June 10, 2019
We ended the month of May celebrating Memorial Day. I hope we all can remember those who gave their lives, never forget their sacrifices, tell their stories, celebrate their legacies, and honor the fallen. God bless our loved ones.
I would like to acknowledge the tremendous effort and dedication our Legislative Affairs Director, Justin Madden and our lobbying firm, Commonwealth Strategic Partners has put forth to encourage the White House to recognize the importance of Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMTs) in this aviation industry and continuing to elevate our craft. I was impressed and encouraged that so many groups supported our joint efforts, and I offer my sincere thanks to Senator Duckworth and Congressman Larsen for their work to acknowledge the AMT on our special day – Aviation Maintenance Technicians Day, May 24. Additionally, I extend a special thanks to the Aerospace Maintenance Council and Ken MacTiernan, who we worked with closely to accomplish this letter. Impressively, our hard work paid off, and we were recognized by the President of the United States in the “Presidential Message on Aviation Maintenance Technician Day.”
May was extremely busy for both the AMFA and Alaska Negotiating Committees in trying to reach a Transition Agreement to bring the Legacy Virgin American (Airbus) Aircraft Maintenance Technicians under the AMFA CBA as well as an Integrated Seniority List. After the release of Update #8 on April 30, 2019, our membership was very vocal about their wishes; therefore, we continued talks the following week. We presented the Company with a proposal on May 10, 2019, and asked for definition purposes, “all-in” be defined as including base pay, license premiums, line premium, and top scale longevity.
The parties met again on May 14, 2019, and Alaska provided information that was requested by AMFA related to the terms of the other agreements on the property as well as other AMT groups in the industry. Neither side presented additional proposals, but scheduled another session for the following week for.
The parties met again on May 21, 2019, and May 30, 2019, which included open discussions on a deal that would pass if voted on, legal timelines if vote failed, and the process and timeline to go to arbitration. The ALRs conducted several station visits and received face-to-face feedback from the membership of the line and hangars regarding the supposal and fine tuning it to reach an Agreement in Principal (AIP). Hoping to reach a Transition Agreement and Seniority Integration to vote on, the following meeting was scheduled for June 3, 2019. Please monitor the Alaska Airlines News and Updates page of the AMFA National website for further details.
We are proud to report that our members’ voices were heard loud and clear on May 21, 2019, when the AMFA-Southwest Airlines membership voted to ratify a collective bargaining agreement with a participation rate of 93.62% and approval of 94.62%. Congratulations AMFA-SWA AMTs. I want to express my undaunted appreciation to the AMFA-SWA membership for their support, dedication, and unity in getting this deserved and justifiable contract. I am extremely honored to represent all of you.
We cannot forget this was a long 6+ year endeavor, and we must give great appreciation to former AMFA-SWA Airline Representatives and Officers as their commitment and dedication played important roles in paving the road of negotiations: Jack Coonrod, Nino DiMaggio, Matt Townsend, Shane Flachman, Mike Nelson, Mike Young, and Bob Cramer. These leaders fought this fight and contributed at various stages of negotiations.
A continued thanks and appreciation goes out to our Negotiating Committee; Local Officers and Representatives; Seham Legal Counsel; AMFA Economist; National Officers; National Administrative Team; public relations firms of Mayes Media, Kenefick Communications, and Commerce House – all who unconditionally supported our AMFA- SWA members in getting a well-deserved industry leading contract. Tremendous job and well done by all!
I would like to share some highlights of a recent article by Bloomberg Law Article - Bloomberg law legal analyst, Robert Combs:
“[AMFA-SWA Contract] with its mechanics union is single handedly responsible for a boost the average union wage across the country.”
“One analyst says it’s the largest average bonus he’s ever seen.”
“But that’s what happens when a company's employees work 7 years without a ratified contract in place. Those missed annual raises just don’t evaporate they accumulate.”
Going forward I am optimistic about a viable and professional working relationship with management at Southwest Airlines. We still have problems that need to be acknowledged and addressed by both sides. This continues to be a challenging time for Southwest – and the aviation industry as a whole – specifically with the two recent fatal crashes with the Boeing 737MAX aircraft, grounding of the entire MAX fleet, Leap 1B Engine revisions, recent leading edge slat track AD, MCAS revisions, other country’s federal regulators participation of approval of MAX re-introduction, flying public and media opposition to 737 MAX, public opinion of Boeing and FAA oversight, Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit-findings, public hearing and findings of investigation of Flight 1380, and on-time scheduling issues. With hard work, respect, and professionalism we can conquer these challenges together.
The NEC continues our efforts to achieve the best communication practices to reach our membership. Tools are in place for our members to acquire latest news and updates regarding current events throughout the Association via the National website, AMFA App, and social media. The NEC also continues to conduct station and GMM visits throughout the system. Thank you for your continued support in this communication campaign.
Reminder: the FAA Hotline reporting system may be utilized to report concerns of aviation safety: https://hotline.faa.gov/. We must realize our grave responsibility as FAA certified airman to exercise our judgement on the airworthiness of aircraft and equipment. We, therefore, pledge unyielding adherence to these precepts for the advancement of public safety of aviation and for the dignity for our craft.
As always, I ask you please be safe and to stay engaged with your union and officers. For more carrier specific updates and further information regarding AMFA and the airline industry, please visit the AMFA National Website at www.amfanational.org. Our most determined efforts will only succeed with your continued support and participation – please stay informed.