May 16, 2016
Participants for AMFA:
Michael Nelson – Region II Director
Bob Cramer – Local 4 Airline Representative
Craig Hamlet – Local 11 Airline Representative
Shane Flachman – Local 18 Airline Representative
Mike Young – Local 32 Airline Representative
Lucas Middlebrook – AMFA Counsel
Participants for Southwest Airlines:
Mike Ryan – VP, Labor Relations
Gerry Anderson – Sr Director, Labor Relations
Cindy Nagel – Sr Director, Labor Relations
Bill Venckus – Director, Labor Relations
Scott Colling – Director, Central Region
Mark Lyon – Sr Manager, Labor Relations
John Donnelly – 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.
We met with the Company on May 10, 11, and 12, 2016, for a scheduled three-day session in Dallas, TX. Since we were back in Dallas and had access to our Subject Matter Experts (SME), we scheduled this session to work exclusively on Maintenance (MX) Control language. This would be our first session with the Maintenance Controllers since we entered Mediation, and we looked forward to working through the remainder of the outstanding issues in an interest based format.
Prior to this session, our Committee worked with the Mediator to establish the "rules" regarding SMEs being present at these negotiations. As observers have not been allowed since we entered Mediation, and the SMEs were not part of the Negotiating Committee, we worked to ensure we were allowed the same courtesy being extended to the Company. On the morning of May 10, before we began the session, the Negotiating Committee Chairmen met with the Mediator to ensure both sides were in agreement with the SME issue. The Company said that they had two SMEs and they wanted them present in the room. When the Company further explained that one of their SMEs was the same individual who was a SME for the AMFA represented MX Controllers last year before he decided to leave the bargaining unit, we objected.
After spending time in caucus, the Mediator returned and informed our Committee that the Company agreed to not have their offending SME present in the negotiations, but they would need the day to bring another SME "up to speed." We found this confusing because in all of our past sessions, the Company only had one SME (Shawn Jensen) and he was present. Only the Company can answer what their true intentions were, but we feel wasting an entire day is unacceptable. Our Committee used the time as beneficially as possible in caucus with the MX Controller SMEs until early afternoon.
On Wednesday morning there was a delay until 10:15AM while the Company tended to their additional printing needs. When we did begin, the Company handed out a complete "cover to cover" MX Controller Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). As we have contended since accretion, the MX Controller group would have much more protection if they are integrated into the existing Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) and Related CBA. The document the Company handed out on Wednesday did absolutely nothing but reinforce our position including in part: 1) a four paragraph "Scope of the Agreement" that was basically their job descriptions and provided little job protections, 2) vacation days that were dictated by the "Guidelines for Employees," 3) no "Field Service" article so their intent is this group will never be eligible for field service in the future, 4) no proposed wage scale, 5) a complete rewrite and watering-down of the grievance and arbitration process language, and 6) there was also no protection offered against future automation. There are other items of concern from their piece, but none may be more damaging than if there was a separate MX Controller CBA, any MX Controller with Mechanic "box time" will lose that seniority and have no option to return to the Mechanics category.
Our Committee worked on the Company’s proposal and had our counter offer ready to present at 3:30PM. In performing the exercise of going through the Company’s proposal line-by-line, it became increasingly obvious how simply the MX Controllers would fit into the existing AMT CBA. Therefore, when we presented our counter to the Company we were able to show how easily it is to apply current AMT CBA language to the MX Controller group. The majority of the articles in the Company’s proposal are covered in the AMT CBA – many word for word. In our counter offer we also addressed the items the SMEs guided us to where they needed changes. Regarding "Wage Rules," we have a model for the MX Controller group, but we chose to take the Company’s lead and held back on that article.
On Thursday, the Company presented a bullet point list of their "must haves" for the MX Controller group to include: 1) 16 hours duty day, 2) selection process to enter Maintenance Control, 3) no shift trades outside Maintenance Control, 4) no restrictions on automation, 5) no bumping into Maintenance Control in the event of a reduction in force, 6) day trades must cover entire shift and not exceed 16 hours, and 7) economics.
Our next AMT negotiation session will be July 26-28, 2016. We also scheduled August 9-11, 2016, and August 23-25, 2016. We will return to working on the body of the AMT CBA for all the scheduled sessions. We would like to thank our Maintenance Controller SMEs: Jayson Leyda, Tim Andrais, and Rob Cush, for their invaluable input. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your representative.
In addition, the AMFA–SWA Technician Negotiating Committee recently instructed our legal team to advise Southwest Airlines (SWA) of AMFA’s position that, over the course of these protracted negotiations, the Company has failed to abide by its obligation to "make and maintain agreements" as required by the Railway Labor Act (RLA). During the last 3½ years, SWA has at times come unprepared to negotiation sessions, not brought decision makers to the bargaining table, and participated in regressive bargaining. AMFA advised SWA that, although we hope that they change course moving forward, we reserve the right to take appropriate legal action as necessary to address what we consider to be a failure to bargain in good faith. We appreciate your support.
Your Negotiating Committee