April 2, 2020
The month of March has been a whirlwind of changes for our nation. We now have positive cases of the COVID-19 amongst our membership and many remain in self-quarantine to help to prevent the spread of this virus. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have contracted and who have been affected by COVID-19.
AMFA representatives have been in regular communication with our carries and taking guidance from the CDC to ensure we are taking effective steps to combat the significant challenges posed by this pandemic. We have been actively involved to ensure all three airlines adhere to workplace cleaning and increased disinfecting, and we encourage you to continue to utilize PPE, practice social distancing, and remember safety is always the priority – do not let our current situation distract you from doing your job safely. We will be putting out periodic updates regarding new policies as well as CDC updates as we receive information from the carriers, government agencies, and Federal Aviation Administration that pertain to you. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact your Local Safety and Standards Chairman.
Despite the challenging time, our members are the most unified we have ever been as mechanics and related aviation professionals. We thank you for your perseverance and dedication in performing your duties and producing a safe, reliable aircraft.
As Congress debated how to structure a potential bailout, AMFA’s Legislative Affairs team carefully monitored the situation and provided input to both the House and the Senate advocating for protection of our members. Our concerns, which had been communicated to Congress, involved how the airlines could utilize federal government funding. We believe the focus of spending should be on maintaining the current workforce and ensuring that any negative impact on our members is as minimal as possible, rather than writing the airlines a blank check to use on stock buybacks or executive compensation packages.
We are proud to say AMFA contributed to the outcome of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act provides financial assistance for the exclusive use of employee wages, salaries, and benefits in the amount of up to $25 billion for passenger air carriers. To be eligible for financial assistance, air carriers must enter into an agreement with the Secretary of the Treasury that it will not, until September 30, 2020, conduct furloughs, reduce pay rates, buy back stock, or pay dividends. Financial assistance is dependent upon several things including compensation limits, particularly stipulations towards executive pay limits. We encourage members to monitor the secure Legislative Updates page of the AMFA National website for more information on dates and timelines.
Alaska M&E has started to significantly reduce/cancel the number of flights per day and 94 aircraft are either in position or actioned to be placed into short-term storage across the system. The process of completing storage task cards has started at all locations. Please monitor the Alaska Airlines News and Updates page of the AMFA National website for further details.
Horizon M&E has started to significantly reduce/cancel the number of flights per day, the process of completing storage task cards has started, and 17 aircraft are either in position or actioned to be placed into short-term storage in Portland, OR.
We would like to recognize and extend our deepest gratitude to Tom Imlah for his dedication and leadership as Interim Horizon Air (QX) Representative (ALR) during the QX membership transition until the official election concluded to fill the position. Tom was paramount in the process of achieving where you are today and he has stepped up in protecting you and fighting for your CBA. Tom represented you while orchestrating all the face-to-face station visits to get boots on the ground and to help answer questions following the certification of AMFA on property. I can’t commend him enough on the tremendous job he has done. I now wish to congratulate and welcome Bobby Shipman as your new QX ALR. He will receive the support, information, and guidance needed to perform his job, to help protect and enforce of your CBA. Please monitor the Horizon Air News and Updates page of the AMFA National website for the most up-to-date information for your group.
Southwest Airlines continues to adamantly pursue the two Federal lawsuits against AMFA and AMFA representatives. As the world faces a crisis unprecedented in modern times, the airline industry is being particularly challenged. Southwest is canceling flights, parking aircraft, and pleading with the federal government for bailouts, and Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly is calling this crisis “the fight of our lives.” While Southwest and other airlines are awaiting massive economic bailouts, they continue paying lawyers to maintain lawsuits against their own employees. What message does that send to taxpayers, lawmakers, investors, and the workforce that will be asked to make great sacrifices to save this airline? Gary Kelly stated, “We find ourselves in the greatest challenge of our generation… We are all in this fight together.” AMFA agrees — this is the greatest challenge of our generation. Southwest must drop the lawsuits against its own employees immediately so we can, as Gary Kelly called for, truly be in this fight together.
Back in May, after our latest contract was ratified, we called for unity and asked to drop these lawsuits. In September, as Southwest was dealing with serious challenges related to the 737 MAX situation, we again called for unity as we dropped our bad faith bargaining lawsuit against the Company, with prejudice, and calling on all sides to drop claims and counterclaims immediately. Unfortunately, these calls were ignored, again, by Southwest Airlines. We will continue updating you via the secure Legal Updates (Members Only) page of the National website as developments unfold.
Southwest Tech-Ops has started to significantly reduce/cancel the number of flights per day, the process of completing storage task cards has started, and 250 aircraft either are in position or actioned to be placed into short-term or long term storage in Victorville and across the system.
Reminder to All Members: The FAA Hotline reporting system may be utilized to report concerns of aviation safety: https://hotline.faa.gov. We must realize our grave responsibility as FAA certified airman 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.
As always, I ask you please be safe and to stay engaged with your union 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.