|AMFA Locals and Members
National President’s Monthly Update for September & October 2023
November 10, 2023
We recently celebrated the Labor Day (US) and Labour Day (CA) holidays to recognize and honor the labor movement and the work and contributions of laborers. As the labor movement grew in the late 19th century, trade unionists proposed a day dedicated to celebrating labor. AMFA continues the labor movement today by promoting and elevating our craft so that employers recognize the invaluable contribution our skilled trades provide to the success of their aircraft maintenance technical operations and the global aviation industry.
The AMFA and the WestJet Airlines (WJA) negotiating committees met for the first session of formal negotiations on September 7 in Calgary. The parties discussed an agreement on negotiating protocols, including WJA’s recognition of AMFA’s constitutional mandate that no collective bargaining agreement will be deemed finalized until a majority of the affected membership is ratified. WJA proposed suspending negotiations until the Sunwing merger and related CIRB proceedings have been completed. AMFA rejected the proposal and advised that it would consider any suspension of negotiations on that basis to be unlawful. The parties agreed that negotiations would proceed.
The parties commenced the second negotiation session on October 3-5, 2023, in Toronto, ON. In advance of the negotiations, the parties prepared contract article proposals relating to non-economic issues. Parties generally commence with non-economic issues because they tend to be less contentious and allow for building positive momentum. The final CBA is anticipated to consist of 40 or more separate articles. The articles that have tentatively agreed to this far are 1) Grievances, 2) Arbitration, 3) Union-Management Meetings, 4) Probation, 5) Respectful Workplace, 6) Copies of Agreement, 7) Deduction of Dues, and 8) Duration. I want to thank all the observers who attended, asked questions, and engaged in this unique, open, and transparent negotiation process.
The parties agreed that negotiations would proceed with the next session on November 7-9, 2023, in Toronto, ON. We are assessing options for the dire situation of eliminating AML, ICL, and implementing an OM position.
We are in exploratory discussions with L3 Harris MAS (L3) on implementing a new station in Ottawa, ON, to maintain two new A330 aircraft, while membership in Trenton, ON will continue to maintain the A310 fleet. These new aircraft will start the replacement of the RCAFs fleet of five smaller Airbus A-310s. The five Polaris aircraft were built for Wardair in the late 1980s. They formed the backbone of Canada's strategic transport fleet for many years, flying troops and cargo around the world. Many military and civilian users have been retiring their A-310s as they become harder to maintain. The Prime Minister and Governor General use Polaris 001 for overseas travel. On October 12, AMFA met L3 in Toronto to discuss a resolution to this situation. Both parties continue to discuss options for the two stations under AMFA representation. We will keep you updated as we move forward in this process. For further updates and information, please visit the L3 Harris MAS page of the AMFA National website.
The AMFA and Alaska Airlines (AS) negotiating committees held a bargaining session on September 5-8 in Renton, WA. On September 8, AMFA and Alaska Airlines reached an Agreement in Principle (AIP) on amendments to the current CBA. The AMFA Committee performed an informational system-wide roadshow to provide the membership an opportunity for Q&A sessions with the Committee before they cast their vote. During the roadshow, the parties continued to work toward converting the AIP into a TA; however, there remained a handful of unresolved issues, and after roughly 90% of the stations visited, the membership feedback on the AIP was unfavorable.
On October 19, the Company notified the AMFA Committee that the Flight Attendants had reached a deal that would place them at the top of the industry. The AMFA Committee shared with the Company that the membership is very dissatisfied with the terms of the AIP. Now, compounded by the agreement reached with the flight attendants, which directly impacts AMT’s wages, the TA would undoubtedly fail. AMFA and Company will soon meet to continue to negotiate an acceptable TA. Please review the AMFA negotiation updates on the Alaska Airlines page of the AMFA National Website.
The AMFA and Sun Country Airlines (SCA) negotiating committees met in Minneapolis on September 26-28, 2023. As you will recall, AMFA presented a cover-to-cover comprehensive proposal to the Company in June, and more than three months later, the Company finally delivered a comprehensive, yet underwhelming, counterproposal. Unfortunately, at specific points of the pay scale, the Company was only willing to provide their employees with a half of one percent (0.5%) raise. 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. 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. The AMFA Committee worked diligently and presented a cover-to-cover comprehensive response to the Company on the morning of September 28, 2023, while on the contrary, the Company negotiators do not seem committed to the process of working toward a contract. Please visit the Sun Country Airlines page of the AMFA National website for updates.
AMFA and Spirit Airlines (NKS) held a bargaining session in Dallas on September 12–14. Unfortunately, the Company again arrived unprepared, providing only an initial response to one new article over three days. The Company still has not responded to twenty articles from AMFA’s June comprehensive proposal. In a shocking display of unprofessionalism and bad faith, halfway through AMFA’s Day 3 presentation of its Article 5 counter, the Company advised that its September 7, 2023, proposal had not captured all of its intended changes to the article. Unfortunately, this is not the first time the Company has regressed in bargaining. AMFA relied on the September 7 proposal to formulate its counter; therefore, the hard work of the Committee was rendered meaningless as the Company insisted it would have to go back and change provisions that were previously accepted. Ultimately, these bad faith tactics have further delayed negotiations. We believe that the Spirit Negotiating Committee, especially its lead negotiator, has deliberately stalled negotiations in the hope that a possible merger with JetBlue could change union representation. This type of gamesmanship with your careers is entirely unacceptable. For further updates and information, please visit the Spirit Airlines page of the AMFA National website.
After a year of unproductive negotiations with both Sun Country Airlines and Spirit Airlines, AMFA has filed for mediation services from the National Mediation Board (NMB) to oversee the bargaining process for both groups. For a comprehensive review of the technical aspects of the mediation process, please visit the National Mediation Board’s website, where you will be able to research the airline collective bargaining process, including mediation thoroughly. In addition, if you have questions, do not hesitate to contact any member of your respective negotiating committee for answers or clarification.
The AMFA-Southwest Airlines (SWA) AMT CBA was ratified in July 2023, resulting in top-of-scale wage increases of 20.5 percent (all-in top-of-scale wage increases to $65.79) over three years. The SWA ALRs have had further discussions with the Company regarding digital day trades and automation. For more information, please visit the Southwest Airlines page of the AMFA National Website.
On November 8, 2023, AMFA sent Horizon Air (QX) official notice of the Union's intent to enter into formal Section 6 negotiations. The membership has submitted contract amendment proposals to inform the Committee of the group’s bargaining goals. For further updates, please visit the Horizon Air page of the AMFA National website.
The AMFA Government Affairs Team met in DC on October 19-20, 2023, with the House and Senate Aviation Sub-Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure. The team spent both days discussing the FAA Reauthorization ACT of 2023 related bills submitted by AMFA: 1) Military Transition, 2) Foreign Outsourcing, 3) Workforce Development, 4) AIR21 – FAA and OSHA Whistleblower. We discussed the passing of House H.R. 3935, and we will continue working with Congress members on the final versions of the FAA Reauthorization bill. We also met with other legislators and representatives about the status of the aviation industry as it relates to AMFA-represented employers. The AMFA Political Action Committee (PAC) is substantially growing, with more members setting up contributions via payroll deductions to support our legislative goals. For further information, please visit the Government Affairs page of the AMFA National website.
AMFA has been working with the Aircraft Maintenance Technicians Association (AMTA) and Canadian AMEs to introduce and promote a Canadian AME Day Resolution. AMFA submitted letters of support directly to members of Parliament to show the significance of international recognition of our craft/trade. MP Michael McLeod introduced the resolution, stating, “Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to table a petition signed by over 1,100 Canadians from across Canada who are calling on the Government of Canada to establish an annual aircraft maintenance engineer day on April 20. From coast to coast to coast, Canada's aircraft maintenance engineers work hard to keep aircraft of all types and sizes safely maintained in every type of weather. They are more than deserving of a day to recognize their contributions to our country.”
The AMEs AMFA represents in Canada are involved with multiple associations across Canada that are spearheading this movement to be recognized for their skill set and the recognition they deserve. A survey indicated the desired date of AME Day is April 20th, the day the first Canadian AME, Robert McCombie, was certificated.
Please utilize your carrier’s Safety Reporting System (SRS) when you feel there are safety or compliance concerns while performing your job. In addition to your carrier’s SRS, the FAA Hotline may be used to report aviation safety concerns: https://hotline.faa.gov/. We must realize our immense responsibility as FAA-certified airmen to exercise judgment on the airworthiness of aircraft and equipment. Therefore, we pledge unyielding adherence to these precepts for advancing public safety of aviation and for the dignity of our craft.
I ask you to remain vigilant and engaged with your union and officers. In doing so, monitor your respective carrier page on the AMFA National website for airline-specific details. Our most determined efforts will only succeed with your support and participation – please stay engaged and informed.