AMFA Goes on Strike

Glenn Quagmire

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Apr 30, 2012
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It was this day 7 years ago that me and my co-workers took a stand against NWA. We decided that our services were worth more than they were offering.

I am one of the lucky people who were able to move on to a better job with great security and higher pay. Many were not as fortunate.

Here's to all who supported us during our strike.

And to those of you did not, especially those IAMAW scabs who performed our work while I walked the picket line....

.!.
 
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737823

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I guess this is consistent with the downward spiral at the IAM Bob keeps talking about. Glad things worked out for you.

Josh
 
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southwind

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Couple of questions, concerning your strike, that I've always wondered about.

Did the NW mechanics and AMFA not know about the training school, out west, that NW was stocking with scabs, when you decided to strike ? From what I understand, they had ads in all the trade outlets, recruiting peeps, in preparation for your strike !

And if so, why not a work slow-down, instead of walking out?

Also, were you stabbed in the back, by the IAM, whom I'm sure was pissed that you ditched them, in favor of AMFA?

Not trying to be a smartass, just would like to hear it from someone who was actually involved !
 
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737823

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Couple of questions, concerning your strike, that I've always wondered about.

Did the NW mechanics and AMFA not know about the training school, out west, that NW was stocking with scabs, when you decided to strike ? From what I understand, they had ads in all the trade outlets, recruiting peeps, in preparation for your strike !

And if so, why not a work slow-down, instead of walking out?

Also, were you stabbed in the back, by the IAM, whom I'm sure was pissed that you ditched them, in favor of AMFA?

Not trying to be a smartass, just would like to hear it from someone who was actually involved !

I've been wondering on the same but every time I ask the questions 700UW says the IAM didn't scab and that pushbacks and deicing, etc were part of IAM scope. Seems many on the AA forum believe the IAM scabbed AMFA but I can't get a straight explanation either. Hopefully someone can weigh in with facts.

Josh
 
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gtd

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The iam scabbed at NWA. They did the pushbacks when AMFA struck which was a AMFA Mechanics function. Also, the ibt crossed the picket line and jimmy jr. flew on NWA during the strike.
 

Kev3188

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Right in the middle.
I am one of the lucky people who were able to move on to a better job with great security and higher pay.

I'm very happy to hear this!

Can't believe it's been 7 years already... Can't say I miss the Vance security goons, though... Nothing like being harrassed & having your picture taken by people allegedly hired to "protect" you...

Couple of questions, concerning your strike, that I've always wondered about.

Did the NW mechanics and AMFA not know about the training school, out west, that NW was stocking with scabs, when you decided to strike ? From what I understand, they had ads in all the trade outlets, recruiting peeps, in preparation for your strike !

And if so, why not a work slow-down, instead of walking out?

Also, were you stabbed in the back, by the IAM, whom I'm sure was pissed that you ditched them, in favor of AMFA?

Not trying to be a smartass, just would like to hear it from someone who was actually involved !

South--

I'm sure GQ will weigh in, but in the interim I can tell you a few things.

First, I'm pretty sure the scab school wasn't a secret, or if it was, it was a sort of mass produced secret that a lot of people knew about.

As for a slow-down, this is just my opinion based on being in an MTX station at the time, but I think the AMT's were trying extremely hard to show the value they brought to the company, even as it became increasingly apparent that the company couldn't care less. In fact, in my station, they had to fight to get their "normal" volume of work back; the company had stopped sending work packages in fear that they wouldn't do them. At one point (I want to say about 3 weeks prior to the strike?), we had an engine change, and the company went ahead and contracted another firm to do it. The AMT's had to fight to get that work back, too.

As for the IAMAW: You can find many places on this board where I've posted that DePace's actions set (all) labor back 10 years. He refused to see the bigger picture, and figured he'd get some more work secured for the IAM (the work materialized, the jobs not so much). IMO, it certainly backfired; not just for the obvious reasons, but also amongst the IAM membership itself. The idea of our PDGC cozying up to Steenland was as bad as anything else. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and all that... make no mistake; there was no love lost between the IAM and AMFA, but at a station level, I think there was much more support for the striking AMT's than gets reported. As for work performed, please see below...

The old NW board is obviously now merged with the DL one. If you have time, there's some old threads on here from that era. Lots of good info/perspectives.

I've been wondering on the same but every time I ask the questions 700UW says the IAM didn't scab and that pushbacks and deicing, etc were part of IAM scope. Seems many on the AA forum believe the IAM scabbed AMFA but I can't get a straight explanation either. Hopefully someone can weigh in with facts.

Josh

It's a bit hard to convey clearly in an electronic forum, but the short version is that 700 is right about the CBA language.

Here's the longer version:

There were 2 IAM CBA's. One covered ramp & stores, and one covered gate agents, res., and several other groups.

AMFA's CBA covered AMT's, Plant maintenance (GSE equipment) cabin cleaners, and janitors.

The ramp CBA had explicit language covering pushbacks, airstarts, and cleaning (towing/taxi language came only after the AMFA terms imposed on them). It also had language covering what were called "4 hour rule" stations. In these stations, agents were covered under the gate agent cba, but were cross utilized to work both in and outside. For those stations, the scope language from our (ramp) cba applied.

AMFA's CBA specifically listed what stations were to be staffed, and in those stations work was to be covered by AMT's and/or cleaners. Some cities had both, and some (like mine at the time) had only AMT's. In our case, AMT's performed what was covered under their CBA, and we performed the rest.

Still with me?

So now you have some cities with AMT's, some with both, and a LOT (~ 70ish) with neither. For those in the latter category, it was business as usual come 8/20.

Our CBA also had language protecting people who refused to cross a "legal" picket line. Seems easy enough, right? Well, the problem was two-fold. First and foremost, DePace agreed with the company that AMFA wasn't "legally" on strike, and so the refused to enforce the language. Second, was that in a lot of cases, where the AMT's were picketing wasn't necessarily where people reported to work. IOW, there wasn't a "physical" line to cross. In our case, we all parked/clocked in at our air freight facility. We asked the AMFA grievance chair to set a line up there. If they had, we all would have simply turned around and went home. This *would* have been protected under Same with many of the truck drivers (this happened to an extent in SEA, by the way). It might not have been as visible to the public, but it certainly would've impacted the operation. They chose instead to picket at the terminal (understandable),but were only granted permits for some very out-of-the-way spots. Certainly their decision to make, but one that I think was ultimately incorrect.

So now you had an IAM workgroup divided into a few categories:
  • The business as usual crowd.
  • The group that wanted to support the effort, but were concerned about DL143's refusal to support the contract language.
  • The group that remembered the animosity between both unions, and said "f'em" (in my opinion, the ones deserving of scorn)
  • A (sub) group of people that were enamored with the idea of pushing back/towing planes, and were willing to overlook the rest of the issue. Why people get off on this so much is beyond me, but here we are.
  • The group that refused to perform struck work, and figured out work arounds to the IAM's stance on crossing legal picket lines. I was in this latter group, and as I've said before, it was a very easy decision to make.
The company knew this, and (IMO) used it to their advantage...
 
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737823

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Kev, you've posted before that for too long labor has been divided by union politics and other matters, and this division allows management to gang up on the labor movement. Its clear there was some angst between AMFA and IAM, why didn't you put your differences beside to improve standards for all workers?

Must have been an interesting few weeks, didn't NWA bus in and hotel replacement workers (do you agree these folks are scabs?) to do AMFA work?

Also, are any of the scabs still around at DL? I thought the scabs permanently replaced the AMFA workers so presumably some are still around. By labor standards are they still scabs if DL is now largely non-union?


Josh
 
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WorldTraveler

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Dec 5, 2003
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I met a person on a DL flight who was a former NW mechanic, received the settlement, and is now happy.

I think it does say that many did survive - and thrive.

Excellent summary of events, Kev. Always worth reviewing key moments in history.

Yes, Josh, people have posted here before that there are some former "scabs" - and some current DL people have issues with them - but I won't try to infer how big of an issue it is, whether it is a PMDL or PMNW issue, or whether it matters.

The most important statement is that NW used labor's divisions to mgmt's advantage. It is precisely for this reason that labor must be rock solid if it wants to win in a contest against management. They know what they have to do and will work incredibly hard to present a very solid front.
 

topDawg

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Nov 23, 2010
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Kev, you've posted before that for too long labor has been divided by union politics and other matters, and this division allows management to gang up on the labor movement. Its clear there was some angst between AMFA and IAM, why didn't you put your differences beside to improve standards for all workers?

Must have been an interesting few weeks, didn't NWA bus in and hotel replacement workers (do you agree these folks are scabs?) to do AMFA work?

Also, are any of the scabs still around at DL? I thought the scabs permanently replaced the AMFA workers so presumably some are still around. By labor standards are they still scabs if DL is now largely non-union?


Josh
Once a POS.....always a POS. I hope i never run into one of these worthless people.

and its wasn't just the IAM that f**ked over the AMFA.....The TWU was happy to help. IBT/IAM and TWU amm knew at the time(and still know now) that a MX union that is for MX and not a ton of different departments would lead to the MX staffs at other airlines dump the IBT/TWU and IAM's for the AMFA. Hopefully AMR dumps there crappy union and the AMFA has a true chance to do what is best for the craft.
 

Kev3188

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Kev, you've posted before that for too long labor has been divided by union politics and other matters, and this division allows management to gang up on the labor movement. Its clear there was some angst between AMFA and IAM, why didn't you put your differences beside to improve standards for all workers?

Lots of reasons, I suppose.

While some of us were willing to do so for the greater good, I think too many weren't able to forget a lot of the things said during the AMT's split from AMFA. It also didn't help that leaders from both unions were exploiting that wedge up until very close to D-day...

Must have been an interesting few weeks, didn't NWA bus in and hotel replacement workers (do you agree these folks are scabs?) to do AMFA work?

Interesting indeed. Yes, they bussed people in, and yes they are/were scabs. In my city, they snuck them in through the FBO on the other side of the airfield.

Also, are any of the scabs still around at DL? I thought the scabs permanently replaced the AMFA workers so presumably some are still around. By labor standards are they still scabs if DL is now largely non-union?

Yes and yes.


Once a POS.....always a POS. I hope i never run into one of these worthless people.

I've only ran into one, and he was from my former city. It was in my current station, and we were working a charter on Christmas day. Not my idea of a fun present...

and its wasn't just the IAM that f**ked over the AMFA.....

Sad, but true. ALPA, PFAA, TWU, NAMA, and the instructors (can't think of their union just now) all came to work...
 

southwind

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Although we disagree on the value of having union representation, I can promise you that I would "NEVER" cross a picket line !

And I still don't understand, with scabs waiting in the wings, why AMFA would call for a strike !

And I also believe the NW/Delta merger was well in the works long before both company's filed for BK !
 
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737823

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Lots of reasons, I suppose.

While some of us were willing to do so for the greater good, I think too many weren't able to forget a lot of the things said during the AMT's split from AMFA. It also didn't help that leaders from both unions were exploiting that wedge up until very close to D-day...



Interesting indeed. Yes, they bussed people in, and yes they are/were scabs. In my city, they snuck them in through the FBO on the other side of the airfield.

So if NWA no longer exists, the AMFA is largely insignificant do other union members individually observe the so called scab list? I suppose it subject to the individual but is a member of a union who decided not to observe the strike by definition a scab? Seems to me someone with a purposeful, willful attempt to undermine the strike action should be considered a scab not for simply going about their normal job duties.


I've only ran into one, and he was from my former city. It was in my current station, and we were working a charter on Christmas day. Not my idea of a fun present...

Working a charter flight on Christmas day? Why do they bring people from other stations?

Sad, but true. ALPA, PFAA, TWU, NAMA, and the instructors (can't think of their union just now) all came to work...

So are you saying that NWA should have shut down entirely for the AMFA strike? Would you have supported such a move? If a solidarity strike were to occur whose strike fund covers the workers observing the strike?

Josh
 
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Kev3188

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Right in the middle.
Although we disagree on the value of having union representation, I can promise you that I would "NEVER" cross a picket line !

I'm happy to hear it.

And I still don't understand, with scabs waiting in the wings, why AMFA would call for a strike !

Each successive offer from the company was worse. They may have been meeting the legal threshold(s) for bargaining in good faith, but for all intents and purposes, they were not. My feeling is that the last couple of offers were so bad that they felt they had no choice, and given that it called for so many cuts, many-if not most- felt they had nothing to lose.

And I also believe the NW/Delta merger was well in the works long before both company's filed for BK !

Looking back, all the signs were there, though if you'd asked most at the time, the majority probaly would've bet on a NW/CO tie-up.

So if NWA no longer exists, the AMFA is largely insignificant do other union members individually observe the so called scab list?

Yes. I don't speak for everyone, but to most people, there's really no statute of limitations...

I suppose it subject to the individual but is a member of a union who decided not to observe the strike by definition a scab? Seems to me someone with a purposeful, willful attempt to undermine the strike action should be considered a scab not for simply going about their normal job duties.

...Thus the ongoing debate on whether or not people in other workgroups should be lumped in w/the replacement AMT's...




Working a charter flight on Christmas day? Why do they bring people from other stations?

Yep... Football charter for a bowl game. They used to have AMT's go along on some of the flights.

Separately, depending on the bowl, some cities will bring in tdy's simply due to the volume of charter work.

So are you saying that NWA should have shut down entirely for the AMFA strike? Would you have supported such a move? If a solidarity strike were to occur whose strike fund covers the workers observing the strike?

Yes, absolutely yes, and each respective employee's union.

Note: During the pilot's strike, ALPA encouraged all of us to keep reporting for work as a means to put pressure on the company to settle. Eventually, most all of ACS was furloughed due to lack of work. BTW, during that time, the AMT's managed to clear every MEL in the fleet. No small feat, IMO...

P.S. FWIW, the instructor's union was ATSA...
 
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Glenn Quagmire

Glenn Quagmire

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Kev covered it well. If you want a more in depth explanation and cover the emotions of it all, look through the old threads.

I have moved on to a better career adjacent to the airline industry.

To answer another question whether those that crossed as replacements or employees of NWA, he's, they are and will always be scabs.

Here is the most comprehensive list of them: http://exnwa.com/scab_main.htm
 
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