Members of Local 502,
On September 12 our current contract became amendable and American Airlines proceeded with Section 6 filing. This signals that neither side could reach an agreement before this date and a third party has been introduced into the negotiation process. The National Mediation Board will assign a mediator to the negotiation process for the Association and American Airlines. Although there will be a mediator in the room (again), this individual will not have power over neither group and cannot instruct either on what to do or what to agree upon. They simply facilitate and attempt to bring both sides closer to an agreement. Under the Railway Labor Act, once there is the filing, scheduling of dates and times must be set in 10 days and meeting within 30 days. Basically, under this process, the clock starts ticking and negotiations become expedited.
The company put out through JETNET, their version of the events of the section 6 filing and followed with information from their proposals. LET ME MAKE ONE POINT PERFECTLY CLEAR, American has NOT given us anything. Everything that has been mentioned has been negotiated by the Association, and for the record, The Association doesn’t agree with the dollar amount for the signing bonus or the lump sum buyout because there was no discussion on this matter. Another thing to consider is what strings are attached, for instance; the 65k offered for an early out and what that looks like after taxes and the fact that if you accept this option you are responsible for your own medical greatly diminishes the actual value, also the fact that it is at the company’s discretion as to who actually gets the buyout. So if we have members that were contemplating leaving the company based on this narrative, then vote yes on the current proposal they could end up receiving far less than they anticipated.
Other negotiated items that were referenced in the company’s communication do not state what was originally offered to the membership. Holidays for Fleet were only 7 until the Association fought to gain 10. Compensation on the holidays was at double time until the Association again fought to gain double time and one half. Sick time was capped at 9 we negotiated to 10. I mention these examples to show that nothing has been given to us in these negotiations without a fight. We were told in the early stages of negotiations that we would have the industry leading contract across the board only to have it reduced to terms today of industry leading wages. This is a big difference in what our members have been lead to believe.
What I’ve learned in life and especially in these negotiations, if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. These negotiations did not need to take so long to reach an agreement. The company has insisted on passing bankruptcy and concessionary language to the Union in a hope to get something for nothing. American could offer a significant buyout today if they wanted, but in March at the 1st Quarter Earnings meeting and when pressured on questions about negotiations, Doug Parker said they wanted to get something for a buyout and have attached it to the contract. He also said at this meeting that they felt section 6 could be a good option for the company. The reality here is we are dealing with individual who do not keep their word, constantly change the end zone, and look for ways to stuff their pockets and spend more money on things we don’t need (state of the art headquarters facility).
The short is, the section 6 process gives us the opportunity to get to an agreement faster, to show a third party what has actually been done in the negotiations arena thus far and ultimately put some power in the hands of the Association if American continues to play useless games. Based on the surveys taken from the membership of the IAM and TWU, our position is clear and lines will be drawn to get our Association membership a contract they deserve and one that captures all the sacrifices hat WE HAVE PAID. American Airlines could not be where they are today without us. Never let them forget or minimize what has been given up. We have a stake in this company and its fair time that we are compensated fully. WE are TWU and WE move America!
TWU Local 502 President
TWU International Vice President