May 5, 2021
We are cautiously optimistic as we continue to see the number COVID-19 cases decline throughout the US, and we are encouraged to see positive trends in air travel. As flights and our workload schedules are becoming more and more packed, remember Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMTs) work tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of the millions of air passengers each day. In many cases these men and women do so while working odd hours, weekends, and holidays in all types of inclement weather. AMTs take the responsibility to provide a safe aircraft to heart and strive to maintain the trust of the flying public. We thank you for your perseverance and dedication in performing your duties and producing a safe, reliable aircraft. Our unity as aviation professionals, especially during these times, is our strength.
AMFA National has been in the process of rejuvenating the Shop Representative Training course, compiling resources, and streamlining processes assigned to that position. In-person training for this position will be conducted throughout the year, with next training session to be held in Portland, OR on August 10-13, 2021.
AMFA–Alaska Airlines (AS) Airline Representatives (ALRs) continue working with the Company and Arbitrator on a ruling regarding the Roster Apps arbitration case. Professional Standards meetings will be taking place in JFK, LAX, and SFO though the months of April and May. The ALRs and National officers will be also conducting station visits in OAK, SJC, SFO, SMF, and JFK throughout month of May. The Kronos and pay audit are complete and everyone should have received an email from the Company explaining any payroll corrections, which should have been rectified in the April 23 paycheck.
We finally have progress in the Alaska Airlines Maintenance Controllers accretion filing (NMB file No. CR-7216) as the investigator requested further documentation on April 23, 2021. Furthermore, with a second round of support for information, declarations, and AMFA submission letters to the NMB investigator, we are moving toward a ruling. The information requested ranges from what experience as Mechanics/Technicians prior to working as Maintenance Controllers and identifying which of the following four jobs “Mechanics/ Technicians” refers to: (1) Aircraft Technicians, (2) Aircraft Lead Technicians, (3) Avionics Technicians, and/or (4) Avionics Lead Technicians experiences on Airbus or Boeing aircraft. AMFA’s supporting documentation deadline is Friday May 7, 2021. We will continue to keep you updated as developments continue to move forward.
Horizon Air (QX) has consistently had system-wide operational staffing issues and has hired additional AMTs. Local 14 Professional Standards had a meeting with Horizon Management for the implementation of this program for our members. As our QX membership continues to near our first round of Section 6 contract negotiations since re-certification, the plan to raise the standards and increase the recognition for the AMFA membership is our primary objective and goal. There were, numerous CBA proposals and individual nominations for outstation-at-large positions. Again, under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), Section 6 negotiations of your Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) are anticipated to commence mid-summer this year. Please remember, under the RLA your contract never expires; your contract remains “status quo” until amended, even though your union representation changed from IBT to AMFA. There may be no interference from Management, and they cannot change the contract.
AMFA–Southwest Airlines (SWA) operations have been busy across the system. AMFA members have dual responsibility of recurrent training on the relaunch and ungrounding of the 737 MAX for return to service, in conjunction with the new Tech-ops implemented Maintenex digital logbook maintenance aircraft record keeping, including 30-40 super-users at call centers that went live on April 28, 2021. We encourage continued vigilance while performing your day-to-day job tasks, remain compliant, and continue your qualification training while still keeping up-to-date on your training requirements. If you encounter any concerns, stop your task and get sufficient clarification in order to confidently sign-off that work.
The Boeing 737 MAX airframes have been grounded again to address a potential electrical issue in a specific group of 737 MAX airplanes prior to further operation and issue of an Airworthiness Directive (AD) and/or Service Bulletin (SB). The recommendation is being made to allow for verification that sufficient ground plant exists for a component of the electrical power system. Both Alaska and Southwest are working closely with Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration on this production issue. Note: 30 of SWA’s 58 737 MAX 8 aircraft are affected by the notification. We will continue to keep you updated as we receive information.
AMFA is a firm believer in keeping transparency with our union members and we respect employee choice in selecting a one craft-one union. To that extent, we are confident the American Airlines (AA) Mechanics and Related (M&R) will soon be granted their rightful opportunity to choose their own representation. On April 22, 2021, AMFA responded to the American Airlines’ Response, dated April 2, 2021, and the TWU/IAM Association’s Response, dated April 2, 2021, to Challenges and Objections to the Proposed Eligibility List of AA. AMFA opposes the proposed inclusion of the overwhelming number of individuals (2,000) sought to be incorrectly added to the AA Eligibility List. Indeed, this continued effort by the TWU/IAM is another example of how desperate they are to keep AA M&R from voicing their will. AMFA’s filing had an abundance of exhibits containing the substantive evidence needed to disprove the TWU/IAM’s numerous frivolous requests.
Here are several objections AMFA reiterates and reasserts:
- All of the 135 Flight Simulator Engineers should be excluded;
- The 397 individuals who have irrevocably resigned from AA VEOP agreements should be excluded;
- AA asserts that “not all 471 of the employees furloughed from AFW and TAESL identified by the TWU/IAM Association in its Challenges and Objections actually retain recall rights;”
- Exclusion from the AA List of all of the 293 or 294 Fleet Service Employees sought added by the TWU/IAM, who are not at all performing M&R work and therefore cannot satisfy any preponderance determination;
- The 233 individuals, or however many the Investigator determines there are, who have elected a VEOP and have irrevocably resigned from American and who are not eligible to be rehired, reemployed or reinstated by American, and who agree to be permanently separated from employment with the Company;
- Additionally, on a moral and ethical question, the TWU/IAM actually has the temerity to argue for including as eligible voters who are deceased because some of the deceased individuals died after the cutoff date. Of course, the TWU/IAM reveals its true purpose in trying to prevent the NMB election for the M&R Employees or it would not be making such a blatantly absurd argument. Regrettably, AMFA requests that the thirteen (13) deceased individuals be removed from the list.
AMFA also addressed “IAM Poison Pill” in our initial Position Statement and Continuing Interference of the RLA’s Laboratory Conditions, dated November 30, 2020, where AMFA raised the issue regarding the new M&R Employees Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) language adopted and later ratified in March 2020 in Article 29 – Benefits, Section K. which per se violates the Carrier’s legal obligation of neutrality in expressly stating the following:
K. In the event the TWU/IAM Association or the IAM should lose representation rights for a specific employee group through a representation election conducted by the National Mediation Board (“NMB”), the Company shall immediately have the right to eliminate, alter, modify, or merge with an existing plan, the Legacy US Airways Medical Plan provided under this Agreement for the specific employee group whose representation has changed.
AMFA reiterates that this CBA provision was intended to impede AMFA both in its efforts to collect authorization cards but also to adversely affect AMFA’s chances in an NMB election with certain employees who stand to lose certain health benefits should the TWU/IAM Association lose its representation rights to AMFA for the M&R at American Airlines.
AMFA has requested that either the Investigator or the NMB direct American Airlines to take corrective action to undo and remedy its prior and continuing interference with the "laboratory conditions" required under the RLA in violation of Section 2 Third, Section 2 Fourth, and Section 2 Ninth of the RLA, or alternatively, that the Carrier take corrective action on its own initiative to undo and remedy its prior and continuing interference with the "laboratory conditions" required under the RLA by affirmatively stating in writing to the NMB that it now intends to remain neutral in this representation dispute and therefore will not enforce any language in the CBA in Article 29 – Benefits, Section K, to the detriment or loss of benefits of any employee in this craft or class resulting from any change in representation in this NMB case. For further updates and information, please visit AMFA at American Airlines page of the AMFA National website.
As the only craft-specific labor group in the U.S., AMFA strives to ensure the technician’s voice is heard at the highest levels of government and industry. We accomplish this by participating in the advisory committees of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Department of Transportation (DOT) and Transportation Security Agency (TSA), where stakeholders gather to discuss and advise regulators on the most important issues facing aviation. Please monitor the Legislative Updates page of the AMFA National website for more details.
Reminder: the FAA Hotline reporting system may be utilized to report concerns of aviation safety: https://hotline.faa.gov/. We must realize our grave responsibility as FAA certified airman to exercise our judgement on the airworthiness of aircraft and equipment. We, therefore, pledge unyielding adherence to these precepts for the advancement of public safety of aviation and for the dignity for our craft.
As always, I ask you to please be safe while being vigilant and to stay engaged with your union and officers. Please monitor your respective carrier page of the AMFA National website for further airline specific details: Alaska Airlines Updates, Horizon Air Updates, Southwest Airlines Updates. Additionally, I encourage you for more carrier specific updates and further information regarding AMFA and the airline industry, please visit the AMFA National Website at www.amfanational.org. Our most determined efforts will only succeed with your support and participation – please stay engaged and informed.