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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Been a while

Hello Everyone,
It's been a while since this blog was updated. For United Mechanics and Related the parties return to the table this coming week in Las Vegas followed by a week apart and then returning the week of August 10th. Good progress was made in the last session and it is my hope that continues. I will try to start this blog back up, as time permits, to use as another communications tool.
Take care,

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sepecial Update

January 14, 2014 
On Monday, January 13th, the TSA released its finalized US based repair station security rule. Significantly, because of the release, the moratorium placed by Congress on new certification of facilities has now been lifted. Lobbyists for the MRO industry including ARSA are now pushing for the FAA to quickly certify new facilities. 
As reported previously in the TAMC newsletter and the Mechanics Dispatch the Airline Division is strongly opposed to lifting the moratorium, especially in regards to foreign repair stations. The reason is clear; two previous and the most current DOT IG reports have shown that the FAA “Does not have an Effective Oversight process for Foreign and Domestic Repair Stations.” This is troubling given that there are currently 4700 domestic and 750 foreign repair stations. The TAMC has been on the Hill lobbying for some time that the moratoriums remain in place until the FAA has the ability to do what it was designed to do.
On Monday, the day the new rule was released a letter was sent to Administrator Huerta outlining our objections to any new certifications. That letter is attached for your review. In our view it is inconceivable that the government would further risk the lives of the flying public by burdening a system that historically has not been able to police itself. For ten years the Inspector General has been ringing the alarm bells about this oversight issue and that warning should not be ignored.  
What can you do about this? Get the word out, share this on social media, share this with your friends and family and finally ask everyone to write or call their members of Congress. We do not need more regulation in this industry paid for by the blood of the flying public.

Letter to FAA Administrator

Friday, August 30, 2013

Labor Day

My wife passed an article on to me titled “Combatting Negative Views of Unions: A Defense of Labor Studies”. The article was written several years ago by Victor G. Devinatz a professor of management in the Department of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. He taught courses in labor relations and human resource management at the time this article was written. Here is a link to the article.

Professor Devinatz opines that it is time the history of the labor movement as well as what unions currently do should be taught in schools. This is a proposition I wholeheartedly endorse. The declining middle class can be linked directly back to a decline in the unionized workforce in this country. As the professor explains why this type of education is needed, he spells out why unionized workers are mostly thought of in disparaging ways. He points out that given union density it is unlikely that people learn about unions at home. For me that wasn’t true as my father was a Teamster for most of his working career and many of my relatives were also in unions. One of my early memories of unionism is when the janitors in my elementary school went on strike and the teachers supported them by refusing to clean the classrooms. I asked my father about it and he explained that all the janitors were trying to do was to improve their lives and the teachers were helping because in the future they would rely on support from the janitors when it was their turn to bargain. My dad went through a couple of strikes while I was growing up and he did very well for his family. I learned that it is much better to stick together than to stand alone, but to the professor’s point I didn’t really learn what unions do until I became a member in my late teens.

Well what do unions do? For all of my adult life I have been a member, steward or officer of various unions. Some of them were effective and some less so. What unions do of course is provide a sense of balance and security to the workforce. They do this by maintaining a grievance system that allows workers the right to a voice in the workplace that they normally wouldn’t enjoy. In addition they bargain collectively to provide fair compensation and benefits for work performed. Unions that vigorously protect their members rights through contract enforcement and negotiations while progressively attempting to ensure that they are ahead of technology are obviously more effective that those that do not. But that’s not all. As pointed out in the professor’s article unions also provide benefits to companies. Specifically the benefit of a happy secure workforce will produce more than one that is less happy and less secure. 

In an interesting aside the professor points out in his article the use of the word workforce can even come with negative connotations. After all who wants to be considered a worker, especially amongst college grads or professionals?  Well the truth of the matter is doctors, lawyers, teachers and nurses among other professions have organized segments. And really when you think about it why not? You do not need to be a professor of labor relations to understand that we all do better when we strive to achieve similar goals. Working together provides far more benefits than going it alone. Many of us would like to believe that’s not true but it is all the same. 

I applaud the professor for his insights in this article and hope his idea comes to pass. 

This Labor Day please take time to reflect on the real meaning of the holiday. A stronger labor movement ultimately means a stronger economy and a stronger country as a result. Never forget – ours is a noble and patriotic endeavor!

Happy Labor Day Brothers and Sisters.     

Saturday, March 2, 2013

MX Dispatch 3-2-2013

Negotiation Update
March 2, 2013
Phase 1 Now Complete in Principal
The parties have now reached conclusion in principal on the entire agreement for non-economic Phase 1 issues. The work of crafting language will continue in parallel with the negotiation of Phase 2 economic discussions. The process of crafting language has been slow to this point and is a concern due to the fact we don’t want to end up in the same process as the pilots, where it takes several months after reaching a TA until all Articles are finalized. The Phase 2 economic discussions begin with information being exchanged between the parties’ actuaries regarding pension and health care solutions next week. The full committee will meet in Chicago next week, March 11th -15th.
Report of the Committee
This week’s meeting in Chicago found both sides able to find some room for further discussion on some of those issues that the sub committees previously determined to be Phase 2 items. In addition, the LoA subcommittee began discussing the Letters of Agreements with the assistance of NMB mediator Michael Kelleher. Long discussions between the Union and Company representatives found agreements to changes in many of the letters. It was determined that some LoA’s should be combined where the subjects were similar. It was further determined that some LoA’s were better suited in the main body of the Agreement and should be incorporated in corresponding Articles. Other LoA’s were determined to be an accurate reflection of the operation and should be kept in their entirety. Finally, some LoA’s were seen as no longer applicable and both sides agreed they could be omitted from the final agreement. The beginning of this time period saw the parties apart on several points, but by week’s end, the company moved towards understanding and agreeing with many of our arguments closing out the phase 1 LoA discussions.
Many of these letters of agreement offer further definitions or explanations to applicable articles, and some are stand alone agreements made for specific work groups or certain working conditions. It is the recommendation of the committee that when the tentative agreement is eventually complete, each member take a close read of these back of the book LoA’s when contemplating the CBA.
Representing the Unions interests, the Actuaries from Cheiron along with Professional Economist Dan Akins met with the experts who will be advising the company on the benefits
packages including pension and medical plans. These talks were attended by representatives of management and the Union and included the attorneys from both sides. More information was exchanged and explained between the parties in an effort to lay some solid ground work once formal benefit discussions between the parties start the week of March 11th.
The full negotiating committee was updated on the information and subjects discussed by our attorney and all the outside experts of the subcommittee. It is the opinion of the Union professionals involved that there is a genuine interest by the company to come to an agreement and get this TA complete in the time frame suggested. While this opinion was indeed encouraging by the committee, some of the information shared was a little more disheartening although not necessarily completely unexpected. Negotiating economic packages which have several major components can be a frustrating and daunting task. With diligent preparation, however, surprises can be mitigated. The Committee is taking all the information offered and attempting to simplify the choices before them in an attempt to provide the best possible deal for the membership. We remain hopeful that our goals will be met.
Seniority Integration
A formal report of the rank and file seniority integration committee was prepared and signed by mediator Ralph Berger. This report will be used by the rank and file negotiating committee during phase 2. The report can be seen at the following link:
Furloughed members urged to update their addresses
Members on furlough are advised to keep their addresses current with the company while on layoff. It is predicted that there will be many movements this year and there have been several members that have been removed from the seniority list because old addresses were on file when notices were sent.
If you are in touch with a furloughed member, please forward this information to them. Updates may be emailed to: . The ESC will provide a fax number and ask members to send the address change accompanied with a signature.