August 2, 2022
Participants for AMFA:
Bret Oestreich – National President
Earl Clark – Region I Director
Will Abbott – Region II Director
Craig Hamlet – Local 11 ALR
Wayne Lampley – Local 18 ALR
Ken Patrick – Local 32 ALR
Louis Upchurch – Local 4 ALR
Danny York – Facilities Maintenance DAL
Lucas Middlebrook – Legal Counsel
Peter Manikowski – Economis
Participants for Southwest Airlines:
Anthony Wafer, Sr. – Director Labor Relations
Tamara Harrison – Labor Relations Business Consultant
Tim Hooyman – Sr. Manager Facilities Maintenance
Kris Townsend – Labor Administration Manager
Patrick Breit – Financial - Planning & Analysis
The AMFA-SWA FMT Negotiating Committee is providing this update to the Facilities Maintenance Technician (FMT) Membership at Southwest Airlines. This is the only official authorized source of negotiating communications by the Committee.
The parties held a two and a half-day bargaining session, July 26-28 in Chicago to continue Section 6 bargaining toward a successor collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for the FMT group. The first day began with the Southwest Committee notifying AMFA that lead negotiator, Anthony Wafer, would soon be replaced by Neil Hanks, who also works in labor relations. We will withhold comment on this change until we have had time to assess Mr. Hanks’s experience and ability.
AMFA commenced the substantive discussions by presenting its first proposal on Article 24 – General & Miscellaneous. AMFA proposed a few changes to this article, including: conversion of bereavement from four (4) days to 40 hours; the addition of brothers/sisters-in-law as eligible family members for purposes of bereavement; increase in uniform allotment; inclusion of an AMFA patch on uniforms; company-paid training/testing costs if new licenses are required; payment for time spent renewing or acquiring SIDA badges; and a monthly $65 wireless stipend.
The Company caucused after receipt of AMFA’s Article 24 proposal and returned with proposals for Article 5 - Hours of Service and Article 6 – Overtime and Holidays. The Company’s pass on Article 5 proposed changes to the flex schedule, including removal of the flex schedule at the employee’s option, and limiting days off to Mondays and Fridays only. Unfortunately, the Company proposed retaining language, which subjects the flex schedule to cancellation by SWA with 30 days’ notice. The Company’s Article 6 pass proposed clarifying language regarding FMT’s entitlement to a minimum of four (4) hours pay at the applicable rate when recalled to work or required to work on a day off. In addition, the Company proposed language, in response to a concern presented by the Union, whereby employees hired after July 1 each year would be granted a floating holiday to be used in that year. The parties engaged in an open discussion regarding Articles 5 and 6 issues, including a lengthy conversation about SWA’s reluctance to entertain 10-hour shifts.
Day 2 began with SWA presenting a counter to AMFA’s Article 24 proposal. SWA rejected AMFA’s proposal to convert bereavement from four (4) days to 40 hours as well as the proposal to include brother/sister-in-law as eligible family members for purposes of bereavement. The Company did accept AMFA’s proposal to increase the uniform allotment but rejected the proposal to include an AMFA patch on uniforms. Southwest also rejected AMFA’s proposals for training/testing costs associated with any newly required licenses and a monthly wireless stipend and payment for time spent acquiring/renewing a SIDA badge.
After a short discussion regarding 10-hour shifts, the parties caucused and upon return AMFA presented counterproposals on Articles 5 and 6. AMFA proposed within Article 5, that FMTs working in stations with two (2) or more employees would work 4-day consecutive 10-hour shifts and that employees in stations with one FMT would continue with 5-day 8-hour shifts. And, as part of this proposal, AMFA introduced a simplified bidding process to enable 10-hour shifts to be bid by seniority each year. AMFA also countered on Article 6 by aligning overtime with the proposed 10-hour shifts. In addition, AMFA countered with cleaned-up language regarding a minimum of four (4) hours pay when called in for overtime and accepted the Company’s proposal to provide new hires hired after July 1 with a single floating holiday to be used by the end of the year in which they were hired. AMFA worked hard to finalize a counterproposal on Article 24 and was ready to pass it before 4:00PM on Wednesday, July 27, but the Company advised it was done meeting for the day and would accept the counter the following morning.
AMFA presented its counterproposal on Article 24 the morning of Day 3. In this counter AMFA agreed to remain at book with four (4) days of bereavement as opposed to the proposed 40 hours. AMFA, however, maintained its position to add brother/sister-in-law to the list of eligible family members for bereavement. AMFA accepted the Company’s counter to increase the uniform allotment and maintained its previous proposal for an AMFA patch to be included on FMT uniforms. The Union also maintained its position for reimbursement of training/testing costs if new licenses are required in the future. AMFA countered the Company’s rejection of the wireless stipend with a reduction in the ask to $25 per month and proposed simplified SIDA language to cover time spent acquiring/renewing. The Company rejected AMFA’s proposal for a 10-hour shift and the related overtime proposals in Article 6. The parties were, however, able to agree on new language to clarify the minimum four (4) hours at applicable rate when called in to work overtime. Unfortunately, given the Company’s stubbornness to entertain a 10-hour shift, AMFA suggested Articles 5 and 6 be tabled at this time.
The Company, near conclusion of Day 3, passed its counterproposal on Article 24 by e-mail without returning to the bargaining room. AMFA found this to be strange given the parties were in the same hotel in the same city away from Dallas HQ. AMFA requested the Company return to the room and walk the Union through the Article 24 counterproposal. The Company finally returned and explained it would agree to the increased uniform allotment and simplified SIDA language but rejected all of AMFA’s other proposals in Article 24. The Company’s preparation and productivity at this session had noticeably diminished from the parties’ first session. Your Committee believes this was due, in part, to Anthony Wafer leaving the table and the resulting lack of focus that attaches to a lead negotiator that has been notified of his reassignment. The Union hopes the Company can handle its negotiator staffing issues prior to the next session and come appropriately prepared so as not to delay bargaining further.
The next session is scheduled for August 9-11 in Dallas. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your ALR with any questions. And, as always, stay engaged and remain informed in order to support your Committee and its ability to bargain a CBA your hard work deserves.
AMFA-SWA FMT Negotiating Committee