March 8, 2019
On February 28, 2019, Southwest Airlines filed a federal lawsuit again five (5) AMFA representatives personally, AMFA legal counsel, and against AMFA. Though we do not see any basis to this suit, we must stress to you the law requires that both parties refrain from “self help” until released by the National Mediation Board from mediation and a thirty-day cooling off period has expired.
We remain engaged in collective bargaining with the Company and, therefore, the Company is prohibited from initiating a lockout or unilaterally changing the terms of our collective bargaining agreement – and conversely, AMFA-represented employees are prohibited from engaging in concerted “job actions” that interfere with Company operations. If you are engaging in any type of “wild cat,” I urge you to cease and refrain from those actions. I understand your frustrations, but please know that AMFA will vigorously defend against these latest attacks and will press our own legal claims against all those accountable for these outlandish, frivolous threats and intimidation. In the meantime, continue to follow the law, be safe, and stay united. Remember, we must engage in no job action until released by the National Mediation Board.
The AMFA–SWA Negotiating Committee is scheduled for a mediated session with Southwest Airlines on March 12–14, 2019, in Dallas, TX. Please stay tuned to the Southwest Airlines News and Updates page of the AMFA National website for further details and meeting dates.
Many of you are probably wondering why the Company has taken such drastic action against your Union, representatives, and – by effect – you. We firmly believe that Southwest is embroiled in a self-made crisis of culture, and it has determined the only way out is to scapegoat you, your fellow members, and your Union by claiming that you and your colleagues are involved in some sort of job action. We vehemently deny their contention, and instead, point to the recent widespread news reports on the coercion and intimidation of technicians by management as a “woke” moment for our craft. Still, their warped narrative and – let’s call it for what it is – management’s attempt to gain an unfair advantage over a workforce professionally accomplishing their duties per federal regulations currently exists because every other possible reason paints them in a negative light.
You should be aware that AMFA has worked tirelessly to collaborate with Southwest Airlines on safety issues; however, they have been pompous and dismissive. Instead of recognizing the front-line perspective AMFA brings to the table and involving your Union in the decision-making process, they have been insular, relying completely on a myopic point of view. The results have been less than extraordinary. It’s been disappointing to say the very least, yet AMFA continues to stand here ready and willing to collaborate with Southwest Airlines to gain a safety culture that we can both be proud of. Let’s put aside egos and preconceived notions in an effort to progress, starting with the acknowledgement of an issue and the framework towards a mutually agreeable solution.
It is appalling that Southwest Airlines has chosen to attack its employees and our membership in the media and workplace. The play on words senior management is using in their press releases portray non- flight-safety issues in an effort to persuade the Federal Court and Court of Public Opinion to believe the SWA Aircraft Maintenance Technicians are able to ground aircraft for “trivial issues” like a seat row placard or tray table malfunction. The Company has been careful not to mention any of the documented discrepancies that actually lead to an aircraft to be taken out of service for legitimate reasons. They don’t mention anything about the internal maintenance operations of poor scheduling, poor planning, bad decision making of NIS parts (no parts in stock), lack of engineering support, virtually zero OT with “all hands-on- deck”, drop dead date of maintenance servicing, or inspection task items that have been carried over for days that could not be accomplished for the reasons previously stated. Within Southwest’s Continuous Aircraft Maintenance Program (CAMP), there are provisions to defer certain defects by utilizing a Minimum Equipment List (MEL), to include certain items in the cabin. The MEL provides clear limitations and timeframes for what items may be deferred.
Recently, Southwest management has degraded the safety culture even further by having to conduct a sit down fact finding meeting with individual Aircraft Maintenance Technicians for writing-up legitimate findings while performing their job duties as a FAA certified Aircraft Maintenance Technician. Where is the FAA on these acts of retaliation and intimidation? We must realize the grave responsibility we have as FAA certified airman, a responsibility to exercise our judgement on the airworthiness of aircraft and equipment. We, therefore, pledge unyielding adherence to these precepts for the advancement of public safety of aviation and for the dignity for our craft.
If you observe a safety concern, report it. SWA and AS both have internal methods that can be utilized to notify the company of a safety concern. Each company also has an Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP). Also, there is the FAA Hotline reporting system that may be utilized by anyone to report concerns of aviation safety: https://hotline.faa.gov/
The AMFA–AS Negotiating Committee is scheduled to meet with the Alaska Airlines on March 6, 2019, to establish where we stand with the seniority integration and transition of the AMFA–AS and Legacy Virgin America groups. We are committed to continue moving forward to find a mutual agreement to bring our two workgroups together. Please stay tuned to the Alaska Airlines News and Updates page of the AMFA National website for further details and meeting dates.
As always, I ask you please be safe and 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.