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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bargaining survey

The Airline Division bargaining survey is posted here. Please take the time to participate.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Hafa Adai!

This week members of Continental Air Micronesia, Local 986 and the Airline Division worked towards finalizing contract proposals which would work to pre amalgamate the existing mechanics and related agreement. In addition there were craft meetings with various crafts and many issues were addressed surrounding the merger.

I would like to thank everyone that made us feel at home this week.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Actions vs. Words

A long time ago I learned that the old adage "actions speak louder than words" was true. Recently I saw a flyer from the Mechanics for Change where they called David Bourne and Ed Gleason liars (again) regarding what Linda Pachula told the parties. The flyer is incorrect on many levels. The first point I'd like to address is the fact is this statement was made at every road show in exactly the same manner not just SFO and IAD. After the fact a letter was written to the NMB and counsel for that agency answered that the NMB would never violate the law or the rules. Of course in the aftermath of the rejected TA the results speak for themselves. The TA was rejected by a margin of 600 votes and given recent bargaining history at UAL it would probably have taken only a few tweaks to get a ratified agreement. However the Company applied for mediation three business days after the vote effectively ending any hope of a quick resolution to the major sticking points. The NMB, as required by law, accepted the Company's application for mediation. (as of this writing we are still waiting for the NMB's decision regarding the Company's application to go straight to amalgamation) Then the NMB set a schedule where we will not begin real negotiations until next February. That is nine months from the date of the rejected TA. Why would the NMB do this? The NMB saw the results of the vote and also the TA. The NMB which is severely understaffed and overworked could have gotten the parties together immediately to see if there were some adjustments to be made to get a ratified agreement. That is their purpose. Instead they put us on the backburner. So did the meetings take place? You can judge for yourself. For me I know the meetings, first with the Company and then with the Union, happened and I'm not ashamed that I shared this information.

The next point I'd like to address is scope. Are these guys serious? A loss of 11000 mechanics isn't enough to convince these folks that our scope sucks? Prior to 1994 and the ESOP we didn't have the greatest scope, but it worked because there was no real domestic or foreign competition to take our jobs. During the negotiations leading up to the ESOP the Union (IAM) realized that our scope did little to protect us. Once the flight kitchens were sold, the IAM recognizing that we were extremely exposed, agreed to a 20% cap on outsourcing. This concession was made at the time to try and protect our jobs. In addition a letter of protection for those with greater than 1994 seniority was also agreed upon. The amount of work being outsourced remained flat for a time and then began to increase dramatically at the end of the decade. Bankruptcy through two hearings further eroded our scope as well as the 1994 protection date. In the first of the bankruptcy "negotiations" in 2003 the protection date was moved to October of 1989 based on a formula of retirees. Also during this time period Indy and OAK were closed resulting on huge numbers of furloughs. Further "protections" were added in the second round of "negotiations". At that time we were already down to about 9000 mechanics and the Union (AMFA) believed adding the shop protections and line protections would stop the bloodletting. It didn't. This very same language continues to keep us down yet the MFC steadfastly want to cling to it. Do they not understand basic math? If that's the case here is a quick lesson 15700>4700. Under very similar language (the United TA scope language was better than the CAL CBA scope language because of the SFO point protection provision) Continental mechanics enjoyed a 15% increase in jobs. In other words protecting the work instead of the jobs hasn't worked and vice versa. The results speak for themselves.

Unlike the continued garbage spewing from the Mechanics for Change, proudly signed,

Bob Fisher

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Update 8-2

Last week there were two days of Joint Board hearings as well as the quarterly meeting with the members in SFO.

For the quarterly meetings there were several committee reports and each of the five meetings had at least thirty minutes devoted to Q&A's. Many topics were discussed such as the future negotiations schedule as well as many questions regarding benefits, pensions, retro, seniority integration and various other topics. Each of the five sessions had over two hundred attendees. In my opinion the meetings were productive.

The Joint Board heard four cases over the two days involving terminations, scope and seniority issues. As a result of this new process SFO now has approximately 39 open third steps. This represents a huge reduction in grievances as when we started SFO had over 150 outstanding third steps dating back to 1998. The next hearing schedule is being formulated for later this month in Chicago.

In Dulles last week five ramp personnel were fired for taking food off the galleys. What is significant here is they were caught by an outside law enforcement agency that had been watching them for some time. Across the system it seems we have had several of these cases of eating from the galleys spring up in the mechanics group lately. There is really only one thing you can do to protect yourself. It should be obvious but stay out of the galleys. If you make this very serious mistake and get caught, as the five apparently were, admit it. Don't compound the problem by making up a story or denying it if caught red handed. There are never any guarantees in the grievance process, but honesty and contriteness are two huge mitigating factors if you have to appear before an arbitrator. The number of theft cases won by any Union is extremely small and it generally comes down to the arbitrator weighing a couple of mitigating factors if the Union prevails. It really is different than it was years ago when management turned a blind eye to this as they are now taking it very serious. Now the flight kitchen people are being trained to immediately call their supervisors if they witness anyone taking things from the carts as well as the above mentioned law enforcement group watching for this activity. Please protect yourself, there is nothing in those carts worth the anxiety you will bring to yourself or your family if you're caught.

Congress as of this post has not passed an FAA reauthorization bill.

Please take the time to participate in the FAA fatigue study for mechanics. This important study will eventually lead to changes in duty time limits for mechanics that will most likely affect your ability to work overtime. Here is the link.

That's all for now,