Hello Local 502,
As all of you are aware by now, American Airlines has sent an email to the membership outlining the highlights of their proposal. HIGHLIGHTS that don’t go into any detail of the remaining items or how these HIGHLIGHTS are achieved. There were several of our members who asked for the Association’s proposal or details of it as well as what our response will be. Let me start by saying that the Association’s Negotiation Committee will be meeting in DC on Wednesday and Thursday March 28th and 29th and from that meeting there will be a comprehensive official response. In the meantime, I want to walk through the proposal released from the Company on Friday.
First, the increase base pay and 2% annual increase that is to be higher than current industry leader at signing. Although we had negotiated increases, we also wanted to know what that looked like after signing, if another carrier increased, how would that affect our pay. The early out is the same sham used in bankruptcy that influenced members to jump ship by enticing them with a carrot, only to realize afterwards that it’s a partial carrot after taxes with no fall back. Early outs will be looked at but not in the interest of leaving the remaining members behind hold a bag of damaged goods. The sign-on bonus was introduced to negotiations from the Union and 3k is attractive blanket, but why not the one that captures seniority. There were different levels of sacrifice over the years.
The piece about Significantly increased paid time off package is simply what we already had and gave in concession to give relief to the company in their tough time only to have them take bonuses for themselves for several years after that and when questioned, the response was “We are entitled”. The 20 days ID used to be 80 just a reminder. We go into the 401k plan at 9%, is that the industry leading? We want to be certain and if it isn’t, we want the industry leading number.
The medical plan that the IAM enjoys today was a purchase by them through multiple bankruptcies at USAir and it has stood the test of time until now. The company wants us to believe that the medical plan we have is so superior the IAM plan and we should just blindly believe them and jump right in. The major issue with our current plan is it’s based off of projected cost rather than a “lookback”. Then there is the cost that is passed on to the employees and eliminates liability from the company and they get to pocket the rest. I get it, when other Unions on property agreed to this medical plan, they were negotiating their contracts, we are negotiating ours and we want a plan that’s betters for our membership. The company can afford these cost and many others if they wanted to do the right thing. The profits they earn today are by in large from Union worker’s sacrifices over many years.
JOBS, these jobs they spoke of in comparison to United and Delta can’t truly be compared side by side because they both have less Unionized locations and American does offer more fulltime work today but what about tomorrow? The way their language is design, it will through attrition, eliminate the jobs we do today, where we do it, how we do it and no ability for newborns to enter the workforce in the traditional manner. The 40 stations are an enhancement for the TWU, but status quo for the IAM. The Union seeks in our proposal more station than the 40 to regain locations that were lost through bankruptcy and those not honored by promises from LUS leadership when attempting to get buy in from the Union for the merger.
My hope is that the Union will release a comparison proposal to the members that displays the differences and how far we were in the room before the company sent in their CLOSER. The fact that the company has chosen to do an end around and backdoor the Union in an attempt to negotiate directly with you the member in the hope to get pressure for a vote and maybe a narrow decision. As a member of the committee, I will go on record that a great deal of time and effort was put into our proposal to secure jobs, wages, benefits, and protections in a time when airlines are making abundant amounts of money and we will never accept or bring to you a contract that is concessionary. We have given back so much and so many times that with the current environment in the industry and the market it is our time to be fairly compensated. We can’t accept a contract that doesn’t address all of our needs for one that acknowledges some of our needs.