September 15, 2015
Participants for AMFA:
Louie Key – National Director
Earl Clark – 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
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.
On Thursday, September 10, 2015, our Committee had our first meeting in the mediation process. This meeting was with four mediators from the National Mediation Board (NMB), including Senior Mediator Patricia Sims and Mediator Catherine McCann who are assigned to our case. This initial meeting lasted about two and a half hours. During the introduction process we were notified that Ms. McCann will be our primary mediator.
Our Committee was asked to explain how we got to the point of filing for mediation. Our explanation started with the bullet point openers we presented all the way back in 2012 highlighting our areas of concern with the Company, through our comprehensive proposal, and onto the Company’s comprehensive proposal that we believe is very close to what they asked for back in November of 2012. Our Committee also gave them a little insight into the negotiations that ended in the last Agreement in 2009.
Ms. Sims then explained what the NMB is and the services they provide. From this point forward the mediation process will be controlled by the NMB, this includes managing the process in a manner that moves both sides to agreement, being impartial, and keeping discussions on both sides confidential. She then went into to the process we will be following through our mediated negotiations with the Company. It starts with continued negotiations with the Company with our primary mediator using dispute resolution processes to bridge the areas we are at an impasse.
She also explained the purpose and role of the mediator. Our primary mediator lives in the Dallas area, and the NMB determines where the meetings will take place, so it is likely many of our meetings will still be in Dallas. The mediator also sets start times, how long, how often, and whether or not observers will be allowed to attend. National Director Louie Key explained that observers are a key aspect of transparency in our organization and they have not disrupted the process to this point and, therefore, should be allowed to continue to observe this phase of negotiations. She then explained that observers will not be allowed to attend for the first few meetings and after those initial meetings the mediator will reevaluate whether observers will be allowed in future meetings.
Ms. McCann has also requested that any communication from either committee in the way of updates be reviewed by her before distribution. The review is only to determine if it is hindering the process for us coming to an agreement.
No dates have been scheduled at this time, but we expect to have dates established soon. Our Committee looks forward to working within this process to come to an agreement. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your Negotiating Committee representative.
Your Negotiating Committee