Search This Blog

Friday, October 31, 2008

Interesting article

Today Victoria Gray from the IBT sent an article from the Chicago Tribune which talks about a possible UAL/CAL merger. This is consistent with what we have been seeing and hearing lately.

Here is the link

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Weekly update 10-18-08

This week marks the last day of work for the mechanics being bumped in the secondary layoffs. Of the five being bumped three stayed because of either voluntary layoff or moving to another shop. I expect the next round to go much deeper due to the scale of the December round. The IBT is reviewing the current round with regards to possible violations of the CBA.

There have been two third step grievances filed this week for the two mechanics unable to hold the point. One of the mechanics that was bumped has the opportunity to take a test for another shop so one of these may be withdrawn if the mechanic is successful.

At Bob Luciano's suggestion I have written a letter to the station manager at IAD regarding the shop in BAL. She has responsibility for the BAL station and I informed her that there was an opportunity to make money with this shop utilizing the paint spray booth. She was on vacation this week and I asked her to call Bob next week to discuss this.

In GQ the management team has still not finalized the ten hour day schedule.

In PV a grievance was filed for an Art. XI I violation.

I will be out of the office for approximately 10 or 11 days so if you need assistance Tom will be in the office. An agreement was reached with both the MM and GQ/PV management that time limits for second steps will be extended until I get back.

Also vacation rules will be discussed in MM on my return but I was told unless I agreed to shift vacation bidding there would be no changes. If you believe this to be an unfair way to negotiate rules please let management know.

Early voting has started in both WV and VA. These states are considered battleground states and it is important we vote to install a labor friendly government moving forward. Early voting is quick and easy especially considering the record turnout expected on election day.

That's all for this week,

Layoff Letters

Here are the three letters from UAL regarding the layoffs.

Jim Keenan Email

Hello, this is Jim Keenan, SVP – United Services, with a message for October 17.

We are all well aware of the unprecedented financial pressures and economic uncertainty facing the airline industry. In addition to chronically high fuel prices and reduced consumer spending, financial and credit markets are facing significant challenges. These difficult times impact us all, in both our professional and personal lives.

In response to these challenges, United announced earlier this year that we would reduce our mainline domestic capacity by approximately 16% during the 4th quarter of this year vs. 2007. Consistent with these moves, and designed to ensure United can remain competitive during this turbulent period, we also announced that we would take the difficult but necessary step of reducing our workforce by approximately 7,000 by the end of 2009. Our competitors have announced similar moves, including capacity reductions of 16% at Continental, 13% at Delta, and 12% at American.

Despite this, I want to emphasize that these decisions, at United Airlines overall and within United Services, have not been taken lightly. We must, however, move decisively to respond to current economic challenges. As a result, we began with Salaried and Management (SAM) workforce reductions in July, and with the first round of front line reductions earlier this month. Another significant round of reductions will occur on January 11, 2009.

Because economic and industry conditions continue to be in flux, we are not certain of the precise number of reductions in this next round, but it is significant. The total January reductions will be approximately 750, impacting approximately 510 front line employees in Line Maintenance and 240 front line employees in Base Maintenance. These reductions are consistent with similar actions taking place in other divisions across United.

We are working to minimize the impact of involuntary furloughs. We have offered IBT and IAM represented employees the Early Out and Voluntary Furlough options as in the past. I am happy to say we’ve been able to mitigate many involuntary reductions already for both SAM and front line employees. For the next round, we have enhanced the Voluntary Furlough option with the inclusion of travel benefits. Information about these programs will be available on the United Services home page on SkyNet shortly.

As we rationalize the airline to address this challenging environment, we are also taking measures to enhance the way we do business by running a more efficient airline and maintenance division. This includes rationalizing our Line Maintenance Network and driving efficiency improvements in Base Maintenance. More details on these steps are contained in messages from Tim Canavan, Vice President of Line Maintenance, and the Base Maintenance Leadership Team of Bonnie Turner, Kathy Cassley, Bob Scoble and Bernie Petersen. These follow-on messages will be available on SkyNet later today.

I realize that these are difficult times for all of us. Please join me in making certain that, as we navigate these rough seas, we remain focused on safety and compliance as our foremost priority, and stay committed to delivering excellence in maintenance to United Airlines and our other customers every day. I have no doubt that, working together, we can continue our journey to become the world’s premiere airline MRO.


Tim Canavan Message

This is Tim with a message for October 17.

By now, you should have received a message from Jim Keenan, SVP – United Services that outlines the challenges United, and consequently United Services, are facing and must respond to. Jim also talks about the reduction in force that will happen at United Services as we right-size the division to match the reduced fleet of the airline. In Line Maintenance, there were many factors considered in evaluating when, where and by how much the reductions would affect the stations. In addition to the fleet pull down, factors including quality, reliability, safety and station efficiency were considered as we allocated these reductions among the stations to create a realistic footprint that can deliver quality and timely maintenance to the airline.

These reductions will occur on January 11, 2009, as aircraft come out of the fleet and more of our reliability initiatives kick in. While many stations will experience reductions, Newark, LaGuardia, Philadelphia stations will no longer provide maintenance service to the airline and Portland will become an overnight station only. We have also announced the closure of the hangars in Boston and JFK. However, because of the growth in international departures and overnight activity at IAD, this station will see a slight growth in resources.

In an effort to mitigate involuntary furloughs as a result of these reductions, we are again offering the Voluntary Furlough and Early Out options for those employees who wish to take advantage of them. Details will be on the United Services home page shortly.

These decisions reflect more than a need to resize the maintenance function. Line Maintenance taking a more strategic approach to ensure that we are doing the right work at the right time at the right locations, which includes partnering with Aircraft Scheduling and Routing to balance United’s need for a flexible route structure with appropriate maintenance opportunities. In doing so, Line Maintenance is creating “Centers of Excellence” where our hubs will ensure that our technicians are trained, qualified, and have the resources to do all work assigned to them. They will be asked to have the most varied technical expertise in troubleshooting and special skills. In addition, certain stations will be asked to champion specific products, such as the 757 A-Check in Seattle and the Airbus A-Check in Denver. We believe this will result in enhanced skills on these aircraft as well as trending potential issues to be worked through our Fleet champions and TST’s. Our Centers of Excellence will provide an infrastructure to work our aircraft safely, strategically, and reliably.

In support of our Centers, the Line Maintenance team will be supporting two important initiatives called “First Time Fix” and “Gate to Gate”. First Time Fix measures involve each technician vigilantly adhering to and improving safety and compliance. “Gate to Gate” measures will match manpower to station needs.

Amidst these changes there is work that continues regardless of our footprint or staffing. The reliability initiatives currently rolling out include an ever increasing number of available work packages and the expansion of our Aircraft Health Monitoring system to the Airbus fleet. Our Work Load and Capacity Planning initiative is well underway to improve our nightly planned packages for the cities. Our focus on cabin condition and workability has also intensified as aircraft appearance remains a priority for United at the highest levels.

I want to stress that these decisions do not reflect on the quality or contribution of the crews at the affected stations. We recognize that through their dedication and commitment there have been many innovations and successes to be proud of. But as the airline not only resizes but reshapes its business model, we must do the same. You are all skilled professionals and United and the entire Line Maintenance team thanks you for the hard work you do every day in helping to safely fly our passengers. I ask that you please demonstrate compassion and respect for all your colleagues as we transition our work through the end of the year and into 2009.


Base Maintenance Team Email – Bonnie, Kathy, Bob, Bernie

This is Kathy, Bonnie, Bob and Bernie with a message for October 14.

Jim Keenan, SVP – United Services sent an email to all division employees a little while ago outlining the steps United, and United Services, must take to stay competitive in the face of a deepening economic environment, chronically high fuel prices and subsequent reductions in travel demand. While United has committed to reducing the fleet and flying schedule and reducing the workforce by 7000 by the end of 2009, United services will reduce its operations to match the future size of the company, reducing our workforce as well.

At the Base, in addition to the SAM reductions that happened in July, this means approximately 240 union-represented employees will be directly impacted by a reduction that will take effect January 11, 2009. It is important to note that these numbers will change as employees on the line and at the base go through the “shakedown“ process.

As with the previous round, we want to mitigate the impact of these reductions, so we are again offering the Voluntary Furlough and Early Out options for those employees who wish to take advantage of them. In fact, we have chosen to enhance the Voluntary Furlough program with travel benefits. Details will be available on the United Services home page shortly.

There were many factors that led us to conclude this level of employee reduction was necessary: First we analyzed the production volumes we expected to change as a direct result of the 737 pulldown. In Components, the reduction of the 737 volumes and economic challenges were the largest driver to the October reductions in Components hence there will be a minimal impact in the area this round. In Airframe, an effort is underway to become cost competitive, we have been reevaluating the maintenance program, re-scripting the c-checks, and improving part supply as ways to become more efficient. In Engines, volumes for 2009 and 2010 are being analyzed, as well as factoring in efficiencies, improvements to supply chain, and ability to sustain critical qualifications. In Inspection, staffing reductions in other associated organizations reduced work load demand. There is also an impact from the upcoming changes to the receiving of vendor repair articles that will be introduced over the next few months with the help of a new reject data collection tool.

This has been a tough year and we are grateful that you have stayed focused and continued to contribute your best to make our division successful in serving the airline. We will be making the rounds at each shift over the next few weeks to answer your questions as we work through this difficult time.

Kathy, Bonnie, Bob, and Bernie

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


As you may already know UAL released the number of Mechanic lay-offs for the Dec 7th round. Here is the information I have,

Line Maintenance
DEN -91, ORD -149, SFO -66, IAD +23, BOS -33, EWR -21, JFK -21, LGA -18, PHL -19, LAX -54, HNL -4, LAS -3, PDX -16, SEA -13, KOA -1, and OGG -1.

Base -109, Airframe -55 and Components -12

I have not researched yet the seniority for each of these stations but I will update you when I have further info.


Monday, October 13, 2008


Here is the information on the PBGC. The phone number is 1-800-400-7242 and the case number is 19922400.

According to Skynet we should be getting packages in the mail soon.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weekly update 10-12-08

This week on Monday I attended the union meeting in New York. When the floor was opened for questions a mechanic from EWR asked what the union's position was regarding the upcoming layoffs and rumored station closings. Principal Officer George Miranda told the group that this is of the highest priority to the Teamsters. George told us if this was an attempt at further outsourcing of our jobs, and not a result of discontinued work because of aircraft and flight reductions, we would have the full support of the Teamsters including legal action.

We continue to explore leads for new jobs. If you hear of an opening anywhere please pass it on so that it can be relayed to people getting laid off.

On Skynet this week there was a piece about the PBGC. The article said that the final determinations of the retirement money you will receive should be sent to your homes soon. I will update the blog with the case number as well as the phone number tomorrow in case you need to contact the PBGC.

For MM this week the company is continuing to discipline for things they had not addressed previously. We were successful in having a level three removed this week. I am continuing to work on a couple of others, however the company is taking a firm stance at this point. As far as the overseas field service language the company has agreed to make some changes in the way they call non engine change related events. Right after the meeting a trip came up and the company called it correctly. If you are interested in overseas field service make sure the company has a copy of your passport. Also the WARN Act apparently did not apply as we did not lose 500 people or 33% of the employees at IAD. This determination was made after discussing it with Bob Luciano and a Labor Attorney. Also one of the mechanics bumping is off on an I-time injury and I will be looking into the legality of this bump.

In BAL this week I was told the company would be asking the mechanics what they do in order to determine if they were still needed. However, true to form, the manager informed the guys in the shop that "we are taking bids for your jobs but nothing has been determined yet." So much for professionalism.

In PV one mechanic quit and that created a second opening. Two of the aircraft mechanics that were recently bumped took those spots. The company has decided no more overtime so it looks like they will pay a much higher rate to the contractor to finish this work.

In GQ this week a lead position was posted for the midnight shift. The supervisors are continuing to work on the ten hour schedule and will be seeking your input.

The jackets are in the office for any that have not received them yet.

That's all for this week,

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weekly update 10-05-08

As most of you have heard there are more rumors regarding layoffs. We have heard 200WARN notices went out in ORD. Also several hundred in SFO and over 100 in LAX went out. Also, I do not know, but have heard that the number of openings here has decreased.

As far as looking for employment outside of United, Larry Bailey found a job fair put on by the Loudon County Chamber of Commerce. This job fair happened last week and I attended briefly. There were a couple of companies looking for people with mechanical backgrounds. I have written the Chamber and asked to be included for notices of future job fairs they hold. For anyone interested the Rep from L3 communications is also still looking for people.

For grievance activity the people involved in the secondary bumps at IAD have filed first steps on WARN notices. The company has denied these and I am going to discuss this further with Bob Luciano. One important thing regarding grievances is the amount of time we have between each step. If you have filed a first step complaint it is important to ensure the paperwork makes it to the office on-time. We had one that didn't make it and it would be dead except an extension was granted by the company.

I will be attending the union meeting in New York tomorrow to discuss some issues and pick up the jackets.

For MM I have asked the company to consider doing the 767 A-checks outside in an effort to keep more people here. Also we will be sitting down and discussing the Overseas EFS rules on Tuesday. I have also been informed the company will be cracking down on sick time and some performance issues. I strongly disagree with their stance and we will be forced to challenge them through the grievance procedure.

For GQ the ten hour schedule looks to be moving forward. It also appears another lead will be added to the midnight shift.

In BAL I got a question about our job duties. The manager was asking for detailed reports of weekly job activities. After attempting to call her with no response I advised that this was not within the scope of our work and they should have the Manager contact me if she disagreed.

It seems like we are in for a rough couple of months. Please remember to keep your cool. Don't give the company an easy excuse to fire you.

That's all for this week,