(INDIANAPOLIS)–The Teamsters Airline Division and Teamsters Local 135 prevailed in the Midwest Seniority Integration Arbitration on November 18, when labor arbitrator Homer C. La Rue found the Teamsters’ proposal to be the most “fair and equitable” method to integrate Republic and former Midwest flight attendants.
Arbitrator La Rue rejected the Midwest Committee’s proposals to place all 163 former Midwest flight attendants at the top of the Republic seniority list based upon “date of hire,” finding that this proposal was fundamentally unfair. Instead, he used the ratio approach advanced by the Teamsters, dovetailing former Midwest flight attendants on the list after Republic flight attendants who were on the payroll as of June 23, 2009, when Midwest was acquired by Republic.
The seniority integration dispute arose in 2009 after Republic purchased Midwest, which was on the “cusp of extinction.” The parties agreed in 2013 to arbitrate remaining seniority issues before a neutral arbitrator.
In January 2014, the IBT and Local 135 presented the case before the arbitrator in two long days of hearing in Washington D.C. Teamster witnesses Mathew Fazakas, Nicole Zimmer and expert witness Robert Mann Jr., testified in support of the Teamsters’ proposal for a fair and equitable integration and against the Midwest Committee’s proposal to “end-tail” nearly all Republic flight attendants.
The arbitration award issued November 18 establishes three tiers for integration: 1) Republic flight attendants who were hired on or before June 23, 2009, will not be affected by the integration at all; 2) 163 former Midwest flight attendants that were not on furlough at the time of the merger of the airlines will be integrated with Republic flight attendants hired between June 24, 2009, and April 17, 2013, via a ratio method; 3) furloughed Midwest flight attendants will be integrated on the list after the 163 active former Midwest flight attendants. This is the same approach found to be fair in the Frontier seniority integration and the Republic pilots’ arbitration award.
No flight attendant will be bumped from position. The former Midwest flight attendants will be eligible for recall by Republic to open positions where vacancies exist. We anticipate that this will have minimal effect on current Republic flight attendants.
The IBT Airline Division thanks our team that brought about this successful result: IBT attorneys Jonathan Wentz and James Petroff of Barkan Meizlish, LLP, IBT Airline Division Mathew Fazakas, Local 135 President Danny Barton, Secretary-Treasurer Brian Buhle, nd representatives Jeff Combs and Nicole Zimmer, Chief Steward Jessie Malinowski and Steward Tammy Raeburn.
We welcome the former Midwest flight attendants to our union and pledge that we will work hard in making this transition positive for all involved. Together, as Teamsters, we are strong and we win!