August 5, 2014
Participants for AMFA:
Michael Nelson – Region II Director
Bob Cramer – Local 4 Airline Representative
Matt Townsend – Local 11 Airline Representative
Shane Flachman – Local 18 Airline Representative
Lucas Middlebrook – AMFA Counsel
Participants for Southwest Airlines:
Mike Ryan – VP, Labor Relations
Gerry Anderson – Sr Director, Labor Relations
Shawn Jenson – Director, Maintenance Control
Michelle Jordan – Director, Labor Relations
Mark Lyon – Sr Manager, Labor Relations
Sam Moser – Manager, Financial Planning
The Negotiating Committee is providing this update to the AMFA Membership at Southwest Airlines. This report is the only official authorized source of negotiating communications by the Committee.
As previously notified, the purpose of the July 30 and 31, 2014, Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) and Related negotiations was to work on Maintenance Controller and Technical Trainer specific requirements. On July 29 we worked with the Maintenance Controller Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) Steve Day, Rob Cush, and Tim Andrais to identify items in Articles 5: Hours of Service, 6: Overtime and Holidays, and 7: Training we would work to resolve in this session. We also identified that Articles 9: Seniority, 10: Filling of Vacancies, 14: Wage Rules-Shift Premiums-Longevity, and 15: Wage Rules, as articles we will need to address for both the Controllers and Trainers in future sessions. Although Article 9 is currently "tabled" in negotiations due to our Temporary Supervisor proposal, Articles 10, 14, and 15 are three of the five articles left that we have yet to open in negotiations.
On Wednesday, July 30, 2014, the day began with the Company proposing either separate contracts for the Maintenance Controllers and Technical Trainers or "indexes" for each group that would be placed in the back of the White Book. We advised the Company that the intent of the Letters of Agreement (LOAs) were to integrate both of these groups into the White Book.
Unfortunately, once we rejected the Company’s concept of separate books or separate indexes, the Company had nothing to present. Therefore, we presented our counter proposals for Article 5 with the main points being a 2080 hours maximum of scheduled hours in a calendar year for Maintenance Controllers, which was a change to the Company’s proposed scheduling "as required to support the Operation, and as determined by Departmental Leadership." We rejected the Company’s proposed 16-hour duty limit proposal. We also proposed language dealing with the Relief Controllers including 180 hours a month maximum scheduled hours and other language intended to ensure proper rest when switching between different shifts. In Article 6, we rejected the Company’s proposal which also included a 16-hour duty limit and told the Company we’d just like to take them to current AMT language. This language would also provide the group additional Holidays and the right to convert all their Holidays to Floating Holidays. In Article 7 we proposed one "Operational Familiarization Flight" and one shift "working" in aircraft maintenance operations annually. We then countered on the Company’s proposed language dealing with Shift/Day Trades simplifying it with the intent that Controllers can only trade with other Controllers.
Our last proposal of the session was an "Automation/ Technology Protection" piece, which was a hybrid of current AMT and Dispatcher language and intended to protect jobs in the event of major technological advancements.
Thursday morning we received the Company’s latest counters on the above items. They were good with most of our Article 5 language except they rejected the 2080 schedule hour maximum in exchange for a 5% premium paid when working a 12 hour shift. Their major change to our Article 6 was dealing with what qualifies for double-time pay on days off, specifically, the guys that are scheduled for three (3) or four (4) days off. The first day off worked would be at time-and-a half, but if there is a day off taken before another day off is worked, it would only be at time-and-a-half; only consecutive days off worked would continue to be paid at double-time. They also countered with the current practice of only five (5) Holidays allowed to be converted and scheduled for Floating Holidays. Elsewhere, any 16-hour duty limit reference that we struck, they unstruck with the explanation that 16-hour duty limit is current practice and most of the guys don’t even want to work that long in the Maintenance Control environment. The Company also rejected our "Automation Protection" as it was currently written, but they did say they would work with us to ease these concerns.We wrapped up the morning with a Tentative Agreement (TA) for Article 7 with language offering at least one shift of "observation" training in an operational environment each 24 months.
After lunch we were joined by the Technical Trainer SMEs Tucker Steele and Mark Sheafer as we planned to review the White Book to see if we missed any articles where either side intended to propose changes. Unfortunately, we ended up spending valuable time debating these work groups’ "rights" to the current AMT language. The Company started making the same argument that they have made for the past year each time it was suggested we bring the Facilities Maintenance Technicians into the current CBA. Although there is a huge difference, the Company signed the Letter of Agreements that were approved by the membership, in which it was agreed that provisions of the AMT CBA applied to these groups. We were able to salvage some productive time to discuss the Trainers’ concerns with the rules surrounding their Training performed in the field. We proposed adding them to the current Article 8: Field Service, therefore giving them established guidelines to use when they are working away from their base. We also worked with the Trainer SMEs in caucus and identified several other items we will be working on with this group in the future.
Our side continues to be committed to making a concerted effort to reach an agreement that addresses our members’ and the Company’s concerns. Our Committee would like to thank the observers that took the time to attend. It is important to remember that your Committee is only as strong as the members that support us – stay engaged, remain united, and together we will maintain a contract that protects our profession and rewards your labor.
The next AMT negotiations are scheduled in Dallas, TX on August 13 and 14, 2014. Our intent is to get back to negotiating on the main body of the CBA with only Articles 2: Scope of Agreement, 10: Filing of Vacancies, 14:Wage Rules- Shift Premiums- Longevity, 15: Wage Rules, 29: Duration, and LOA #1: International Outsourcing (which has to be agreed upon to continue) left to be opened.
Your Negotiating Committee