I hope everyone had a happy and safe Halloween with family and friends. The holiday season is just around the corner, with just 23 days to Thanksgiving, 50 days until Christmas, and 56 days until we ring in a New Year.
On October 8, 2019, National Safety and Standards Director Scott King and I attended the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) public meeting where they solicited comments and suggestions from stakeholders on issues facing the agency in the administration of the whistleblower protection provisions under the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21). OSHA is interested in obtaining information from the public on key issues facing the agency’s whistleblower program, and AMFA leaders had the opportunity to present feedback. For more details on AMFA’s presentation, please view the Aviation Industry Whistleblower Stakeholder Meeting report posted on the AMFA National Website.
On October 29, 2019, AMFA leaders attended the InfoShare Safety Conference in Belleview, WA where we had the opportunity to participate in the FAA Aviation Safety Flight Standards general planning and discussion session. The topic for this conference was to discuss the 737 MAX Return to Service (RTS) timeline and Critical Path Review RTS Considerations (US vs Global). Those who currently operate the 737 MAX along with their respective CMOs as well as requisite pilot unions participated in discussions centered on proposed Flight Standards actions/considerations. There still is no confirmed timeline on the 737 MAX RTS.
AMFA has been following the Boeing 737 MAX 8 situation very carefully over these past months. On October 31, 2019, we submitted our aircraft training recommendations in a letter to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and FAA Administrator Steve Dixon. Our desire is to work together with all stakeholders to identify common solutions so that we may confidently support the re-launch of the MAX. We also wanted to shed more light on the maintenance training aspect, and the fact that AMTs are direct stakeholders in this situation. This goes back to the initial launch of the aircraft at SWA where very few mechanics on shift were properly trained, ultimately leading to poor reliability and a tarnished initial impression of the aircraft and SWA.
The NEC continues to strive for the best communication practices to reach our membership. Tools are in place for our members to acquire news and updates regarding current events throughout the Association via the National website, AMFA App, and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for your continued support in this membership outreach and communication campaign. We will also continue to conduct station and GMM visits system-wide.
AMFA Representatives will continue to visit Horizon Air stations in the coming months to help answer questions from the membership as the transition period continues. As a reminder, semimonthly dues deductions will start November 10, 2019, and the rate is 2 times your base rate per month. Once we receive the necessary data to conduct elections in accordance with our Constitution and federal law, Local 14 will begin the election process for positions that are airline specific: Airline, Area, and Aviation Safety Action Program Representatives. I cannot express the importance of making sure you have a personal email address on file with AMFA so that you can receive election and referenda details expediently from AMFA; voting materials WILL NOT be sent to your company email. Please monitor the Horizon Air News and Updates page of the AMFA National website for most up-to-date information for your group.
We continue to await the National Mediation Board determination for single carrier status regarding the Alaska Airlines and Legacy Virgin America groups. We have received the review of documents and anticipate a single carrier certificate the first week in December. Please monitor the Alaska Airlines News and Updates page of the AMFA National website for further details.
Federal litigation between AMFA and Southwest Airlines continues. Both parties have made their last positional legal motion to the courts and are now waiting on a ruling by the Federal Judge on trial or no trial based on if court has jurisdiction. The pending litigation only continues the “us against them” mentality and fosters hostility between mechanics and management. This should be a time when both parties start the next chapter of working together as mutual stakeholders in the future of SWA. Please review the secure Legal Updates (Members Only) page of the National website for further information on legal developments.
On October 25, 2019, the AMFA-SWA ASAP ERC Representatives and National officers met with SWA Maintenance Tech-ops addressing the issue of AMTs who have been accepted into the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) being disciplined for disclosure. As a result of these disciplinary actions, there has been a drastic decline in the number of reports being submitted. The essence and proactive safety net of the ASAP is to enhance aviation safety through the prevention of accidents and incidents. Its focus is to encourage voluntary reporting of safety issues and events that come to the attention of employees of certain certificate holders. We are committed to trying to find common ground with SWA in a resolution to uphold the highest levels of safety and security in the industry.
Reminder: all Members, 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.
Safety in the Air Begins with Quality Maintenance on the Ground
Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association
7853 E. Arapahoe Court, Suite 1100
Centennial, CO 80112
Phone: 303-752-AMFA (2632)