July 30, 2014
Dear AMFA Members:
In the July edition of the Grapevine Newsletter we wrote extensively about AMFA’s safety initiative. AMFA believes wholeheartedly that safety is our number one priority. We sincerely understand that our craft’s relationship with the flying public is one of safety and dutifully stand by our mantra, “Safety in the air begins with quality maintenance on the ground.”
To that end, this month, one of our members working for Southwest Airlines filed an AIR21 Whistle Blower complaint against Southwest Airlines under 49 U.S.C §42121 with the United States Department of Labor. In his complaint, the aircraft maintenance technician states that he was reprimanded for reporting maintenance issues that his Base Manager and Manager of Maintenance deemed “working outside of scope of assigned task.” The complaint further states that he was advised two days later that any further violations might result in “further disciplinary action,” a message he states was “meant to intimidate and dissuade mechanics from reporting similar discrepancies.”
AMFA’s National Executive Council (NEC) fully supports the actions of this member, and we reiterate our message from the newsletter: “If a manager asks you to deviate from maintenance standards, they are asking you to violate federal law. AIR21 was enacted specifically to protect you and your job from any retaliation for reporting any such violations.”
AMFA also supports your right to invoke AIR21. We urge you to be vigilant in reporting safety violations and, most importantly, we urge you to never allow your professional obligations to be deterred by intimidation tactics. It is your job and responsibility to keep our aircraft running safely for the flying public.
The onus is now on Southwest Airlines executives to fully investigate these charges, and should they find that the managers in question violated the law, take the proper steps to ensure this never happens again.
We see this is as a perfect opportunity to work more closely with our represented carriers to create a stronger safety culture, and the AMFA NEC hopes that Southwest Airlines will seize this opportunity. Stay together and keep AMFA strong!
AMFA National Executive Council