April 10, 2023
Participants for AMFA
Pat Amore – National Vice President
Earl Clark – Region I Director
Will Abbott – Region II Director
Tony Christner – Airline Representative
Peter Manikowski – Legal Counsel
Participants for Sun Country Airlines
Kristen Peterson – Sr. Director, Labor & Employment
Bobby Purzitza – Director of Maintenance
Jacki Thompson – Legal Counsel
Laurie Lofgren – Labor Consultant
Brian Scudds – Sr. Manager of Labor Relations
The AMFA-SCA Negotiating Committee is providing this update to the membership at Sun Country Airlines (SCA). This is the only official authorized source of negotiating communications by the Committee.
The parties held a three-day bargaining session, April 4-6 in Minneapolis, to continue bargaining toward a first collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for the SCA group. Day 1 began with the Company’s introduction of Brian Scudds, Sr. Manager of Labor Relations, who started with the Company last week and will be joining the Company’s negotiating committee. AMFA then continued the session by presenting its first proposal on Article 5 – Hours of Service, which is the article that sets forth employees’ schedules in addition to the scheduling and annual bidding procedures. The parties spent the remainder of Day 1 in caucus preparing their respective proposals and counterproposals.
In the evening after Day 1, your AMFA representatives attended a membership meeting nearby the airport which was well-attended. Together with the members, we discussed many union issues and the status of negotiations. Thank you to the members who were able to attend, and we hope to see more of you in future meetings.
After the lunch break of Day 2, the Company countered on AMFA’s proposals for the first time on Article 4 – Classifications and Article 5 – Hours of Service. The Company also countered for the second time on Article 3 – Status of Agreement.
The Company’s proposal on Article 4 – Classifications sought to exclude two classifications within the Technician and Related work group, namely the Facilities Maintenance Technicians (FMT) and Lead Maintenance Controllers (formerly Maintenance Control supervisors). Your Committee was incensed by this misguided Company proposal. First, the Company’s proposal sought to exclude from the Union’s jurisdiction two classifications that were included in the National Mediation Board’s (NMB) certification. This means the Company proposed to remove six of your union brothers and sisters along with their work not only from the future collective bargaining agreement but also from being unionized employees represented by AMFA. Second, the Company’s proposal in this respect is, at best, ironic in the extreme or, at worst, born of ill motive. During the NMB certification process, the Company actually argued to include the very classifications it now seeks to remove from a future CBA and AMFA representation. The Company’s ill-conceived about-face on this issue did not sit well with your Committee, and we fully expressed this sentiment at the table.
The Company’s counterproposal on Article 5 – Hours of Service made some movement in response to AMFA’s proposal, but there are issues that remain to be negotiated. Your Committee is optimistic there may be some bargaining momentum as it relates to this article. The Company’s counterproposal on Article 3 – Status of Agreement was very much like its first pass, and there are many areas of this article still to be negotiated.
In the late afternoon of Day 2, AMFA passed counterproposals on Article 4 – Classifications and Article 5 – Hours of Service. On Article 4 we agreed to some paragraphs and rejected the Company’s unproductive proposed exclusion of the FMT and Lead Maintenance Controller classifications. On Article 5 – Hours of Service, your Committee has serious concerns about the potential elimination of the MSP day shift presented in the Company’s counterproposal. Accordingly, AMFA countered with a minimum staffing on the MSP day shift. The parties were able to make some progress and agreements to certain paragraphs of Article 5 – Hours of Service, and AMFA is hopeful for more progress in future sessions. Overall, your Committee knows scheduling is one of the main reasons you work at Sun Country and want to protect the various schedules you all now have in a future CBA.
On Day 3, the Company passed counterproposals on Article 4 – Classifications, Article 5 – Hours of Service, and Article 8 – Field Service. In its presentation on Classifications, the Company partially realized the error of its ways and removed its proposal to exclude the Facilities Maintenance Technicians from the CBA. Your Committee was successful in pushing the Company off this ill-conceived ask. However, the Company still maintains its proposal to eliminate Lead Maintenance Controllers from the CBA. AMFA, however, is standing strong against it. The Company’s proposal on Article 5 - Hours of Service made some compromises, but there are several problematic items for AMFA within the Company’s counterproposals. Your Committee is working to review and fully understand the Company’s Article 8 – Field Service counterproposal, but have been unable, given the Company’s lack of movement, to make solid progress toward a tentative agreement on this article.
At the end of Day 3, the parties engaged in an extensive informal discussion regarding the “Traveling Technician” position and the scheduling of employees. Your Committee is cautiously optimistic that some of those discussion points can become future tentative agreements on some of the more difficult issues.
The Company failed, yet again, to provide a counterproposal on Article 26 – Union Security. We view this as a simple, yet important article and we are hopeful the Company will agree or counter in the next session. As a reminder, the Company has had a version of this article since 2022 and has failed to respond with even a single counter.
The next negotiation session is scheduled for May 9-11 in Minneapolis. Remember, if you would like to be an observer in future negotiation sessions, please communicate with your ALR, Tony Christner.
Remember - stay engaged, remain informed, and continue to support the Negotiating Committee as that support increases the ability to bargain a CBA your hard work deserves.