|Letter from Louie
By Louie Key, National Director
Over halfway into 2013 and though much has actually been accomplished, it can sometimes feel like we’re just spinning our wheels.
We have suffered delays with our Southwest negotiations for both the Aircraft Maintenance Technicians and Facility Maintenance Technicians. The company is engaging in hostile tactics and trying to force us to negotiate an entirely separate agreement for this workgroup.
We were also engaged in a protracted organizing campaign at American Airlines that ended with the IBT filing for a representation election with the National Mediation Board (NMB). Their unexpected filing, along with the airline’s questionably quick production of their eligibility list, left us in the lurch. Although we also filed, the NMB denied our filing based on a technicality and an unreasonable timeframe.
Sometimes events like these can render us frustrated. But isn’t that the point? Employers want to aggravate us in an attempt to force mistakes. Southwest wants a separate Facilities Maintenance Technician’s collective bargaining agreement even though it is much simpler to accrete them into the Aircraft Maintenance Technician’s contract. They would like to create as much separation between our craft as possible so we fight amongst ourselves and waste energy and resources negotiating multiple contracts. The IBT wants to leave us frustrated because they think that makes us look weak. We believe American Airlines produced their eligibility list so quickly because they are afraid of AMFA and would help anyone keep democracy away. This is not the first time that a union has colluded with American Airlines to keep AMFA off the property.
What I come away with when I reflect on this year so far is that we MUST be doing something right! Our adversaries and employers are so afraid to engage honestly with us that they are resorting to collusion or hostility. The key is that we cannot let these tactics fracture our solidarity or cause us to lose sight of our objectives.
Our goal is to lift the standards for the technicians and related crafts, and believe our peers in other airline craft unions share that goal. We all want safe, pleasant, and productive workplaces, even our employers for the most part. Unfortunately, we often differ from them on how to define living standards or safety standards, and therein is the issue.
Always remember that YOU are AMFA’s primary interest. We will not allow the antagonistic behavior of our employers to sway us from protecting you and your families at the bargaining table or in servicing our contracts. We cannot allow underhanded maneuvers to deter us from seeking out new members. We will continue to be vigilant in protecting our members, our contracts, and ultimately our craft.
“Safety in the air begins with quality maintenance on the ground.”
In this issue