Headline News

Airline Division News, Week Ending February 24, 2013

ASA/XJT Mechanics Show Support at Airline Division-XJT meeting

Airline Division Director David Bourne was in Atlanta on Friday to meet with XJT Chief Operating Officer Brad Holt in an effort to break the log jam that has slowed mechanic contract negotiations to a crawl over the last 12 months. Director Bourne was accompanied by Lead Negotiator and Local 210 Business Agent Bob Luciano, Airline Division Representative Chris Moore and Airline Division Attorney Nick Manicone.

They were met outside of company headquarters by a large and enthusiastic number of ASA/XJT mechanics, stock clerks, family members and supporters from Local 528 carrying picket signs and putting the company on notice that it is time to get a deal done. Commenting on the meeting and support being voice by his members, families and supporters, Local Union 528 Business Agent Johnny Edwards said, “My members are frustrated. Until the company gets serious about these negotiations and we get a good contract, they can expect more of these actions. Enough is enough.”

The company presented a comprehensive proposal that the Airline Division and Negotiating Committee will review next week.

Mediated negotiations will resume in Baltimore the week of February 25th.

Local 1224 Air Safety Efforts Expand to Cover, Assist New Carriers and Other Locals

With the growth of Local 1224; that once contained only one pilot group and now has many, they air safety structure has undergone many changes to improve the levels of service available to the membership. Those changes are also now allowing the group to reach out to their fellow Teamsters at other carriers and locals.

While working within the Local, the committee also works outside the organization. By working with the Airline Division, CAPA (Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations), and others in the industry, they also work as part of the legislative team that is very active on Capitol Hill and with the FAA and NTSB on safety issues that impact the industry. Being a part of that team benefits not just the members of the Local, but the entire aviation community.

Currently, Local 1224 is creating a local-wide “Safety Council” that will be comprised of the Safety Committee Chairmen from each Local 1224 carrier. A critical first step is to take inventory of what is currently in place at each carrier, determine strengths and needs, and then see where other committees may assist with those needs, and benefit from others’ strengths. As they move forward in this process, they will continue to work individually with carriers and their committees, and share information with the Airline Division as it develops.

Recently they participated in a phone conference with members from AmeriJet and Centurion (Local 769), to assist in the formation of air safety committees at those members’ carriers. The prospective chairs of those committees have made initial contact with safety management at their airlines, and will be scheduling meetings to see how a safety committee could work cooperatively with management to enhance safety at their respective carriers.

This coming, they will be in Las Vegas to establish a safety relationship with Local 1224’s newest member; Allegiant, and their safety managers. They look forward to continuing with a positive safety culture already in place at Allegiant, and working cooperatively with management to enhance air safety at the airline even further.

CitationAir Management Proposals Fall Far Short of Industry Standards

For the union negotiators at CitationAir, it has become apparently the management-derived slogan; “CitationAir…Where You Belong” is a printing error as it relates to the company’s pilots. Based upon the latest directives from management, “The bottom of the barrel is where you belong at Citation Air” is a more correct statement.

With high hopes of continuing the progress experienced during the last several months, the union negotiating committee met in Austin, Texas on Monday evening, February 11th to resume bargaining with management for the first collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”). On Tuesday morning, February 12, management briefed the committee on the state of the business; a precursor to CitationAir President Terry Clarks’ very brief Friday informational calls later in the week, namely that CitationAir continues to be a financial drain on the Textron/Cessna balance sheet. Management’s much-heralded new business model—abandoning fractional ownership and jet cards in favor of managed aircraft and charters – isn’t working.

What followed were a series of meetings where the company advised the negotiators of arbitrary changes to work rules that will negatively impact the QOL of the pilots and their families. In essence: more work, more time away from home and no increase in pay. Crews could expect to be away from home an additional 26 days per year and receive no compensation for it.

In response, the union requested specific documents from the company to validate the company proposal. Armed with very sophisticated computer cost modeling, union negotiators were able to identify hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost savings that would have mitigated the new company imposed changes. In fact, enough was left over for a modest increase in pay, while giving the company the flexibility it claims to need. Management rejected those proposals out of hand.

Airline Industry News

Governmental and Regulatory

A bankruptcy judge has scheduled a hearing for March 27 on the matter of the merger of American Airlines and US Airways. The proposed merger also needs to win approval from U.S. antitrust authorities before it becomes final.

Japanese regulators are expanding their investigation into the 787 battery issue to include the aircraft's circuit wiring. Norihiro Goto, chairman of the Japan Transport Safety Board, said the investigative team discovered the battery was connected to the circuit wiring.

Airlines and Industry

United Continental has announced plans to remove the Dreamliner 787 from flight plans through June 5, with the exception of a Denver-to-Tokyo flight scheduled for May. "We deeply regret the impact the recent events have had on the schedule for United and their customers," Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said.

US Airways chairman and CEO Doug Parker met with both pilot unions that will represent pilots at the merged US Airways-American Airlines. Additionally, the unions said their leaders met with each other "to affirm our mutual support of the merger between American Airlines and US Airways."