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Airline Division News, Week Ending, April 23, 2016

IBT Files for a Temporary Restraining Order against FlexJet / Flight Options

After another flagrant violation of the RLA by management; offering a Voluntary Separation Program (“VSP”) to Flight Options pilots, including furloughed pilots “without the participation or consent” of the Union that pilots elected; on Friday the IBT filed a Motion for Temporary and Preliminary Injunctive Relief in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division.

In the filing, the IBT requests the Court grant immediate injunctive relief ordering the Company to bargain in good faith with the Union and to restore the status quo; namely, rescission of any VSP agreements with individual pilots and acceptance of the Integrated Seniority List. The Motion further seeks that the Court immediately compel the Company to submit to arbitration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) Section 1.9 grievance and the Allegheny-Mohawk Section 13 Labor Protection Provisions (“LPPs”) arbitration and order that said arbitrations occur in an expedited fashion.

In a message to the membership; Captain Efrem Vojta, President of Local 1108 said: “That is a flagrant violation of the Railway Labor Act (“RLA”), which seems to be one of his (Kenn Ricci) favorite pastimes. Management cannot make unilateral changes to the status quo without discussing and agreeing to those changes with the IBT. While the IBT would like to support a VSP, your Union will not agree to small bore, ad hoc fixes to long-term, recurring problems. The proper way for both sides to address the hardships that a furlough creates for pilots is for the parties to sit down and negotiate new furlough protections, as the Union and the RLA demand. Mr. Ricci’s answer in simply refusing to bargain and attempting to roll over the Union’s valid objections by slapping yet another Band-Aid on systemic problems is no answer at all.

The IBT will take all necessary steps and with all haste to force management to honor its legal obligation to negotiate. It is doing this because a majority of pilots have chosen the IBT to negotiate for them collectively, knowing that many pilots bargaining together can achieve more than pilots bargaining alone or waiting for management to address their concerns as they see fit. We are also doing so because that is what federal labor law requires your Union to do.

It is unfortunate that your Union must continually seek relief from a federal judge to force Mr. Ricci and his senior executives at Flight Options and Flexjet to comply with their contractual and legal obligations. It is more than evident that the Company’s legal counsel has been ordered by senior management to stall negotiations over all matters, rather than bargain in good faith, as federal law requires. This is all the more apparent, as evidenced by management’s rejection Thursday of your Union’s proposed enhanced Furloughed Protection Plan (“FPP”), as was described in my letter released late that same night.

In the meantime, please understand that if any Flight Options pilot accepts Mr. Ricci’s purported VSP, there is no guarantee that he will be able to honor its terms. A federal judge may easily decide that management must negotiate with the Union and may order the Company to rescind any VSPs it offered in violation of the RLA –– effectively restoring pilots to their status prior to management’s illegal stunt. This is a serious risk you must consider before you act and get suckered into Mr. Ricci’s web of anti-union intrigue. We are hopeful a federal court will soon be ready to address management’s actions and order them to bargain with the IBT, just as the RLA requires them to do.

We will continue to make every attempt to negotiate on all matters in the best interests of all OneSky pilots –– even if it means every dispute with management must be taken before a federal judge for resolution.”

Strike Vote Plan for ABX, Atlas, Kalitta and Southern Crew Members Announced

Citing of a lack of meaningful progress in negotiations, the ABX ExCo has announced that they will be conducting a strike vote against the management of ABX and ATSG, the holding company that owns ABX.  ABX crews will receive detailed instructions for voting via email, with voting opening April 30th and closing May 12th.

In a message to the membership of Local 1224; which includes ABX, Atlas, Kalitta and Southern Air crewmembers, Local 1224 President Daniel Wells said, “Last Friday, I announced that the members of Atlas and Southern will likewise hold a strike vote, joining their brothers at Kalitta with their 94% vote last fall.” Speaking to the broader issue, Wells said, “This means that by May 12th, four of our carriers, the airlines that make up the majority of DHL’s express network, will most assuredly be operating under the threat of a strike. With the close coordination of the ExCo’s and SPC Committees and with the integrated-like manner of different carrier operations within the DHL system, should one of our properties engage in a lawful self-help (strike), their fellow members at the Local’s carriers will not be able to operate with the threat and danger of struck work. This would severely damage DHL’s worldwide express network.

This reality has been created by the inability of these individual company managements to satisfy the legitimate needs and security of their pilots; all of them using the RLA to squash and undermine the rights of their employees, rather than as a platform to negotiate a CBA in good faith. They have sown what they now reap.

Underlying all of this disruption to the lives of our members and the attempted gutting of your profession and future security is one central actor – DHL.  While a large customer to all of these four carriers, their business comes with a price – a huge, foreign, integrator actively working to lower your wages, quality of life, and the security of your profession and family.”

Atlas Air began voting on April 19th and concludes their vote on May 6th.  Southern Air begins voting on April 30th and concludes their vote on May 12th.

iPods for Wounded Veterans Recognized for Efforts

On Sunday April 17th, iPods for Wounded Veterans was recognized as "Volunteer Service Organization of the Year" by the Bedford (MA) VA Medical Center.

Christine Croteau, VA Bedford Medical Center Director cited iPods for Wounded Veterans, “in recognition of sincere, dedicated and devoted services for veterans cared for at the Bedford VA Medical Center. Your efforts for providing iPods to our wounded veterans and their recognition at the State House acknowledges their importance to the US and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

In commenting on the recognition, iPods for Wounded Veterans Chairman Paul Cardello commented that “A special thanks goes out to Teamster Business Agent David Renshaw Local 769,  Miami, Florida who serves as the organizations US Southern Representative and Teamsters Airline Division Director Captain David Bourne Airline Division, who also serves as a National spokesperson, for their tireless efforts on behalf of iPods for Wounded Veterans.”

Airline Industry News

Governmental and Regulatory

The Senate overwhelmingly passed a long-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday, kicking the measure over to the House, where similar efforts have stalled. In a 95-3 vote, lawmakers approved an amended bill that would greenlight FAA programs through fiscal 2017. The agency’s current legal authority expires on July 15.

Ahead of the busiest travel months of the year, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) urged

TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger to address staffing inefficiencies that may contribute to airport delays and increased wait times.

Airlines, Industry and Labor

American Airlines dispatchers voted to ratify a five-year labor contract. "We rely on our flight dispatchers every single day to ensure safe, reliable and on-time operations for all American Airlines flights," said Lorne Cass, vice president at American. "We are pleased to provide compensation that reflects their contributions toward the airline's success."

United Continental CEO Oscar Munoz said the carrier's new board of directors will offer leadership. "We've really reconstituted the board with some great experience across technology, innovation, certainly the airline experience, that's important," he said.

JetBlue Airways is moving forward with the selection of two dozen finalists for its ab-initio pilot training program. The first six cadets will enter the Gateway Select program in August. JetBlue's Warren Christie said the carrier received more than 1,400 applications for the 24 slots.

IBT Files for a Temporary Restraining Order against FlexJet / Flight Options

After another flagrant violation of the RLA by management; offering a Voluntary Separation Program (“VSP”) to Flight Options pilots, including furloughed pilots “without the participation or consent” of the Union that pilots elected; on Friday the IBT filed a Motion for Temporary and Preliminary Injunctive Relief in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division.

In the filing, the IBT requests the Court grant immediate injunctive relief ordering the Company to bargain in good faith with the Union and to restore the status quo; namely, rescission of any VSP agreements with individual pilots and acceptance of the Integrated Seniority List. The Motion further seeks that the Court immediately compel the Company to submit to arbitration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) Section 1.9 grievance and the Allegheny-Mohawk Section 13 Labor Protection Provisions (“LPPs”) arbitration and order that said arbitrations occur in an expedited fashion.

In a message to the membership; Captain Efrem Vojta, President of Local 1108 said: “That is a flagrant violation of the Railway Labor Act (“RLA”), which seems to be one of his (Kenn Ricci) favorite pastimes. Management cannot make unilateral changes to the status quo without discussing and agreeing to those changes with the IBT. While the IBT would like to support a VSP, your Union will not agree to small bore, ad hoc fixes to long-term, recurring problems. The proper way for both sides to address the hardships that a furlough creates for pilots is for the parties to sit down and negotiate new furlough protections, as the Union and the RLA demand. Mr. Ricci’s answer in simply refusing to bargain and attempting to roll over the Union’s valid objections by slapping yet another Band-Aid on systemic problems is no answer at all.

The IBT will take all necessary steps and with all haste to force management to honor its legal obligation to negotiate. It is doing this because a majority of pilots have chosen the IBT to negotiate for them collectively, knowing that many pilots bargaining together can achieve more than pilots bargaining alone or waiting for management to address their concerns as they see fit. We are also doing so because that is what federal labor law requires your Union to do.

It is unfortunate that your Union must continually seek relief from a federal judge to force Mr. Ricci and his senior executives at Flight Options and Flexjet to comply with their contractual and legal obligations. It is more than evident that the Company’s legal counsel has been ordered by senior management to stall negotiations over all matters, rather than bargain in good faith, as federal law requires. This is all the more apparent, as evidenced by management’s rejection Thursday of your Union’s proposed enhanced Furloughed Protection Plan (“FPP”), as was described in my letter released late that same night.

In the meantime, please understand that if any Flight Options pilot accepts Mr. Ricci’s purported VSP, there is no guarantee that he will be able to honor its terms. A federal judge may easily decide that management must negotiate with the Union and may order the Company to rescind any VSPs it offered in violation of the RLA –– effectively restoring pilots to their status prior to management’s illegal stunt. This is a serious risk you must consider before you act and get suckered into Mr. Ricci’s web of anti-union intrigue. We are hopeful a federal court will soon be ready to address management’s actions and order them to bargain with the IBT, just as the RLA requires them to do.

We will continue to make every attempt to negotiate on all matters in the best interests of all OneSky pilots –– even if it means every dispute with management must be taken before a federal judge for resolution.”

Strike Vote Announced for ABX

Citing of a lack of meaningful progress in negotiations, the ABX ExCo has announced that they will be conducting a strike vote against the management of ABX and ATSG, the holding company that owns ABX.  ABX crews will receive detailed instructions for voting via email, with voting opening April 30th and closing May 12th

Local 1224 Addresses Strike Votes for Carriers operating for DHL

In a message to the membership of Local 1224; which includes ABX, Atlas, Kalitta and Southern Air crewmembers, Local 1224 President Daniel Wells said, “Last Friday, I announced that the members of Atlas and Southern will likewise hold a strike vote, joining their brothers at Kalitta with their 94% vote last fall.” Speaking to the broader issue, Wells said, “This means that by May 12th, four of our carriers, the airlines that make up the majority of DHL’s express network, will most assuredly be operating under the threat of a strike. With the close coordination of the ExCo’s and SPC Committees and with the integrated-like manner of different carrier operations within the DHL system, should one of our properties engage in a lawful self-help (strike), their fellow members at the Local’s carriers will not be able to operate with the threat and danger of struck work. This would severely damage DHL’s worldwide express network. 

This reality has been created by the inability of these individual company managements to satisfy the legitimate needs and security of their pilots; all of them using the RLA to squash and undermine the rights of their employees, rather than as a platform to negotiate a CBA in good faith. They have sown what they now reap.

Underlying all of this disruption to the lives of our members and the attempted gutting of your profession and future security is one central actor – DHL.  While a large customer to all of these four carriers, their business comes with a price – a huge, foreign, integrator actively working to lower your wages, quality of life, and the security of your profession and family.” 

Atlas Air began voting on April 19th and concludes their vote on May 6th.  Southern Air begins voting on April 30th and concludes their vote on May 12th

iPods for Wounded Veterans Recognized for Efforts

On Sunday April 17th, iPods for Wounded Veterans was recognized as "Volunteer Service Organization of the Year" by the Bedford (MA) VA Medical Center.

Christine Croteau, VA Bedford Medical Center Director cited iPods for Wounded Veterans, “in recognition of sincere, dedicated and devoted services for veterans cared for at the Bedford VA Medical Center. Your efforts for providing iPods to our wounded veterans and their recognition at the State House acknowledges their importance to the US and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

In commenting on the recognition, iPods for Wounded Veterans Chairman Paul Cardello commented that “A special thanks goes out to Teamster Business Agent David Renshaw Local 769,  Miami, Florida who serves as the organizations US Southern Representative and Teamsters Airline Division Director Captain David Bourne Airline Division, who also serves as a National spokesperson, for their tireless efforts on behalf of iPods for Wounded Veterans.”

Airline Industry News

Governmental and Regulatory

The Senate overwhelmingly passed a long-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday, kicking the measure over to the House, where similar efforts have stalled. In a 95-3 vote, lawmakers approved an amended bill that would greenlight FAA programs through fiscal 2017. The agency’s current legal authority expires on July 15.

Ahead of the busiest travel months of the year, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) urged

TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger to address staffing inefficiencies that may contribute to airport delays and increased wait times.

Airlines, Industry and Labor

American Airlines dispatchers voted to ratify a five-year labor contract. "We rely on our flight dispatchers every single day to ensure safe, reliable and on-time operations for all American Airlines flights," said Lorne Cass, vice president at American. "We are pleased to provide compensation that reflects their contributions toward the airline's success."

United Continental CEO Oscar Munoz said the carrier's new board of directors will offer leadership. "We've really reconstituted the board with some great experience across technology, innovation, certainly the airline experience, that's important," he said.

JetBlue Airways is moving forward with the selection of two dozen finalists for its ab-initio pilot training program. The first six cadets will enter the Gateway Select program in August. JetBlue's Warren Christie said the carrier received more than 1,400 applications for the 24 slots.