, according to the FAA," said the study.

National Air Traffic Controllers Association President Paul Rinaldi  expressed his concerns over the Federal Aviation Administration's inability to meet its air traffic controller hiring goals, due to the current status quo governance structure and unreliable funding mechanism. "Bureaucratic inertia is slowing the hiring process, and at the worst possible time," said Rinaldi.

Airlines, Industry and Labor

United Airlines pledged to offer credits to corporate customers if the carrier does not meet on-time reliability goals. "Over the past year, we have been intensely focused on delivering a best-in-class operation, and have invested heavily in our products, our planes, and our people to accomplish that goal," United said in a statement.