December 7, 2015
Participants for AMFA:
Louie Key – National Director
Earl Clark – Region I Director
Michael Nelson – Region II Director
Bob Cramer – Local 4 Airline Representative
Matt Townsend – Local 11 Airline Representative
Shane Flachman – Local 18 Airline Representative
Mike Young – Local 32 Airline Representative
Lucas Middlebrook – AMFA Counsel
Participants for Southwest Airlines:
Mike Ryan – VP, Labor Relations
Gerry Anderson – Sr Director, Labor Relations
Cindy Nagel – Sr Director, Labor Relations
Bill Venckus – Director, Labor Relations
Scott Collings – Director, Central Region
Mark Lyon – Sr Manager, Labor Relations
John Donnelly – Manager, Financial Planning
The Negotiating Committee is providing this update to the AMFA Membership at Southwest Airlines. This report is the only official authorized source of negotiating communications by the Committee.
We met for our first mediated Aircraft Maintenance Technician and Related (AMT) negotiation session on Monday, November 30, 2015, in Irving, Texas. This session was scheduled for a half-day, and we worked exclusively with the Mediator. The Mediator worked with our Committee and the Company separately throughout the afternoon. We spent our time with the Mediator presenting a summary of the unresolved issues that the AMTs have requested. In this initial meeting we focused only on items that we were seeking to achieve in this contract, and we did not spend time defending our current contract language as related to Company proposals. The Mediator also informed us that we would be proceeding with these negotiations using the "Interest Based" negotiation process as opposed to the traditional "Positional" process we have used for the past 40 months.
The first part of Tuesday morning we worked solely with the Mediator on protocol for moving forward in our sessions using the Interest Based negotiation format, and we continued to educate the Mediator on the details of our open items. We met with the Company at 11AM and jointly presented the current status of these negotiations to the Mediator. Since we haven’t met since June, we worked extensively to ensure that both parties were still in agreement as to where we are in the process while also advising the Mediator on the details of the open items. After lunch we again spent our time with the Mediator working to identify open articles that we felt were close to being resolved. Albeit, after more than three years of negotiating this contract, it was difficult to identify an issue that we feel is close to finalizing; however, we did agree that our proposed "Discovery" language in Article 21 would be our best candidate.
On Wednesday, we met with the Company and began the session discussing Article 21. Our remaining item that we proposed for Article 21 was language addressing "Discovery" of information when a member is disciplined resulting in loss of pay or termination. Upon working through Article 21, both the Association and the Company identified common concerns with the grievance process. We broke for a Committee caucus with the Mediator and worked on ideas to achieve our goal of "Discovery" language and mitigate the Company’s concerns. During the afternoon session with the Company we continued to work towards a resolution to the open issues in Article 21.
Overall, this session was productive as compared to the last several sessions we spent with the Company. Being that this was our first mediated negotiation session, it was essential that we spend time working with the Mediator to establish a baseline in these negotiations. We also spent time discussing the rules of the sessions while we are engaged in "Interest Based" negotiations, some of which include no note taking while issues are being discussed in session, and no observers in the room while the session is taking place. The reason for both these requirements is that for the "Interest Based" negotiations to be beneficial, both sides need to be able to freely discuss possible solutions to an open issue at the table without the fear of an idea being taken by the other’s interest as a position. Although some of you who are educated in these current negotiations are surely thinking "what could the Company possibly say that is more Draconian than some of their previous proposals?" we will follow the guidance of our Mediator. Although observers are currently not allowed in the session, we had and will continue to have a room available for Committee caucus where any members in attendance can be engaged in current discussions.
The next session is scheduled for January 5, 6, and 7, 2016, in Washington, DC. We will likely resume the Article 21 discussions. We appreciate your support. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your representative.
Your Negotiating Committee