November 18, 2014
Participants for AMFA:
Aaron Hansen – Assistant National Director
Earl Clark – Region I Director
Michael Nelson – Region II Director
Bob Cramer – Local 4 Airline Representative
Matt Townsend – Local 11 Airline Representative
Shane Flachman – Local 18 Airline Representative
Mike Young – Local 32 Airline Representative
Lucas Middlebrook – AMFA Counsel
Steve Day – Maintenance Control
Rob Bentley – Technical Instructor
Participants for Southwest Airlines:
Mike Ryan – VP, Labor Relations
Gerry Anderson – Sr Director, Labor Relations
Scott Collings – Director, Central Region
Shawn Jensen – Director, MX Control Operations
Don Filippone – Sr Manager, MX Training
Michelle Jordan – Director, Labor Relations
Mark Lyon – Sr Manager, Labor Relations
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.
We met for Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) and Related negotiations on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, for a scheduled two-day session. The first day we had our Maintenance (MX) Control Subject Matter Expert (SME) in attendance to help work through MX Control issues, and the second day we had our Technical Instructor SME present to help work through Instructor issues. Our goal was to achieve some resemblance of progress by focusing on each group separately as opposed to trying to work through language with both groups present as we have in prior sessions.
The Company first presented their counter offer to Article 9: Seniority which included striking language that both sides had previously accepted after several hours of interest based negotiations that dealt with a selection process for Temporary Supervisors. The Company reported that despite the fact that it had proposed and agreed to the language in the past, the "operators" found too many holes with it and, therefore, they would like to go back to current language on this issue. It is difficult enough to negotiate an Agreement with the Company, given its cost-cutting objective during a time of record profits, without having to endure these regressive tactics. As we have reported to you previously, negotiating productivity is not achieved if those making the decisions for the Company are not the same individuals sitting across the table from your Committee.
The Company also reinserted their exclusionary language detailing how people would bump into the MX Control classification in the case of a reduction in force. We then presented our Article 11: Vacations counter offer in which we detailed the vacation accrual rate for a person on 12-hour shifts (currently only MX Control). We also added back our 6th week of vacation and vacation bank program. We additionally omitted all of the Company’s MX Control and Technical Instructor specific language that was cut and pasted to the end of the existing Article 10 language.
Following lunch the Company presented Article 10: Filling of Vacancies. They again reinserted their exclusionary language detailing how people would bid into the MX Control classification. The discussion was very similar to the one we had dealing with Article 9, and we again offered alternative solutions to what we view as a very subjective practice. The Company also stated they had a counter ready for Article 11, but they were not going to present it. We took some time and worked up a counter offer to their Article 10 where we focused on correcting some problems encountered with Temporary Vacancies, specifically someone holding multiple vacancies at the same time.
On Thursday the parties began with a lively discussion relating to where the Technical Instructors’ language should be located in regards to the rules when they perform training away from their base or station. The Company’s preferred method is to cut and paste their process to the end of the existing language in Article 7: Training. We tried repeatedly to explain that Article 7 details when a person is receiving training and it is not a section to describe the Trainers’ work rules. We identified Article 8: Field Service as the logical section to be used since we currently use Article 8 language to describe service away from a person’s base or station that is not related to an "emergency" or "to restore Company airplanes or equipment to service."
We took an extensive caucus to work on an Article 8 counter proposal that inserted specific language for the Technical Instructors, and we presented it after lunch. Since Article 8 had been "tabled" for months, we had to again point out that we opposed the Company’s desire to eliminate the international field service language that we received, in part, from our offshore outsourcing (Aeroman) consent. We spent the remainder of the session discussing and clarifying our intent with respect Article 8. We also notified the Company, in no uncertain terms, that valuable negotiating time is being squandered if the Company Committee continues to allow the Maintenance Control and Technical Instructor department heads to insist on language that is wholly inconsistent with a unionized workforce. We advised the Company Committee that these department heads must understand that they are now overseeing union employees and the take-it-or-leave-it approach that existed when the groups were not unionized is an absolute non-starter. We also informed them that, during the December session, we will return to working on the main body of Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Thank you to the observers who participated in this session. We invite everyone to exercise their rights under the AMFA Constitution to observe negotiations. The next session will be in Dallas, TX on December 10 and 11, 2014.
Your Negotiating Committee