January 31, 2017 -- We kicked off the New Year with a Joint Advisory Council Meeting and National Executive Council Meeting in Phoenix, AZ where we discussed a variety of issues including the budget for 2017, the Safety Initiative, policies, the Aircraft Engineers International Annual Congress for 2016, and our ongoing efforts to gather current member contact information at both the local and National levels. We also discussed the status of negotiations at both Southwest and Alaska Airlines.
December 30, 2016 -- The last month of 2016 started off with a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting. We worked on a variety of issues including the National Budget for 2017, Safety Initiative, Southwest Airlines (SWA) Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) Representative concerns, as well as updating the SWA ASAP MOU. We also discussed the Aircraft Engineers International (AEI) Annual Congress for 2017, and how we are working collectively with AEI to promote and protect the interests of Aircraft Maintenance Technicians worldwide.
November 30, 2016 -- The holiday season is now upon us. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have to work undesirable shifts and spend time away from family and friends during the holidays. We must be aware that the holidays may be a time of joy, but they are not always a time of peace. Balancing your family’s expectations with work commitments and social obligations can make this the most stressful time of the year. At the job, the stress of a quick fix or making a schedule may sometimes be stressed more than compliance or you may be working shorthanded as manning levels may be lower due to vacations and/or illness.
October 31, 2016 -- On October 3, 2016, at AMFA National Headquarters, the newly elected National Executive Council (NEC) was sworn in to office by Region I Director, Earl Clark. The NEC’s first order of business was to appoint Mike Nelson as the Interim Region II Director, in accordance with the AMFA Constitution, until a special election can be completed. During the week of October 3–7, the NEC transition and turnover took place. Both the former and incumbent NEC covered most of the documents, procedures, vendors, payroll, insurance, leases, computers, server, and budgets of the Association as well as the current status of events for a productive transition and turnover.
September 30, 2016 -- On September 13, 2016, the Association held a Joint Advisory Council (JAC) meeting in Nashville, Tennessee where National Officers, Local Presidents, and an Airline Representative from Alaska Airlines met to discuss our agenda items. We addressed an array of issues including the Aircraft Accident Investigation Team Guidelines, National Officer transition, the GrievTrac database, and carrier contract negotiations to name a few.
August 31, 2016 -- On August 3-4, 2016, Alaska Airlines contract negotiations continued in Santa Rosa, CA where the Company responded to our proposals for medical benefits and retirement, both the defined benefit (pension) and the defined contribution (401k) plans. The Committee’s full update has been posted to the National Website for your review. The committees also met for a second August session on August 29–31, 2016, and the Company gave us a “comprehensive proposal” that covered all open items, including the economic components of the contract.
July 29, 2016 -- IT WAS A HOT DAY IN DALLAS AND AMFA TURNED UP THE HEAT on Southwest Airlines (SWA)! Almost 300 AMFA members, SWAPA Pilots, and SWA TWU Flight Attendants gathered to picket and bring attention to the dismal state of the ongoing contract negotiations for all three labor groups.
June 30, 2016 -- May 31 to June 2, 2016, Alaska Airlines contract negotiations continued near San Jose, California, where we worked on Scope, Status, and Job Security. Due to the vital importance of these matters in our contract, this session became quite contentious as we debated our perspectives on the issues within these articles. The Committee’s full update has been posted to the National Website. We are also meeting this week, June 28 to June 30, 2016, to start preliminary discussions on the topics of medical benefits and retirement.
May 31, 2016 -- During the first week of May we held our National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. Delegates debated member submitted proposed amendments to the AMFA Constitution and approved a total of sixteen (16) proposals that will now be sent to the membership for consideration and ratification. The delegates also submitted their Local’s nominees for the National Officer election, which will take place this summer. Watch your mail closely for important information regarding both votes, and please be sure to participate.
April 29, 2016 -- On April 4, 2016, Alaska Airlines announced that it is acquiring Virgin America Airlines. The deal still needs regulatory and shareholder approval before proceeding. Upon gaining these approvals, the process of integrating the labor groups begins. As outlined previously, the Virgin America Technicians are nonunion and the Alaska employees are covered by their collective bargaining agreement, and the groups will continue to work separately until operations are integrated into a single entity, which isn’t expected to happen until the 1st quarter of 2018.
This month we made additional progress with our legislative efforts on the FAA Reauthorization Bill. The U.S. Senate included our language for greater oversight and accountability for foreign repair station employees. We have been advocating for equal standards for mandatory pre-employment criminal background investigations and a standardized drug and alcohol testing protocol for many years to help close this glaring safety gap with our foreign counterparts. Other aspects of the Bill are still being worked through in committee, but we fully anticipate that our proposed language will be included in the final version.
This month we continued our mediated contract negotiations in two sessions for the Southwest Airlines (SWA) Aircraft Maintenance Technician’s contract in Dallas, Texas. Our Committee made progress on several issues including technician staffing when opening new maintenance stations; however, we came to a roadblock when the Company once again advanced the topics of adjusting our paid rest provisions and showed an unwillingness to equally apply the provisions of bereavement leave for members on 8-hour shifts. The Committee’s full update has been posted on the AMFA National website.
The first week of the month we continued our mediated contract negotiations for the Southwest Airlines (SWA) Aircraft Maintenance Technician’s contract in Washington, D.C. We successfully Tentatively Agreed (TA) on two articles: Article 21: Grievance Procedures and Article 22: Arbitration. It was good to see progress finally being made, and we have two sessions scheduled for the month of February in Dallas, Texas. The Committee’s full update has been posted on the AMFA National website.
I wish each of you a Happy and Safe New Year! This month began with AMFA entering our first session of mediated contract negotiations for the Southwest Airlines (SWA) Aircraft Maintenance Technician’s contract. This session was our first opportunity to get to work with our mediator managing the process.
On November 4, 2015, a Celebration of Life was held for AMFA founder and former National Director O.V. Delle-Femine near the National office in Colorado. Many current and former national officers, local officers, colleagues, and friends gathered to share stories and pictures of Dell’s life, his life’s work, and how he profoundly impacted our Association and our craft. It was abundantly clear that he influenced an entire industry and many people’s lives as he worked tirelessly to advocate for those in our profession. Dell was a man of great character and will be deeply missed.
On October 6, 2015, we conducted our Article 23, Par. R, Annual Wage Review at Alaska Airlines (ASA). This year’s wage review was the last wage review during the duration of our current Agreement, which becomes amendable in October 2016. In accordance with the terms of the review process, our pay increase this October was 1.5%, which went into effect on October 17, 2015. Please read the Committee’s update on our website for more details. There has been no follow-up from Alaska Airlines regarding the letter they had sent concerning discussions for a possible contract extension of the current Agreement, and we have filed our Section 6 Notice informing the Company that we intend to initiate full contract negotiations.
On Wednesday, September 2, 2015, we held a Joint Advisory Council Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. The National Executive Council, all Local Presidents, Airline Representatives from both Alaska and Southwest Airlines, and several member observers attended to discuss Association issues. Agenda items included an array of topics including legislative priorities, contract negotiations, grievance database software opportunities, carrier specific concerns, and the upcoming National Convention next spring. Please speak with your local representatives for more information.
This month at Alaska Airlines the Contract Proposal Prioritization Survey closed on August 17, 2015, and the results have been delivered to our Negotiation Committee. Additionally, the Company presented the Airline Representatives with a formal notice that they would like to, “…consider the possibility of opening discussions of an extension of the current agreement.” I will keep you updated on developments in this regard. The contract becomes amendable on October 17, 2016, and contains provisions for initiating negotiations one-year prior to the amendable date. Therefore, currently we still plan to declare our intention for presenting openers in October.
As you are hopefully aware, on July 6, 2015, we filed for mediation for the Southwest Airlines (SWA) Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) negotiations. After nearly three years of negotiations spent bargaining with a Company that is enjoying unprecedented profits yet advancing proposals that seek to mirror the concessionary work rules implemented at carriers that restructured in bankruptcy, your Negotiating Committee determined that it was time to request the assistance of the National Mediation Board (NMB). Our expectation is that the NMB’s involvement, with the guidance of a senior mediator in the process, will help us move toward a fair and equitable agreement.
All of the Local Presidents, Assistant National Director, Region I Director and Co-Chairman of the Southwest Airlines (SWA) Negotiating Committee, and I met this month in Dallas, Texas to discuss, among other things, the growing frustration in regard to the ongoing SWA Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) negotiations and SWA’s general attitude toward our workgroups. We are angry at the Company’s willingness to violate our contract forcing us to rigorously defend the agreement in arbitration. We are unanimous in our resolve to support our Negotiating Committee and our Airline Representatives as they continue our negotiations and enforce our collective bargaining agreement. I wrote a letter to Mr. Gary Kelly, SWA President and CEO, expressing our discontentment and requested that he, and other appropriate Company leadership, engage in our negotiations and help facilitate a successful resolution.
It was with great sadness that we announced this month the passing of our founder and former National Director O.V. Delle-Femine, affectionately known as “Dell.” Over 50 years ago the vision of a craft specific union for Aircraft Maintenance Technicians and Related employees became a reality, due in large part to Dell. He worked tirelessly to create AMFA and to promote and defend the craft. Dell succumbed to illness on May 7, 2015, after putting up the toughest fight of his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and supporters during this difficult time. A special edition of the Grapevine was mailed to each member’s home to commemorate and honor Dell’s long commitment to our craft and its members.
As a follow up to last month’s notice that we would have to find a new lobbying firm in Washington D.C. I would like to announce that we were successful in our search and have retained the firm of Commonwealth Strategic Partners, LLC. Information about the firm can be found on their website at (http://commonwealthstrategic.com/ ). We have begun the process of briefing them on our legislative initiatives and are looking forward to being very busy with our highest legislative priority: the FAA Reauthorization Bill.
On March 3-4, 2015, the Southwest Airlines (SWA) Facility Maintenance Technician (FMT) negotiations continued, and on March 11, 2015, the Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) negotiations also continued in Dallas, Texas. The negotiation updates for both groups have been posted to the AMFA National Website. The next scheduled session for the FMTs is April 21-22, 2015, and the AMTs is April 23, 2015. It is important to point out that during the AMT negotiations our Committee presented the Company a “Comprehensive Proposal” that contains the union’s proposal on all open items.
This month the National Secretary/Treasurer and I traveled to Washington, D.C. for our first face-to-face meetings with our new our lobbyist from The Keelen Group, Mr. Frank McCarthy. Mr. McCarthy scheduled a very active two days of meetings for us with various Congressmen and their senior staff that hold influential positions on Aviation and Transportation Subcommittees. Mr. McCarthy coordinated our visit with leadership from the Southwest Airline Pilots Association (SWAPA): President Paul Jackson and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Chip Hancock. We attended our meetings with the Congressmen (ten meetings over a two-day period) as aircraft maintenance technicians and pilots working jointly to advocate for legislation in the upcoming FAA Reauthorization Bill that will further our members’ interests and help protect our members’ careers in future regulations.
The New Year is off to a very busy start around the Association, we had three new local presidents sworn into office in January: Dan Burgess at Local 4, Dale Dixon at Local 11, and Frank Amore at Local 32. Congratulations to our new local presidents and a genuine thank you to Jim Kinnerk, Lyndon Heffernan, and Eric Hambacher for their past service supporting their local members.
The last month of the year started off with the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at the National Office in Denver, Colorado. We worked on a variety of issues including the National Budget for 2015, the Safety Initiative, and concerns presented from the Southwest Airlines (SWA) Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) Representative. Another important topic of discussion was the Aircraft Engineers International (AEI) Annual Congress for 2015. Previously, the AEI Delegates have expressed an interest in requesting AMFA to host the Annual Congress. At the recent Congress I responded to the delegates that I would present the idea to the NEC for consideration, and during our meeting in Denver the NEC concluded that we would be honored to host the AEI Annual Congress for 2015 in Seattle, Washington next fall.
During the first week of November Tim Cullen, Local 14 President and Aircraft Engineers International (AEI) – Secretary of The Americas, and I attended AEI’s 42nd Annual Congress in Paris, France. This year’s Congress was well attended; there were thirty-three delegates from seventeen different countries representing fourteen Aircraft Maintenance Technician/Engineer unions. As the Australian affiliate put it best, “We Are the Guardians of Air Safety,” and this year’s Congress focused primarily on the role of the AMT and the array of challenges we face as we do our jobs in a stressful environment. Universally AMTs are facing the same obstacles wherever you look. Issues such as unrealistic work package schedules, inadequate staffing, airlines attempting to push more of our work to vendors or to the unlicensed workforce are not unique to any particular sector. We need to be aware of the implications of these schemes and work with other organizations that share our craft focused attention to these issues.
On October 1, 2014, the National Executive Council met with the Vice Presidents of Maintenance and Safety from both Alaska and Southwest Airlines in San Diego, CA regarding our Safety Initiative. We shared our PowerPoint presentation and discussed an array of safety concerns that we both share. We agreed to work together in our mutual commitment to providing a safe work area and product, and to step up communications on safety related issues. Additionally, Safety & Standards Director David Brooks will be reaching out to both carriers to arrange meetings in the near future to further our work on the concept of joint safety working groups designed to identify and correct safety issues for our members. You should expect to hear more regarding the Safety Initiative as we move forward.
This month started off with the Southwest Airlines (SWA) Facility Maintenance Technician (FMT) negotiations in Dallas, Texas. I was able to attend this session and appreciate all of the work the committees have done in these negotiations. During the following FMT session later in the month, the Company presented our Committee with a bundled proposal that addressed multiple articles; our Committee is crafting a comprehensive response to their proposal. Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) negotiations also continued this month and the negotiation updates (video and written) for all sessions have been posted to the AMFA National Website.
As a continuation of the National Executive Council’s (NEC) Safety Initiative in highlighting the vital role we all play in aviation safety, I would like to call your attention to the “Compliance Reminders” that are published each month by Safety and Standards Director David Brooks. The Compliance Reminders are posted to the National Website, under the Safety and Standards Page, and touch on a different subject each posting. They are intended to draw your attention to areas where there has been an identified risk, or opportunity for mishaps, and serve as a tool to aid in prevention.
As mentioned in last month’s update, the National Executive Council (NEC) is pursuing a Safety Initiative to remind our members of the vital role we all play in aviation safety, and why it is imperative we remain compliant as we perform our jobs. As part of this initiative, the July issue of “The Grapevine,” which you should have already received in the mail, was dedicated to safety and compliance.
The first part of June the National Executive Council (NEC) met at our National Office in Denver,
Colorado to work on our ongoing docket of items. In addition to our continued agenda, we discussed
our concerns regarding an array of safety-related matters that need to be addressed.
The first week of May we held local officer training for the presidents, vice-presidents, secretaries and treasurers at the national office in Denver. I facilitated the training for the presidents and vice-presidents and Justin Madden, National Secretary/Treasurer facilitated the training for the secretaries and treasurers. In the class I conducted we covered an array of topics including parliamentary procedures, duty of fair representation, the local’s grievance committee’s structure and function then concluded with a review of the professional standards program. For the treasurers Mr. Madden covered the use of Excel and QuickBooks software and financial record keeping. For the secretaries he covered the UnionWare member database system, conducting local elections with an emphasis on electronic voting methods and highlighted record retention requirements.
April started off with National Secretary/Treasurer Justin Madden, Region I Director Earl Clark, and I travelling to Washington DC to meet with our legislative firm. We met with Nile Elam, Lobbyit.com primary lobbyist to review progress on our legislative initiatives and determine direction on future efforts. Nile had scheduled a full day of meetings for us with members of both the House and Senate on April 9, 2014. The meetings were very successful; please click here to read an article about these meetings on the AMFA National Website.
March continued our very busy start of the year; the first week National Safety & Standards Director David Brooks and I attended the FAA ASAP Information Sharing meeting in Seattle, WA. The FAA holds two of these meeting per year for participants in the various ASAP programs to share de-identified information from events that have been submitted and resulted in educational opportunities to advance aviation safety. The FAA reiterated their commitment to the non-punitive aspect of the program. AMFA’s Alaska (ASA) and Southwest (SWA) ASAP Representatives also attended the 3-day meeting.
The first week of February 2014 the Association held its Joint Advisory Council (JAC) meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. The JAC is comprised of the National Executive Council, all Local Presidents, and one Airline Representative from each carrier. We met to discuss an array of issues important to our membership ranging from contract negotiations to leveraging new technology that may enhance participation at local membership meetings, and many other relevant topics.
January started right off with the negotiations resuming at Southwest Airlines (SWA) for the Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMT) and the following week with the Facility Maintenance Technicians. Updates have been posted for both groups and additional dates are scheduled in February. The next session for the AMT negotiations is scheduled for the week of February 10; please pay particular attention to the next update as our Committee plans to make sure the record is straight as it pertains to the status of our ongoing negotiations.
Page Last Updated: Jan 31, 2017 (12:14:00)
Safety in the Air Begins with Quality Maintenance on the Ground
Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association
14001 E Iliff Avenue, Suite 217
Aurora, CO 80014
Phone: 303-752-AMFA (2632)