should we dump the IBT


Mar 26, 2011
June 10, 2011: After 5000 United Airlines mechanics and related workers solidly rejected a proposed contract, the Hoffa administration is pulling their usual trick: blame the members instead of standing up for them like leaders.

Teamster mechanics are organizing to turn that around.

Hoffa’s Airline Division Director, David Bourne, sent all the mechanics a letter saying he expects it to take “three to five years” to bargain another offer, after management asked for mediation.

Instead of telling UAL management that Teamsters members have spoken, and leading a fight for an industry-leading contract at the world’s largest airline, the Hoffa administration is carrying the water for the corporation, and treating the members like children.

As Teamster Paul Cordova wrote to Bourne, “UAL has plenty of money to buy its own spin doctors, lobbyists and public relations flaks. They don’t need you doing their work for them.” This open letter is one of several circulating among UAL technicians.

The letter, and numerous petitions from these skilled Teamsters, ask the International union to back up the rank and file, and lead a fight against another concessionary offer. They call on the International to “use the same organizing spirit you showed when organizing us – the tractor trailers, the mailings, the rallies – to actually get something done.” Amen.

That is what is needed: a contract campaign to unite the workers, reach out to other crafts and the public, and take the fight to UAL management. They also need to rally the Continental Airlines mechanics; United now owns Continental and plans to merge the operations.

The contract was rejected at every major UAL base of operations: San Francisco and the West Coast, Denver, Chicago, New York and Washington Dulles. Only two small local units voted yes. The members want to stand for an industry leading contract, win back the pension they lost when the airline was bankrupt, catch-up on wages, and protect their health coverage. These are reasonable demands, and critically important to win before a joint agreement including Continental is bargained.

The Airline Division needs to change course: listen to and then lead the Teamsters who work at United, as well as their subsidiary Continental Airlines.
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Once you (United Mechanics) vote for the Teamster contract you will not be able to vote them out.

1. The bulk of Continental members have already given up and accepted the low wage contract they would increase the number of cards necessary to get to a vote.

2. It will make all the laid off United mechanics ineligible to vote in a representational election if the life time recall rights are removed from the new contract. The Teamsters got what they needed from the laid off mechanics and don’t need them anymore.

3. The Continental mechanics are United’s new strike breakers as they have a no strike clause in the Teamsters contract and have had it for some time.

4. The Teamsters sold out the Continental mechanics in the 2005 concessions by accepting the concessions even though there was a clause that said that the concessions that were voted in were contingent on all the other Unions accepted equal concessions and this did not happen.
The Teamsters said it was to protect the company’s stock.

So what have you got 3 years later after changing Unions?

1. An 8% dues increase without a vote.

2. A divided local in San Francisco where all mechanics names ending in A thru L are in the San Bruno local and M thru Z are in the Southern California local, even though the Teamsters bought the mechanics vote with the promise of their own local, and even a pension (with a 5 year vesting requirement)

3. They (Teamsters) accepted a 1% wage increase but giving up to 2% success sharing, without a vote or that AMFA was negotiating a larger increase like the Pilots and Flight attendants got.
So you got on average $660 a year pay increase before taxes but the Teamsters took $780 in dues.

4. You now help contribute to a $10 million fund to support criminal oversight of the Teamster by the United States Justice Department called the IRB to look into embezzlement of member’s funds and organized crime infiltration of Teamster Locals. This is a consent decree that the Teamsters agreed to as part of a settlement with the United States Government.

5. A loss of membership since the change of representation.

So this is your last chance to fix the mess you have gotten into.

And congratulations to Rich Petoskey and your $98,000 year salary for a part time job as United SFO mechanics business agent Local 964 for mechanics with names ending in M through Z.
"Hoffa’s Airline Division Director, David Bourne, sent all the mechanics a letter saying he expects it to take “three to five years” to bargain another offer, after management asked for mediation."

Fear tactics at its best!

This your own union insinuating that because it will take time to negotiate a decent contract you should simply accept anything the company offers?

Why should your union's top officials care/worry? Do they live under the same contract you do? Will Mr. Bourne Care that AMTs at United have to work a second job to maintain a decent way of life for their families?

Okay, so it will take a long time to fight. But doing the right thing is sometimes, if not always, the harder path but it is the CORRECT path! Here at AA the twu inserted a color flyer in the envelopes of our t/a ballots urging we vote yes. And this contract was concessionary! We have lived under 8+ years of concessionary language which was only to last 5 years. twu international reps. never take pay cuts so why should they care about the members living with reduced pay and benefits? Paying these official's salarys with our dues money is wrong. We voted no on the t/a and are in the process of voting for a new craft union that is elected from top to bottom by the membership. It is called accountability. It sounds as if you have the same problem.

Good luck! Fight the good fight!