Around The Association

Decision 2004

Mar 12, 2004
Around the Association

May 2004


Discussions concerning the Company’s April 24, 2004, offer for an extension of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expires this December, have concluded without an agreement being reached. The AMFA Committee has informed the Company that the Association will not be submitting a counterproposal and advised them that we will continue to prepare our Section 6 notice and proposal for regular contract negotiations scheduled to commence later this year.

Earlier this year the membership at Alaska approved a Letter of Agreement establishing an Aviation Safety Action Program. In compliance with the ASAP program, the AMFA members will be selecting a member to serve on the program’s Event Review Committee. The nomination and election process to select AMFA’s ERC Representative will take place during the months of June and July. Please monitor the AMFA bulletin boards in your work area for additional information about the election process.


The AMFA–ATA Negotiating Committee met with the Company on May 25–27 for their first mediated negotiating session with Mr. Rich Frey of the National Mediation Board. Also in attendance was Chuck Rasch, the newly elected AMFA Region II Coordinator, and Kevin McCormick, AMFA’s Administrator. During this session the parties reached tentative agreements on Article 9, Sick Time; Article 22, Wage Rules; and Article 29, Expenses. The parties are scheduled to resume talks July 26-30 in Chicago.


On May 25–27 the AMFA–ACA negotiating Committee met with the Company for their 5th session with NMB Mediator Sam Cognata. At the onset of this session the Company presented an entire proposal package, which included their counters on the remaining open issues. Discussion quickly focused on Scope and Status. In recent sessions the Company has shown little movement on Status and no willingness to move on Scope. Unfortunately, because of the Company’s refusal to make any movement on these most important issues, the AMFA Committee will be petitioning the NMB to declare an impasse and release us from mediation services. A release would trigger a 30-day cooling off period, adding a sense of urgency to negotiations, which normally encourages the parties to resolve their differences.


Contract negotiations continued on May 24–26 under the direction of Federal Mediator Ms. Terri Brown who was assigned to negotiations by the National Mediation Board following the joint request for Section 5 mediation services. Discussion during this session focused on the new Furlough and Recall article where the parties appear to be deadlocked. At issue is the Company’s proposed “Seniority Exception,†which would allow the Company to circumvent seniority to protect employees with “special qualifications†during furloughs and recalls. The AMFA Negotiating Committee is not receptive to this exception and remains committed to protecting the fundamental seniority rights of our members. Negotiations will continue July 6–8 in Portland.


AMFA–Mesaba negotiators met with the Company June 1–4 in Minneapolis. This was the second session that mediator Fred Leif from the National Mediation Board has attended. During this session discussions focused on Article 16, Grievance Process; Article 11, Vacancies and Bidding; Article 13, Furlough, Layoff and Employee Protection; and Article 18, Training, which was T/A’d before negotiations recessed for the week. The next negotiating session is scheduled for June 8–11 at the Holiday Inn on Airport Executive Blvd, Erlander, KY.


Preparations are now underway for next year’s opening of Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations with NWA. The Locals are in the process of taking nominations and conducting runoff elections for their Negotiating Representatives, and all Locals are selecting their nominees for the Cleaner/Utility Negotiator position. In the coming months you will receive information about the contract proposal submittal and prioritization process.

The Association has still not received a ruling from Arbitrator Witt regarding AMFA’s “Force Majeure II†grievance arbitration. As previously communicated, the arbitration lasted five days (October 14–17 and November 24) and final briefs were due to the arbitrator on February 23, 2004. A notice will be posted as soon as a final decision is rendered.


Management at Southwest Airlines has requested a meeting on June 15, 2004, with AMFA to discuss the possibility of an extension to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement covering Mechanics, which becomes amendable on August 16, 2005. AMFA has accepted the Company’s invitation to hear its proposal with the following representatives in attendance: O.V. Delle-Femine, AMFA’s National Director; Jim Young, Region II Director; Chuck Rasch, Region II Coordinator; and the Airline Representatives from Locals 3, 11, 18, 32 and 39, along with as many as 15 members attending as observers. Following this meeting the AMFA representatives will decide whether the proposal merits further discussion, which could lead to an agreement that would be submitted to the membership for their consideration.


As previously announced, the Locals representing United Airlines employees have requested the activation of an Airline Contract Administration Coordinator per Article II, Section 10 of the AMFA Constitution. The process of selecting Local nominees is now complete, and we are in the process of preparing for the election. Ballots for this election will be mailed to all eligible voters on June 11, 2004, and counted on July 12. Please monitor the AMFA bulletin board in your work area for additional information.

On May 21, 2004, the Association announced to the UAL retirees that an agreement had been reached with United Airlines regarding medical benefits available for retirees. AMFA’s agreement reduced the increases requested in the Company’s original proposal for retiree contributions by 30% and the overall impact, including contributions and other changes to retirees, by 22%. Complete details of the agreement were mailed to retirees on May 21 and are available at your Local office. This agreement is subject to the approval of the bankruptcy court and is contingent on the bankruptcy court’s determination that the Company’s request for an increase in benefit payments by retirees is necessary.


On May 3 AMFA’s Quadrennial National Convention convened in New Orleans, Louisiana. During the 10 days the 2004 AMFA National Convention was in session the assembly processed 557 proposed changes to the AMFA Constitution, of which 77 proposed language changes were endorsed by the Delegates to be submitted to the AMFA membership for their consideration through a referendum. The Delegates also endorsed a proposal to reformat the Constitution and submit it to the membership for approval after the approved language changes have been made. In addition to considering proposed changes to the convention, the next Rules Committee was selected for the next convention, which at the choice of the delegates will be held in Orlando, Florida.

The Rules Committee for this year’s convention is finalizing work on the Constitution referendum ballot, which is on track to be mailed to all members in early July. Additional information, including the exact dates for the mailing and counting of these ballots, will be distributed in the coming weeks.

On May 24, 2004, AMFA submitted it final objections to the eligibility list for the American Airlines representation election. The Association has filed well documented objections to have more than 1800 names removed from the eligibility list, many of whom are retired, resigned from employment, working at other carriers, and even deceased. We remain confident that the NMB will authorize an election that will result in a victory for our supporters at American Airlines.

Additional updates and links to AMFA Locals can be found by visiting the AMFA National website at
Informational Picketing Set for July 2nd, 2004

From 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Local 33 LEC has received permission from the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) to conduct an informational picket on Friday July 2nd, 2004 from 7am until 6pm. This picket is being conducted in coordination with the Professional Flight Attendants Association (PFAA) and will highlight the safety and security threats posed by Northwest Airlines practice of outsourcing maintenance to foreign repair stations.

The PFAA will use the opportunity to highlight other aspects of their situation with Northwest and will address issues relating to minimum staffing levels and quality of service. AMFA will be working to highlight the need for increased FAA oversight of foreign and domestic repair stations as well.

We are tentatively planning a press conference for 10 a.m. at the Lindbergh Terminal where officials from the PFAA and AMFA Local 33 will provide brief speeches reiterating our goal to diminish Northwest’s reliance on outsourcing maintenance. We have invited all the members of Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation to be present in support of our efforts. We have received interest from several offices, and will be confirming speakers in the coming days.

Local 33 is currently seeking volunteers from the membership to support our efforts on the picket line. We are asking that all members take a long, hard look at what we’ve been through and what you want from this union. A union is only as strong as its members, and we need a large showing at this picket to make a statement of strength and solidarity. We all are well aware that the contract can be opened again just a few months from now. With contract talks on the horizon, we need to present a unified front to the company from here on out.

The Local 33 LEC encourages each and every one of you to come out and help your union. Please visit your Shop Committee offices for sign up information or contact Teague Lyons or Nick Pladson at 952-224-5413 or 952-224-5414. Or, you can stop by the Local 33 office.