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Airline Division News, Week Ending April 22, 2017

Dispatchers for Atlas Air, Polar Air Cargo ratify agreement 

Following a tentative agreement on April 5, 2017, Teamster Flight Dispatchers at Atlas Air, Inc., and Polar Air Cargo have voted to ratify changes to their existing contract. One-hundred percent of the flight dispatchers voted, with 74 percent voting in favor of ratification. 

The amended agreement, which was set to expire in November, has been extended for another four years and becomes amendable on November 12, 2021. The new provisions of the tentative agreement include a 30 percent wage increase over the life of the contract, as well as generous moving provisions for the members affected by the company’s relocation of flight dispatch operations to Cincinnati. 

“I’m very happy to see this agreement ratified,” said Local 210 Principal Officer George Miranda. “We have reached an agreement that’s amenable to everyone involved, and we’re looking forward to having a positive relationship with Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo in the coming years.” 

“The agreement ratified recognizes the relocation needs of the company and helps position it to continue its record of growth and its preeminent position as a world class airline,” said Captain David Bourne, Teamsters Airline Division Director. “I would like to commend the leadership and negotiators, especially the stewards – Dennis Gerber, Bernie Mackey and Yaqub Malik, along with Local 210 Representative Cynthia de Figueiredo, International Representative Captain Paul Alves, Deputy Division Director Steven Nagrotsky and Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo management for their professionalism and diligence in the negotiations.” 

Horizon Air Pilots, Holding Company reach Tentative Agreement 

Horizon Air pilots, have reached a tentative agreement with management that if ratified, will boost pay and help retain pilots. Horizon Air is part of the Alaska Air Group.Officials of Local 1224, whom represents the 675 pilots of the carrier; sued the company in January, saying staffing shortage brought on by low pay had forced the airline to cancel flights, many of which were flown instead by Horizon's corporate sibling, Alaska Airlines.

In the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, the union alleged that the carrier violated the current CBA by offering signing bonuses to attract new pilots. The bonuses began while Horizon was in contract negotiations with the union, which the union said violates federal labor laws. 

The proposed amendment agreement, if ratified, will run with the current contract and become amendable in December 2024. 

NetJets Technicians and Related Send Letter to Berkshire Hathaway’s Buffett and Abel

NetJets aircraft technicians and related employees represented by the Teamsters Airline Division and Teamsters Local 284 are calling on the leaders of NetJets to stop denying workers pay increases and provide the job security that comes with a viable in-house maintenance system. 

The NetJets workers sent a letter to Warren Buffett, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Berkshire Hathaway, and Greg Abel, President, CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, expressing the urgent need to address their concerns. 

NetJets is owned by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. 

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Teamsters Airline Division and Teamsters Local 284 represent mechanics, maintenance control, aircraft fuelers, aircraft cleaners and stock clerks. 

A copy of the letter was also sent to Berkshire Hathaway board member and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the other Berkshire Hathaway board members, and Adam Johnson, CEO of NetJets, Inc. 

While NetJets mechanics, fuelers, cleaners and stock clerks have not received a raise since 2011, Fortune magazine reported that Abel received $17.5 million in pay last year. 

“It’s only right that when our members’ concerns over high levels of maintenance subcontracting and no pay raises fall on management’s deaf ears, they address them directly to Mr. Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway,” said Chris Moore, Chairman of the Teamsters Aviation Mechanics Coalition. “Their letter also drew attention to analyst reports warning of a shortage of qualified aircraft technicians that will start to impact fractional aviation operations like NetJets. NetJets’ refusal to give its own safety workers a raise for six years threatens to drive away the small number of technicians that are actually employed by the company. Tens of millions of dollars in executive compensation only adds insult to injury.” 

NetJets Aviation, Inc. and NetJets Sales, Inc. only employ 111 aircraft mechanics to work on its fleet of approximately 400 aircraft. By comparison, major airlines often employ up to 10 mechanics for every one aircraft. 

The letter also accused NetJets of trying to “drive away qualified mechanics and support workers” in favor of subcontracting critical repair work on NetJets aircraft, despite customer expectations and workers’ job security. Highly skilled in-house NetJets aircraft technicians and maintenance support workers say they are forced to compete for work performing critical maintenance with subcontractors. 

“Our highly skilled technicians and support workers informed Berkshire Hathaway that NetJets is demanding that they accept wages that are far below those of their peers, including airlines that Mr. Buffett has a stake in, such as United, Continental, American, Delta and Southwest,” said Local 284 President Mark Vandak. “NetJets is even demanding that the workforce give up their one and only paid personal day. There is outrage on the shop floor over this greed and mistreatment.” 

Contract negotiations resume on May 17th in Columbus, Ohio. 

Southwest Airlines material specialists reach tentative agreement

The negotiating team for Southwest Airlines material specialists has reached a tentative agreement to amend their current collective bargaining agreement with the carrier. The agreement marks an end to a successful round of negotiations that originally began in September of 2013 that led to an agreement-in-principle on March 3, 2017. 

The agreement, if ratified by the membership, includes a 20 percent signing bonus, 8 percent pay increases effective on the date of ratification and an average of 27.3 percent pay increases over the lifetime of the agreement. The new agreement also eliminates the two-tier pay scale and the 21-year maximum salary cap by creating a new 11-year scale.  

A copy of the highlights and the full tentative agreement will be sent to each member for review, along with a timeline and instructions for voting. The current collective bargaining agreement covers more than 300 material specialists that deliver, store and stock aircraft parts. The agreement covers members of Teamsters Locals 19, 986, 455,104, 781, 769 and 210. 

Airline Industry News 

Governmental and Regulatory

The Trump administration is working on a far-reaching infrastructure program that would incentivize projects and speed up approvals for upgrades to transportation infrastructure. "We're going to try and take that process from a minimum of 10 years down to one year," the president said. 

Airlines, Industry and Labor

UPS has bought

used Boeing 767 aircraft to be used in meeting its immediate demands for package shipments. 

United Airlines is performing

a comprehensive review of its training practices, saying it will share the results of the review by April 30 and has already instituted a policy of engaging law enforcement only in cases involving flight safety and security. 

JetBlue and Boeing have invested in Zunum Aero, a startup that is working on building an electric-powered aircraft with a 1,000-mile range by 2030. Zunum says one of its goals is to allow for more routes between smaller airports.