Mechanics Ask Amfa .....

Oldweirdharold said:
I would have to agree with a comment made by Jim Little pertaining to this forum that very few people read it and the ones that do are polorized heavily and blind to anything resembling objectivity or reasoning.. That's while I'll be signing off because my minds made up and it's a waste of time preaching to the choir.. Thanks it's been fun..

Maybe we should take the long view and look at the entire industry since deregulation, whats happened to pay and benifits? What have we lost?? What have we gained??Who has made greater gains during this time, industrial unions or craft unions.. Are our interests better served and are we stronger being split between more than one AFL-CIO industrial union I.E. IBT,TWU,IAM or could we do better being under one union and then come back under AFL-CIO as a larger group?? Has appeasment of management ( concessions) paid off for labor, go back in history compare the railroads and steel industries where same struggles happened, compare outcomes..

Is it fair to blame unions for management decisions that violate contract agreements as is the case with NWA which are being arbitrated as we speak, force majure, SARS, Iraq war??? I personally witnessed ST in Mobile Alabama doing maint. on UAL 737's over 2 yrs ago and on 3 different occasions when IAM represented the mechanics in violation of their scope agreement, IAM was powerless to stop this from happening other than getting on their knees because of weak contract language??? Yes I made IAM aware of the violations as they occured..

Can/ should a union be held accountable for a contract they did NOT negotiate?? Would we be better served by voting for who fills the seats at a national level within the union or do appointments by unelected persons meet our needs??? Is accountability an issue or a selling point?? We hear about how important political lobbying is but why with all our power and political connections has NAFTA, GATT and foreign trade via WTO passed to the detriment of our working men and women of this USA?? The WTO as you are aware is another group of unelected people making decisions that impact us directly, does this sound fair or democractic?? Why can't we get foreign repair stations either shut down completly or hold them to same standards you an I are held to????

How long should you give a union to make progress and show gains?? would gains made during the 60s or 70s mean anything today?? What about sustained losses, where do we draw the line and look for alternatives?? What are our options??

Having this devisive issue concerning representation is killing us and directing our energies away from concentrating and strengthening our base of support, we are as weak as we've ever been and this surely pleases nobody except management..

What will we do in about a year or so when the billions of dollars of debt come due??? Will we take more concessions ?? Where do you draw the line?? Keep your powder dry Steve..

what does all this mean??? :shock:

Jim Anderson-
First of all I would not believe much of what comes out of Jim Littles mouth. The man is a liar.

If he in fact feels that these forums are of little consequence then ask him why the TWU pays someone to monitor this board and why officers were removed from office because of posts that very few people read.

If you want proof that the TWU pays someone to monitor this board I will try to forward you the minutes of my trial where Jim Gannon admitted that was part of his duties.

When I was removed I was not even asked until after the fact if I even made the posts they objected to.

The fact is that the Internet has provided a powerful medium that members can use to communicate. The amount of information now available is enormous. While it is true that the validity of the information exchanged can sometimes be questionable past experience has proven that just because we used to get less that it was not any more reliable.

The questions you ask I have also asked.

One thing is certain, that our current path is not promising and that within the TWU we really do not have the option to initiate change. Even if change should come, since we only make up 13% of the union our input into the direction of change would be limited. Even if we could change the TWU we still have the problem of having an industry that is closely inter-related and highly competitive divied up between unions that are pre-occupied with the needs of other workers in other industries. When you figure that the average TWU wage is $15/hr, and we make $30 that means that a large majority of TWU members make way below $15/hr. With the "loaf of bread" ideology of the top levels of the TWU-who conveniently excuse themselves from that theory, at $30/hr we are considered to be very well off, twice as well off as the average member.

The issues that mechanics must look at between the TWU and AMFA are not really between Little or Hall vs Delle Femmine. Human falibility is present in all of us. The debate should really be around the structures that these men work under and promote.

Its between whether or not we, as mechanics should choose a structure that allows us to choose who represents us to the company. Under the TWU, Sonny Hall, is put in power at a Convention where the overwhelming majority of the delegates have no interest whatsover in our profession. Since they have no interest Sonny Halls interest would be limited at best.

Deterioation of our profession is of little consequence to him. He in turn appoints Jim Little who has complete control of not only our contract but those of every other TWU member at AA. As the ATD director, who serves at the whim of Sonny Hall, Jim Little also is in charge of Flight attendants and other workers at other airlines as well.

Little is not elected so he is not accountable to any of these members. Freedom from accountability allows him to pursue goals that would help to elevate him within the TWU. We all know that one of the goals of just about every union is to increase membership. However as an AFL-CIO member raiding is prohibited and drives at Delta and other non-union outfits have failed miserably and at great expense. I think the Delta fiasco cost them $2 million. Apparently the TWU has had better success with an alternate route to gaining members. By helping companies to get concessionary deals the TWU in turn gets increased membership. In a union where the leaders were accountable concessionary deals would result in being ousted from power. But in the TWU that is not a threat. So for Jim Little and the company these concessionary deals are a win-win situation. The TWU gets to take members away from other unions without raiding and the company gets increased profits with the lower labor costs. While the TWU calls this job creation it is merely job migration. Migration to a lower wage.

With AMFA the top leaders are voted in by the members. Since the members are more likely to put personal income growth ahead of growth of the organization AMFAs leaders would not be able to subordinate the interests of the members-more pay, to those of the leaders-more members. Even though they may support growth of the union, AMFAs structure does not enable its leaders to insulate themselves from the members like the TWU. The highest levels of AMFA are diectly accountable and subject to the individual ballott of the member.

Top officials of the TWU never face a direct member ballott. Instead they have elected local officials, or delegates, that the structure of the TWU makes subordinate to the International, cast votes that are witnessed by the International but not the members they represent. All of this is captured on fim that is not shared with the membership but can be used by the International to identify political enemies.

These officials are often subject to brainwashing that preaches that selling concessions is a part of 'responsible" leadership. Often many of these officials are only too eager to adopt and try to sell what the International preaches as a route to gaining one of those coveted International positions. A position that promises better benifits and pay than they could ever hope to get as a member. In other words under this structure the memberships voice and interests are suppressed right at the Local level. Membership fustration is heightened because they are confined to being able to replace only local officials. So members tend to just distance themselves from the whole process. This works out well for the International since they in turn blame the ill of the union on the members lack of participation.

Another issue is between whether we are better off in a mid sized catch all union or a small, focused, craft union.

Proponents of the TWU argue that the political muscle of the TWU and the AFL-CIO is essential. However that political might has not stopped or even slowed our twenty year decline. In fact the only upturn in 20 years was the result of the AMFA-NWA contract. It may be that our association with the AFL-CIO and the political arena is actually a disadvantage. FAR 145 still allows foreign aircraft repair. AMTRACK, a chronically money losing transportation system and intra city mass transit may have been given funding and S-1327 has been withdrawn. Were our wages traded off for these labor wins? Sonny Hall just recieved a promotion within the AFL-CIO no doubt because as head of the ATD those victories were considered a credit to him.

While political involvement is essential the political arena can not be a complete substitute for traditional labor tactics. While the battlefield for labor can extend into the halls of government the battle is still going to be won or lost on the picket lines.

Political clout seems to be the only selling point of staying with a mid sized union. AFL-CIO affiliation is touted as a means of amplifying our power, however reality is that there is not much of a guarantee that support would be provided due to AFL-CIO affiliation, PATCO is proof of that.

The benifits of joining a focused union are proven. Pilots belong to focused unions. Members of the much smaller APA make much much more than the average, or even the top TWU member. AMFA is a focused union. The average AMFA member makes more than double what the average TWU member makes, again, this is despite its much smaller size. Construction workers are usually in focused unions and they tend to be better paid than members of catch-all unions. In fact most craft orientated union members make much more than catch all union members. The largest union in the country-the SEIU recently put out an essay on this topic saying that catch all unions lack the ability and resources to properly represent members and that members would be better off in focused unions. So when catch all unionists call focused craft unions "the enemies of labor", what are they basing this on? The fact is that these types of unions are more successful at raising wages and living standards, isnt that what unions are all about? The TWU has taken it upon themselves to promote more jobs through lower wages. This has been the position of the enemies of labor. If many people are working two or more jobs then is there a shortage of jobs or a shortage of good paying jobs? How does the TWU's philosophy coincide with the long accepted philosophy of labor?

When we choose between the AMFA and the TWU it is a choice between having control and accountability through direct elections, as with AMFA or allowing other people who never worked in our industry or profession to have control over our lives without accountability. It is a choice between being in an organization that seeks to elevate the profession or stay with one that has no particular interest in it. It is a choice that really should have been made years ago when we became mechanics. Is our value determined by our skills or do we allow those who do not posess those skills to determine our value for us? Would anyone expect the pilots to give up their union and become TWU members? Does anyone belive that Sonny Hall or Jim Little would argue that the pilots present rate of pay is insufficient? The fact is that we have skills that are marketable and in limited supply. Other workers such as Pilots, carpenters, electricians etc all belong to focused craft specific unions yet they are not labeled "the enemies of labor". Why are mechanics wrong to seek a similar union structure?

We are not wrong. We have every right, including moral and ethical to seek such a union.
Steve Connell said:
Hey Tony...newsflash for ya 1983 the TWU asked the membership to turn down the B-scale , the MEMBERSHIP voted it in at over 80%.

Please feel free to distribute this news in bigger and bolder type.
Oh really? Only a few Locals bucked the International, Local 501 out of NY being one of them. The original notice encouraged a yes vote, however a few presidents lobbied to have the language changed. However all those who were here in 83 say that the International was FOR the 1983 contract. How many guys in MCI were at AA in 1983 Steve?

By the way your old IAM leaders were critical of the TWUs concessionary bargaining where work was taken away from one group and given to another. I guess since they abandoned you, you no longer care what they said.

Tell us Steve, do the jobs that you will soon be losing in the stockroom count? I hear that you are going to lose at least 90 jobs. I know they said "through attrition" but are you aware of how attrition can work here? A clerk retires in LAX, so a clerk is cut in MCI, he has a job but its in LAX, another one retires in NY, off to NY, and so on. In addition to the thousands laid off we have had rtetirements where the member is not replaced, shouldnt those be considered "lost jobs"