Headline News

Airline Division News, Week Ending May 11, 2013

Teamsters File for Election for USAirways Mechanics

On Tuesday, May 7th, US Airways mechanics and related held a press conference in Charlotte, NC where they announced the Teamsters had filed for a representation election with the National Mediation Board. This is big news for the Teamsters, the Airline Division, the TAMC, and the 4,000 US Airways mechanics and related who have been running a strong campaign since October of last year.  After years of weak representation under the IAM, the mechanics are ready to become Teamsters. This filing puts the Teamsters one step closer to representing mechanics at the world’s largest airline as US Airways merges with American Airlines.

Click here to read the TAMC Teamster Aviation Professional Special Edition report on this great milestone.

As the Teamster Aviation Professional reports, this has been a months-long effort by rank-and-file USAirways mechanics who have suffered years of weak IAM representation and are ready to become Teamsters. “Because of the Teamsters’ solid, documented track record of excellent representation, the Teamsters Union is the best and most logical choice to represent us for the future as professionals in the airline industry,” Jim Blanton, a 25-year USAirways mechanic, announced at the press event in Charlotte with mechanics and related workers from other airports across the country.

The TAMC has been supporting the USAirways mechanics Teamster drive since the beginning. “Today’s filing is a big step toward growing the ranks for the TAMC to over 30,000 mechanics. That gives us huge power to fight for the aviation mechanics craft nationwide,” said TAMC Chair Chris Moore.

“We have seen what the Teamsters have achieved at other airlines, including United and Continental,” said Ted Vallandingham, an inspector at USAirways in Pittsburgh and 29-year employee. “We want a strong union backing us up so that we have a strong voice at work, at the bargaining table and when we have to face off with management.”

“I want to congratulate the US Airways mechanics who started this campaign to become Teamsters,” said TAMC Chair Chris Moore. “This has truly been a rank-and-file mechanic-led organizing effort. The workers have been running a phenomenal campaign with the help of the Teamsters Organizing Department, the Airline Division and the TAMC.”

Meanwhile, the ongoing Teamster campaign by mechanics at American Airlines continues on track and the 11,000 American Airlines mechanics organizing to become Teamsters will soon be joining their brothers and sisters at US Airways by filing for their Teamster election as well. American mechanics, who have endured years of concessions under the TWU, have been organizing since June of last year.

Teamsters Airline Division Director David Bourne also congratulated the US Airways mechanics who launched their campaign last year to seek industry-leading representation with the Teamsters.

“With more than 4,000 mechanics and related across the country, the workers have been building toward majority support to change their representation from the IAM to the Teamsters. They now have a substantial majority of Teamster cards signed among both active and furloughed mechanics,” Bourne commented. “Just as we proud of the mechanics and are confident of our victory at USAirways; I am confident of the dedication and hard work of the mechanics at American and I am sure we will win there as well,” he concluded. 

It is expected that the NMB will hold an election at USAirways within the next 90 days.

ExpressJet Mechanics Raise Questions at Shareholders Meeting

Earlier this week, three ExpressJet Teamsters and a representative from the IBT Capital Strategies Department attended the SkyWest annual shareholder meeting. “We confronted the Board of Directors about our concerns,” said Alan Moritz, a mechanic from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Moritz distributed to the Board the results of a recent mechanics safety survey in which 67% of ExpressJet mechanics reported that they have witnessed problems caused by maintenance being outsourced. Nearly fifty percent of mechanics reported that they do not have the equipment needed to do their jobs properly and efficiently.

The results seemed to be of great interest and concern to the SkyWest Board, most of all to the Chair of the Safety & Compliance Committee. The Teamsters also asked questions at the meeting about integrating ExpressJet and ASA into SkyWest and about compensating employees fairly.

Mechanics Mike Wilson (IAH), Luis Plazas (IAH) and Alan Moritz (BTR) voiced their concerns at the SkyWest annual meeting on Tuesday.

"Our intent in presenting facts to the board was to bring to light serious concerns our members have about safety and the inability to properly do the most important job they are tasked with; ensuring aircraft are properly maintained and safe for the traveling public,” said Chris Moore, Chair of the TAMC. “The mechanics felt that their concerns have been dismissed at the airline level and felt the only way to make sure the concerns were heard was to address the meeting. We are hopeful, based on what we saw, that the issues will now be addressed. We look forward to meeting with the Board's Safety and Compliance Committee Chairman at anytime," he concluded.

UAL Discussions Continue, with Medical, Pensions and Seniority

This past week was very busy for the UAL subcommittees, who held meetings involving benefits including medical and pensions. Discussions between the parties that began last week continued into this week’s round of meetings. While talks progressed and came closer in some areas, there are still many yet to be agreed to. The union subcommittee meetings were assisted by Cheiron actuaries Gaelle Gravot and Jim Holland and were facilitated by Pat Sims from the NMB. Discussions will continue the week of May 13th in Chicago. 

Representatives from the Seniority Committee met with the company on Wednesday to discuss plans to create the new seniority list. Julianne Cooney, UA Senior Analyst – Labor Relations, and Mark Prpich – UA Labor Relations were on hand to discuss the many issues and concerns in combining the three lists in to one. The two member union committee will assist the company next week in creating a comprehensive accurate list which will be available for review should the negotiating committee reach a tentative agreement. 

NetJets Discussions Update

Discussions for the NetJets contract continued with the company on May 9th. The session consisted of discussions surrounding Article 22, (Job Classification) with the company responding to the Unions last proposal. The Union and the Company were able to reach Tentative Agreements on Article 11, (Separability and Savings Clause) and Article 15, (Non-Discrimination).

The Union also provided the Company with proposals on Article 8, (Grievance Procedure) and Article 9, (Board of Arbitration).

In attendance for the Union at the meetings were Chris Moore and IBT Attorney Nick Manicone for the Airline Division and negotiating team members Paul Suffoletto, John Wolfe, Isaac Thielman and Carl Rollins.

In attendance for the Company were Dave Makowski, Myron Becker, Brian Buehrer, Anthony Mosso, Jennifer Biele and Julie Grenenwald.

The Union and the Company will be talking next week to set dates for the next round of talks.

Airline Industry News

Governmental and Regulatory

The Federal Aviation Administration could pay air traffic controllers who were forced to take unpaid leave for a furlough day.

The National Transportation Safety Board is looking for a company to perform computed tomography (CT) scans on selected Boeing 787 lithium-ion batteries.

The Department of Transportation's inspector general found that the Federal Aviation Administration should re-evaluate its oversight process to focus on the greatest risks at repair stations for U.S. airlines.

Industry, Airlines and Labor

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee plans to pitch Boeing on a proposal to build the 777X in Everett, Wash. He also plans to unveil an aerospace strategy for the state.

American Airlines and US Airways said the carriers plan to announce the senior executives for the merged company by late May or early June.

United Airlines plans to restart Boeing 787 Dreamliner service on May 20, which would be 11 days earlier than previously scheduled. United will fly its first 787 flight from Houston to Chicago; with Houston-to-Denver service starting on May 21.

AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines, received approval from bankruptcy court for up to $3.25 billion in loans.

Many airlines reported revenue growth during the first quarter, typically a slow quarter for the airline industry.