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National Director's February 2018 Update
Mar 02, 2018

February 28, 2018

Dear Members:

There were no meeting and or discussions held in regards to the transition and integration of the AMFA–Alaska Airlines (ASA) and Virgin America (VX) work groups during the month of February.  AMFA and ASA will meet in Anchorage, AK on March 20-22, 2018, to continue VX –ASA Transition Agreement discussions. For more details regarding these negotiations, please visit the Alaska Airlines page of the AMFA National Website.

The AMFA – Southwest Airlines (SWA) and SWA Negotiating Committees have a negotiations session scheduled for March 6-8 in Dallas TX.  During the last negotiations session held in January 2018, your Committee made a number of very difficult decisions in order to make substantial movement in the Company’s direction with the specific intent of reaching a tentative agreement (TA). The Company offered minor short-term protections for long-term gains at your expense with your Scope language. Again, here is the reality, if you have more than five (5) years remaining at SWA and work in a hangar or on the Line, this is going to have a direct impact on you and your family’s lives with the Company’s current carte blanche scope projections. The massive long-term changes to Scope are not just for the next five (5) years, they would remove large portions of your protected work indefinitely! We need long term protections in place to be proportional to those long-term changes to Scope. For more details regarding negotiations, please visit the Southwest Airlines page of the AMFA National Website. And, as always, watch what the Company does as opposed to what they say in written updates, emails, and video messages.

Just last week your Local officers and the National Executive Council (NEC) cast a vote of “no confidence” for Southwest Airlines Vice President of Maintenance Operations Landon Nitschke. There exists a serious concern regarding the degradation of safety within Southwest’s maintenance program as determined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is described as “a capitulation of airworthiness and a culture of fear and retribution.”  The unfortunate culture of fear and retribution, which was found to exist within our maintenance program by the FAA, is what led to our recent vote of no confidence in the man in charge of maintenance at Southwest.

We need to be quite clear, this unanimous vote of no confidence by your Officers system-wide has absolutely nothing to do with ongoing collective bargaining. Additionally, it was SWA, not AMFA, that attempted to connect safety with contract negotiations. The deeply imbedded safety culture of fear and retribution does not magically disappear in your workplace even if a TA is achieved. Without revealing the truth, there would be no way to remediate what is a truly deplorable “culture of fear and retribution.”  Fear and retribution are the antithesis of the “culture of respect” as cited in SWA COO Mike Van de Ven’s letter to AMFA Members.  This degradation of our once-great culture begins at the top. There has to be a concrete commitment and plan in place to fix the learned behavioral and systemic degradation problems.  

Your AMFA leadership will not and cannot stand idly by as the culture of “fear and retribution” continue within the SWA maintenance department. We have identified the root cause, now SWA has to walk the walk to execute the first commitment to start addressing the solutions. The AMFA Leadership at Locals 4, 11, 18, and 32 would like to be a partner in developing a plan to rebuild the SWA Aircraft Maintenance Department Safety Culture, to preserve the LUV culture and to move it in a positive direction.

I ask you to stay engaged with your union updates and officers.  For more carrier specific updates and further information regarding AMFA and the airline industry, please visit the AMFA National Website at www.AMFANational.org. Our most determined efforts will only succeed with your continued support and participation – please stay informed.  


Bret Oestreich
National Director

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