January 5, 2021
Happy New Year! I think we’re reassessing the definition of “normal life” and what that actually means as well as what this new year will optimistically bring. We hope you and your family had a safe Christmas and New Year, while celebrating the best you could under the confines brought on by this invisible virus. We have all made great sacrifices and adjustments in our personal lives as well as in our workplaces during this last year. Your AMFA Officers and Representatives look forward to continuing to fight for your profession as your voice and confidante in representing you in 2021.
At the end of December, AMFA– Alaska Airlines (AS) Airlines Representatives (ALRs) continued further battles with the Company in another unfortunate arbitration case regarding the efficiency of roster apps and are awaiting a decision from the Arbitrator in enforcement of your CBA. Additionally, the ALRs are in ongoing discussions and have filed a grievance with AS management regarding the Company’s recent attendance policy. Again, thank you for your assistance and follow-up conversations with management, which allowed the ALRs to validate the dates and information disputed via the grievance process. Thank you for all your efforts and patience, we will be moving forward to find resolution to this attendance issue.
The NMB investigation for the accretion of AS Maintenance (MX) Controllers is still underway, and we finally received a request by NMB for their respective job description and performance of duties, which describes the Mechanics and Related Employees duties and responsibilities. We are still in the process of answering questions and assisting in the NMB investigation process. We will keep you updated as developments unfold.
Horizon Air (QX) has recently had operational staffing issues system-wide and has hired approximately 20 AMTs to fill understaffed locations caused by the Voluntary Early Out for Retirement option and operational schedule. Management and AMFA Representatives are implementing a Professional Standards process for our members at QX, and we are thankfully our Local 14 Professional Standards Chairman will assist in the implementation of this program. This will be a great tool for the tenured and new employees to utilize in their respective workplaces and stations.
The AMFA–Southwest Airlines (SWA) ALRs along with AMFA legal proceeded to expedited arbitration to defend our contracts and your livelihood against SWA Management WARN Notices. On December 18, arbitration hearings were completed for all three Expedited Arbitrations (AMT, App Tech, and FMT) regarding furlough protection. During the course of the arbitration process, Congress reached a deal on a stimulus package, including a PSP Extension for three months with restrictions on no furloughs or reductions of wages or benefits. The “Coronavirus Response and Relief” of The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 and was signed into law by the POTUS on December 27, 2020. That same day, SWA CEO Gary Kelly publicly stated, “the new law will be provided payroll support for all SWA through March 31, 2021, we are halting all efforts to furlough or reduce employees’ pay and officially rescinding the WARN notices, furlough notices of potential impact and notices of pay reduction for Noncontract employees that were previously sent.”
All three Arbitrators were noticed with a post-hearing stipulation by legal, which confirms that the cases are now moot because the reduction in force (RIF) by SWA CEO has been canceled. Furthermore, all three contracts remain intact with no concessions through 2021. There will be no RIF, no job loss, and there will be no ruling issued on the grievances have been withdrawn without prejudice. For further information, please monitor the Southwest Airlines Updates page of the AMFA National Website addressing this matter, specifically Update #7.
An NMB Investigation is underway in response to AMFA’s filing for a representation dispute for the American Airlines Mechanic and Related workgroups. The investigation process includes validating the authenticity of your overwhelming number of signed authorization cards compared to the 13,213 potential eligible voters and signature samples provided by the American Airlines. The Investigator will also assess the eligibility of voters based on determination of the Mechanics and Related Employees Craft or Class to ensure that a majority sought an election for union representation. And finally, the investigator will schedule the distribution of voting instructions for a Representation Dispute Election, which will be conducted by telephone and internet.
As anticipated, the IAM/TWU Association will make every attempt to prevent this election by any means necessary, including inflating the eligibility list submitted by the Company with other workgroups. Understand, AMFA has filed more than enough signed Authorization for Representation cards with the NMB to cover the Company’s submitted number of 13,213 potential eligible voters. For further updates and info please visit AMFA at American Airlines page of the AMFA National website.
AMFA’s legislative team continues to engage discussions related to the CARES Act Payroll Support Program (PSP) relief package. The current CARES Act PSP Extension provided the following relief for airlines:
- 15 billion dollars for airlines extending PSP roughly 3 months to March 31, 2021
- Funds must be used exclusively for salaries, wages, and benefits
- Carriers who receive PSP cannot furlough or reduce wages or benefits through March 31, 2021
- Carriers must agree to other program terms and conditions, including continuation of certain air service deemed necessary by the Secretary of Transportation, no stock buybacks or dividend payments through March 2021, and compensation limits on executive salaries through October 2022
- All employees furloughed after October 1, 2020, will be called back and receive some backpay
Be assured, AMFA is adamantly fighting for you under the parameters of the CARES Act. Please monitor the Legislative Updates page of the AMFA National website for more detail.
AMFA Local Safety and Standards Chairman continue to be actively involved system-wide to reinforce adherence to workplace cleaning protocol via CDC guidelines. We urge you to utilize PPE, practice social distancing, adhere to any company policy on wearing masks while performing your job, and remember, safety is always the number one priority. If you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19 safety procedures or protocols, please contact your Local Safety and Standards Chairman.
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 while being vigilant and to stay engaged with your union and officers. Please monitor your respective carrier page of the AMFA National website for further airline specific details: Alaska Airlines Updates, Horizon Air Updates, Southwest Airlines Updates. Additionally, I encourage you 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 support and participation – please stay engaged and informed, our unity, especially during these times, is our strength.