October 3, 2023
Participants for AMFA
Bret Oestreich – National President
Pat Amore – National Vice President
Tony Christner – Airline Representative
Lucas Middlebrook – Legal Counsel
Peter Manikowski – Economist
Participants for Sun Country Airlines
Kristen Peterson – Sr. Director, Labor & Employment
Bobby Purzitza – Director of Maintenance
Jacki Thompson – Legal Counsel
Laurie Lofgren – Labor Consultant
Roy Fan – Financial Planning & Analysis
The AMFA-SCA Negotiating Committee (“Committee”) is providing this update to the membership at Sun Country Airlines (“Sun Country”). This is the only official authorized source of negotiating communications by the Committee.
The parties met in Minneapolis for a three-day session last week (September 26-28). As you will recall, AMFA presented a cover-to-cover comprehensive proposal to the Company in June. The Company, more than three months later, finally delivered a comprehensive counterproposal on Day 1 of last week’s session. However, the Company’s comprehensive response was, to say the least, underwhelming.
We learned, from the Company’s presentation of its comprehensive counterproposal, how Sun Country values you as technicians and employees. Unfortunately, at certain points of the pay scale, the Company was only willing to provide you with a half of one percent (0.5%) raise. Yes, you read that correctly, your hard work and dedication has been valued by Sun Country at half of one percent (0.5%).
The Company’s comprehensive counterproposal offered only the status quo for premiums, with the license premium only increasing by one dollar and twenty-five cents ($1.25) over the five-year duration of Sun Country’s proposal. In addition, the Company’s overtime proposal would continue the practice of computing your overtime rate off the base rate only, as opposed to your all-in straight time rate. This signifies the Company’s attempt to devalue your overtime work and deny you hard-earned compensation. In addition, the Company continues to propose a piecemeal approach to compensation with higher rates for MSP only in the form of a geographic stipend, but then proposes not to include such stipend in the overtime computation. This type of compensation structure comes at the expense of the other stations and seeks to divide the workforce.
On Wage Rates, your Committee saw an even worse story. By way of example, for employees at the top step of the AMT scale, the Company offered a half of one percent (0.5%) increase - about two dimes. Again, you read that right - half of one percent (0.5%). As if this was not insulting enough, certain steps of the Company’s proposed pay scale were actually offered a zero percent (0.0%) increase in year 1 of the proposed contract. The lowest-seniority AMTs, under the Company’s lead balloon proposal, would see a one percent (1.0%) increase in year one.
For the “out years” or years after ratification, the Company proposed a year-over-year one percent (1.0%) increase to base rate wages. The Company is well aware, with inflation, this proposal would fail to even track simple cost of living increases or help keep your compensation in line with wages at competitor airlines. For employees not on the AMT wage scale (such as Facilities Maintenance, Technical Writers, and Maintenance Analysts), the Company proposed a pay freeze in year 1 of the contract. And, when your Committee dove into this issue and asked questions to clarify the Company’s proposed pay freeze, the Company confirmed its proposal would, in fact, freeze some of you that are not on the AMT scale for eight or nine years, or possibly more. The Company’s proposal was unclear as to whether it was offering the one percent (1.0%) out-year increase in the last year of the contract on the proposed amendable date, and when asked to clarify this, the Company negotiators seemed uncertain as to what their proposal was in this respect.
As to retirement and benefits, the Company proposed nothing more than status quo, which is a four percent (4.0%) matching 401(k) contribution and continued access to your existing group insurance as opposed to the Plan(s) available to the other unionized groups, such as Pilots and Flight Attendants.
The Company did make some movement in certain articles, such as Article 12 – Vacations; Article 14 – Sick Leave & On-The-Job Injuries; and Article 7 – Holidays, but in other articles, such as Article 2 – Scope, the Company struck nearly every provision presented by AMFA thereby proposing the ability to outsource all your work if it so chooses. Think about that. The Company proposed zero percent (0.0%), half of one percent (0.5%) and one percent (1.0%) initial increases, with only one percent (1.0%) increases during the life of the contract and did so while also proposing the ability to outsource all your work. We advised the Company, prior to presentation of our counterproposal, that its comprehensive package was viewed as a slap in the face to you – the hard working and dedicated employees of Sun Country.
As referenced at the outset of this update, it took the Company more than three months to respond to our comprehensive proposal. In comparison, after having received the Company’s comprehensive counterproposal on Tuesday morning, your Committee worked diligently and was able to present a cover-to-cover comprehensive response to the Company in the morning on Thursday. We expect the Company to devote the same hard work during these negotiations as does AMFA and be fully prepared at the outset of the next session with a counterproposal that improves significantly from the underwhelming package it presented this week.
Thank you to the observers that took the time to attend this week’s session. The next negotiation session is scheduled for October 24-26 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. And now, we must watch what the Company does as opposed to what it says. The Company’s proposal this week spoke volumes as to how it values you as employees. Until the Company’s proposals increase and demonstrate its appreciation of your hard work, any words by the Company saying otherwise ring hollow.