September 3, 2021
In the recent months, we have had numerous conversations system-wide revealing concerns regarding the rapid increase of commercial air traffic. These concerns include maintenance of service standards, limited on-the-job and equipment/tooling training, maintenance compliance, and pressure to take shortcuts while performing maintenance tasks. It is important to note that becoming a certified mechanic takes two years of school to pass a sophisticated FAA certification process and can take an additional five years to become proficient at the craft. This means that effectively replacing retired mechanics will take much longer than many carriers anticipate.
In the long run, airlines hire personnel to catch up with demand and a new generation of mechanics will grow to become experienced experts; however, in the shorter term, there is reason for concern. AMFA is asking airlines to provide valuable, routine aircraft training and proceed with greater caution. Just because the demand is growing, management should not pressure you to shortcut safety protocols and demand too much of inexperienced mechanics. The carriers’ maintenance programs dictate what staffing levels should be regarding scheduled and unscheduled aircraft maintenance and how task cards are packaged. At AMFA, we firmly believe that safety in the air begins with quality maintenance on the ground, and safety must be every airline’s first priority. We are all eager to travel again and to see air traffic demands return to pre-Covid levels, but we must do so in a manner that puts safety, training, and compliance ahead of profits.
In the coming weeks, the 20 constitution amendment proposals accepted by the Local delegates at the National Convention in July will be sent to the AMFA membership for a ratification vote. I would like to ask for your participation in this referendum process. Thank you in advance to everyone for exercising your responsibilities by voting as a member of AMFA.
As noted last month, AMFA recently established the first and only political action committee (PAC) representing aircraft mechanic and related issues: AMFA PAC. By now, you should have received a letter from AMFA leadership asking you to join. As AMFA PAC is a separate entity from your union, it requires separate membership. You have a choice to invest in our craft’s future or not. We’ve had a positive response from the membership so far, but we ask you to join your fellow members in support. There will be an informational webinar on September 15, 2021, at 1:00 Eastern Time to learn more about AMFA PAC. To receive the necessary credentials to access the webinar, please click here to register. Only AMFA members are eligible to join, so please do not share the link with anyone else. For those of you who cannot attend due to other obligations, the webinar will be recorded and posted on the National website at some point after the event.
The mission of the AMFA PAC is to help advance the legislative agenda of AMFA by opening political doors and providing further access to policymakers. This access delivers opportunities to express our well-reasoned viewpoints to mobilize change on the issues of the day, like foreign outsourcing, workforce development, safety and security, and emerging technologies.
While we have had great success in the legislative arena, our counterparts like APA, SWAPA, and ALPA have had a PAC for years to enhance their legislative agenda. As the only craft-specific labor group in the US, AMFA strives to ensure the technicians’ voice is heard at the highest levels of government and industry, and with the craft-specific voice AMFA PAC ensures, we have a unique advantage as others in the industry many other PACs present multiple competing interests. If you are an AMFA Member or Associate Member, you may join the AMFA PAC by clicking here. For further updates and information, please visit the Government Affairs and AMFA PAC pages of the AMFA National website.
AMFA National and Locals have multiple calls regarding the matter of potential mandatory vaccination requirements. As stated in the NEC’s memo to AMFA LECs on August 8, 2021, AMFA National supports all reasonable efforts based on medicine and science to combat the pandemic, including voluntary vaccination. AMFA National recognizes the decision to get vaccinated is an individual choice, not one that belongs to anyone else, especially any employer. AMFA National supports the defense under existing contract rights of any represented employee’s individual, reasonable choice in response to any employer-mandated vaccine program to protect those who seek an exemption or delay from vaccination based on a reasonable accommodation of their medical, physical, or any other recognized legal grounds such as religion – from adverse action by management.
AMFA–Alaska Airlines (AS) Airline Representatives (ALRs) continue working with the Company and Arbitrator on the Roster Apps arbitration case. Alaska continues to hire and fill positions by starting the hiring process in Anchorage, AK, and they intend to hire 14-16 AMTs per month for the next 12 months for a total of 144. For further airline specific details: Alaska Airlines Updates.
Horizon Air continues to hire new AMTs yet are losing more AMTs than hiring. The Contract Proposal Prioritization Survey has concluded, and the results were be given to the Negotiation Committee for review as they prepare for the upcoming contract negotiation process.
It has been over four months since the launch of the Southwest Airlines (SWA) Maintenix (MXi) program within SWA recordkeeping. Your feedback will hopefully direct SWA to refresh training for individual roles, prioritize enhancement requests, and address any system issues or defects within MXi. Just a few of the suggestions our survey of the SWA membership identified are related to receiving and ordering parts, simplify information flow, display more information on fewer screens, and reduce the number of duplicate clicks and steps in performing minimal easy tasks. As SWA works to fix the more that 100+ issue with the program, we must remain vigilant in uncovering anything that may compromise the integrity of safety or compliance. If you encounter any concerns, stop your task and get sufficient clarification in order to confidently sign-off that work.
I am proud to announce that AMFA has filed for union representation with the National Mediation Board (NMB) on behalf of the Aircraft Maintenance Controllers at JetBlue on August 13, 2021. We have been assigned NMB Case No. CR-7230, and Investigator Josie G.M. Bautista has been assigned to the case. Currently, the maintenance controllers have no union representation, and therefore, it is important to understand their right to select representation without carrier influence or interference. Under the Railway Labor Act, the carrier is not permitted to influence, interfere, or coerce employees in any manner in an effort to induce them to refrain from participating in an election should there be one. Alleged violations may be reported to AMFA’s Attorneys and/or in writing to the National Mediation Board, Office of Legal Affairs, 1301 K Street, NW, Suite 250 East, Washington, DC 20005.
I regret to inform both the AMTs of American Airlines and the AMFA membership that NMB issued their determination on September 2, 2021, in NMB Case No. R-7557, American Airlines/TWU/IAM Association and AMFA concluding AMFA did not file enough authorization cards of 7,758 filed with the NMB and therefore there was a decision of insufficient showing of interest. The final number of eligible employees determined by the NMB Investigator is 14,402, and AMFA filed 7,228 against that list, reflecting what we believe is a sufficient number of cards and showing of interest.
Thank you to your grassroots organizers for their diligence and dedication through this long process. While we were unsuccessful in our quest to unite your group with AMFA, this is certainly not a victory for the TWU/IAM Association as this process processed exposed critical, tangible flaws within their structure and what their members want and deserve. The TWU/IAM Association has dug themselves in a deep hole for themselves, the division is evident. They intentionally and knowingly are depriving their members the right of voting and choosing for the union of their choice and openly brag about it. The TWU/IAM knowing and acknowledge that 7,758 of their divided members of the AA Mechanics and related have signed cards and these vocal majority have been held hostage to rid themselves of the dual union Association. AMFA was their way out, in utilizing a NMB representation vote for the best interests of the American Airlines employees. Ultimately, the NMB Investigator and three board members ruled on eligibility in determining the AA representation election dispute. For further information, please visit the AMFA at the American Airlines page.
Reminder: Please utilize your carrier’s Safety Reporting System (SRS) when you feel there are safety or compliance concerns while performing your job. In addition to your carrier’s SRS, the FAA Hotline 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 to please be safe while being vigilant and to stay engaged with your union and officers. In doing so, 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. For 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.