Who Says Amfa Cannot Unite With Other Union?

Decision 2004

Mar 12, 2004
NWA unions plan pickets at Metro

Mechanics, ground crews protest airline's cutbacks
April 9, 2004


Three Northwest Airlines Inc. unions plan informational pickets today at Detroit Metropolitan Airport to protest layoffs, potential wage and benefit cuts and outsourcing of work.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IMA),the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) and the Professional Flight Attendants Association expect to picket outside the airport's McNamara Terminal between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Each of the unions has different issues but underlying all are layoffs already made and concessions management seeks to return to profitability.

"The management team has been treating Detroit workers very badly," said Robert DePace, president of the IMA, the largest union representing Northwest reservations agents, baggage handlers, mail room staff, customer service agents and others. The union has 3,000 members based in metro Detroit.

Northwest declined to comment. The nation's fourth-largest airline has lost $2.2 billion in the last three years.

DePace said Detroit workers were having problems getting family leave and were harassed by the management when they took one.

He said he expects many of the union's Detroit members to take part in picketing. The United Auto Workers and the Teamsters are expected to join the effort.

Northwest has asked the Machinists to take about a 2-percent cut in pay. The union wants at least a 3-percent raise. Pensions are another concern.

DePace said the union members qualify for significantly lower pensions based on years of service than similar workers at United Airlines and US Airways.

"We are at a point where we have to decide whether we are going to go on with negotiations or not," he said.

The AMFA will be picketing because, it says, Northwest has been laying off mechanics and outsourcing maintenance work.

"We need enough people to turn out a good product," said Bob Rose, president of Local 5, representing mechanics and cleaners. "Our main concern is safety taking a back seat to the bottom line."

Rose said that before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Northwest had about 7,500 mechanics. Since then, the airline has let go some 3,500 mechanics and outsourced work to other firms.

Rose said outsourcing is an industry-wide trend.

According to Northwest's internal monthly newsletter, outsourcing of heavy maintenance is an important part of the airline's strategy to return to profitability.

"No U.S. carrier does all of its aircraft maintenance in-house," the airline says in the May newsletter. "Northwest hires vendors for about 25 percent of its heavy maintenance; half of those vendors are in the United States. By contrast, Southwest, Continental, JetBlue, AirTran and Frontier outsource all or nearly all of their heavy aircraft maintenance," the article says.

The flight attendants association could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Ken MacTiernan said:
Ah, more words of fear from another twu supporting coward.

Oops, where was the twu?
Ken, the twu has more important agenda, like trying to stop the AA AMT membership from voting for a union of their choice.

ANYTHING to help the company keep their twu whore.

The twu doesn't have time to battle management, like that has ever happened.