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AMFA - SWA Technician Negotiations Update #54
Apr 05, 2017
April 7, 2017

Participants for AMFA:
Bret Oestreich – National Director
Earl Clark – Director, Region I
Will Abbott – Director, Region II
Bob Cramer – Airline Representative, Local 4
Craig Hamlet – Airline Representative, Local 11
Shane Flachman – Airline Representative, Local 18
Mike Young – Airline Representative, Local 32
Lucas Middlebrook – AMFA Counsel
Tucker Steele – Tech. Instructor SME
Kevin Johnson – Tech. Instructor SME

Participants for Southwest Airlines:
Gerry Anderson – Sr. Director, Labor Relations
Mike Ryan – Labor Relations Consultant
Cindy Nagel – Sr. Director, Labor Relations
Bill Venckus – Director, Labor Relations
Mark Lyon – Sr. Manager, Labor Relations
John Donnelly – Manager, Financial Planning
Don Fillipone – Training Department
Cindy Smiddle – Training Department
Danny Linz – Training Department
Steve Miller – Chief Inspector/Director Quality

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 March 30 and 31 for a scheduled day and a half session in Dallas, TX. This was our third mediated session to again try and work through the open items related to the Technical Instructors.

Following the conclusion of our previous session, the Company sent a written counterproposal via e-mail to the Technical Instructor Appendix B proposal that our Committee presented on March 7, 2017.  The AMFA Committee reviewed the Company’s counterproposal and started the March 30 session off by asking the Company to clarify a number of its positions.  First, the Company had inserted reference to the Technical Instructor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was reached on June 5, 2014, in the Preamble of the Appendix, and our Committee needed to understand the intent of that addition.  The Company did not change its position of refusing to differentiate between aircraft-related and regular paperwork in the technical/non-technical distinction for the Instructors’ classification language.  In addition, the Company continued to insist on limiting the Instructors’ classification language to providing training only to Members covered by the White Book. 

The Company had also included language that mimicked the White Book as it pertains to start time, which we felt was redundant in the Appendix.  A short discussion was had regarding off-shift training and that shift differentials would be discussed during economics.  The Company had also inserted language in the Instructor Appendix that was redundant with the White Book as it pertains to bid location overtime.  The Company wanted to add language limiting eligibility to receive training if an Instructor was “updating and developing” a training course.  We informed the Company that this addition would essentially never allow an Instructor to receive training, and the Company responded by conveying a concern regarding training opportunities that surfaced with short notice.  The Company rejected our Field Service equalized selection language; instead, it proposed complete management discretion, and had inserted only a straight time payment for Instructor field service.  The Company indicated, however, it would be amenable to applicable rate language instead.  The Company also inserted a “qualification” requirement as it related to union members that would be on the Union/Company panel for candidate selection for those bidding into the Technical Instructor department, but we again expressed our concern with that language.  The Company altered its original position on a vacation bidding process with its pass, proposing only an annual vacation bid, which was at odds with its explanation that the training schedule was developed quarterly.  In addition, the Company would not allow the Technical Instructors to float their holidays similar to members covered by the White Book.  At this point, our Committee caucused until after lunch and returned with a counterproposal.

We agreed with incorporation of the MOU except with a slight change to the placement of that language in the Appendix Preamble.  We struck the Company’s redundant start times language as it was already stated in the White Book, with the understanding that off-shift training differentials would be discussed during economics.  We remained firm that the Instructors should not be denied the ability, like all other White Book employees, to float their holidays.  We accepted the Company’s proposal to add the language “with management approval” if an Instructor wants to come in early or stay after his shift.  We agreed to the Company’s addition of an “update or develop” limitation on availability to receive training, but only in the context of training courses offered to Instructors that the Company learned of with short or no notice.  We went back to our equalized selection process for Field Service as opposed to the Company’s proposal for complete management discretion in assigning field service work.  Finally, we added a provision requiring the Company to meet and confer if it intends substantive changes to the Instructors’ appearance code.  The Company caucused at this point and returned a few hours later with a counter.

The Company agreed to our placement of the MOU reference.  The Company agreed to our strike of the redundant start time and overtime eligibility language as the parties had developed negotiating history on these two issues to allow White Book to control.  The Company also agreed to our strike of the “covered by this Agreement” language, which would have limited who the Instructors provided training to – again with the understanding that the parties’ negotiating history captured the intent that the Instructors would continue the work they currently perform.  The Company continued to refuse to allow the Instructors to float their holidays.  The Company again struck our equalized field service language and returned to complete management discretion, but they did agree that Instructors would be paid at the applicable rate when performing fieldwork.  The Company agreed with our additions in Article 24 regarding a meet and confer requirement prior to any substantive change in the appearance code for Technical Instructors.  We broke for the day after this exchange and our Committee worked to present a counter on the morning of March 31.

On the morning of March 31, in an attempt to reach a middle ground to enable a tentative agreement on the Instructor Appendix, our Committee made more movement.  We agreed with the Preamble language.  We remained committed to preserving floating holidays for this group, but we made considerable movement by agreeing to allow complete management discretion in the assignment of field service.  We did, however, ask that the Instructors be reimbursed for TSA Precheck as the Company had proposed language that their clock only began one (1) hour prior to scheduled departure for field service despite Company publications advising passengers to arrive anywhere between one and a half (1.5) and two (2) hours before flight time.  We thought such a significant move on the Field Service issue would prompt the Company to return a reasonable counter and allow this group the same floating holiday privileges as all other White Book employees; however, that did not occur.  In fact, the session broke without the Company providing any counter whatsoever.  The feeling amongst our Committee is that the Technical Instructor managers, unfamiliar with a unionized workgroup, are without the ability to compromise on the remaining issues in order to achieve an equitable tentative agreement for this group.  That is unfortunate, especially given the significant movement made by our Committee to finalize a tentative agreement on this Appendix.

Our next session is scheduled for April 17–21 in Santa Rosa, California where we will transition back to the main body of the White Book with a focus initially on Article 2: Scope. We would like to thank our Subject Matter Experts (SME), Tucker Steele and Kevin Johnson, for their time and input to this process.

Your Negotiating Committee

7853 E. Arapahoe Court, Suite 1100
Centennial, CO 80112

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