CENTENNIAL, Colo. – October 13, 2023 – After a year of unproductive negotiations with Sun Country Airlines (SCA), the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) has requested that the National Mediation Board (NMB) appoint a federal mediator to oversee the bargaining process. If the NMB determines the parties have reached an impasse, the agency may release AMFA from negotiations, which would enable the union to call a strike after a thirty-day cooling-off period.
AMFA filed for mediation because of Sun Country’s delay tactics and failure to bargain in good faith toward a first contract. Sun Country reported record profits in its second quarter and chose to use those profits to buy back $30 million in its stock rather than address the resignation of skilled maintenance personnel and the future possibility of a job action.
The NMB certified AMFA as the representative of SCA’s Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMTs) and related employees after winning an overwhelmingly favorable vote for craft-specific union representation in 2022. The union drive itself demonstrated the employees’ disenchantment with SCA management.
“When these negotiations began, we anticipated that both parties would reach a tentative agreement within a reasonable timeframe, especially in light of the mass exodus SCA was experiencing in its AMT and related workgroups,” said Bret Oestreich, AMFA National President. “Management has openly recognized their serious trouble hiring and retaining skilled and experienced aircraft technicians, maintenance controllers, ground support technicians, planners, and technical analysts they desperately need. Understaffing of aircraft maintenance lines has become chronic. Yet Sun Country chooses to line its executives’ pockets to maximize short-term profit rather than address the aviation safety implications arising from the loss of skilled technicians.”
The union said that SCA offered a pitiful half percent increase in hourly pay for the most senior and experienced AMTs during their latest bargaining session. For other skilled AMTs and maintenance support professionals, SCA proposed a pay freeze.
“Our AMFA membership at Sun Country plays a significant role in producing a safe, reliable, and on-time aircraft for Amazon Prime, chartered passengers, professional athletes, the flying public, and flight crews. Unfortunately, the recent reprehensible economic offer in the September negotiation session of a point-five percent (0.5%) raise in hourly wages for the most senior and skilled maintenance technicians does not show SCA employees the recognition they deserve,” says Oestreich “We believe that under NMB oversight, SCA would never have stooped to this type of gamesmanship at the negotiating table.”
“With the impending shortage of experienced AMTs at SCA, AMFA believes airline safety requires that our members obtain a contract that provides a living wage. AMFA will refrain from any strike activity or job action until the NMB releases us from mediation.”
The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association is a craft-oriented, independent aviation union. AMFA represents licensed and unlicensed Aircraft Maintenance Technicians/Engineers and skilled trade groups actively involved in the aviation industry. These employees work directly on aircraft and/or components, support equipment, and facilities. AMFA is committed to elevating the professional standing of technicians/engineers and to achieving progressive improvements in wages, benefits, and working conditions of the skilled people it represents. For more information, please visit www.amfanational.org.