United Airlines: Rich Delaney, 19 April 2014: Download
Representatives from ABQ, BUF, CLT, CMH, CHS, DSM, ELP, DTW, FSD, ICT, KOA, LIH, OGG, PNS, and SLC met this past week to begin the process of discussion regarding these stations, now that United has announced their interest in contracting out all of these operations. The provisions of our current contract prohibit United from entering into contracts with vendors related to work performed by IAM members without first notifying and negotiating with the IAM over the work. Each station was reviewed concerning current operations costs and potential costs of vendor bids. Since this was the first meeting with the company after their notification, the cost of vendor bids was an initial and unofficial figure that will change as any future negotiations with the vendor are held. More detailed vendor information is expected within the next month.
Company representatives from the Finance, Labor Relations, Human Resources, and Airport Ops Depts. were at the two day meetings and presented information and answered questions from our representatives regarding both specific stations and the general approach United takes in considering contracting out work. An open discussion was held concerning different aspects of station operations such as scheduling issues and work assignments, wage and benefit costs per station, and the value these components have in determining the overall cost per station. Since the value of any individual issue changes in each station based on the population and seniority of the station, it is necessary to look at each station as a stand-alone cost structure. While absolutely no commitments were made as to areas of our contract that could be discussed further, the values assigned to the different contract provisions will help our representatives in future discussions.
Follow up meetings will be held in the upcoming weeks with smaller groups of representatives to continue to exchange information and ideas of possible solutions to the contracting out problem. It is not expected that final decisions for any station could or would be made until mid-summer.
It is important to remember that this additional negotiations on behalf of line stations is built into our agreement as an option for the members in affected stations to consider alternatives to contracting out. These negotiations do not require contract changes and stations can determine that this type of negotiation is not in their best interest and can determine not to participate. Many of the station representatives that participated in this week’s discussions saw, for the first time, the difficulty we face in trying to keep members working in the cities they want to work in on the one hand, and maintaining the high level of wages, benefits, and work rules that make this a job worth keeping on the other. Our current contract placed our members ahead of our closest competitors in terms of total compensation and benefits. It also widened the difference between United members and the already lower paid vendor employees. Seeing whether or not that difference can, or should be, reduced in order to keep United members working in these stations is the test of these negotiations.
These negotiations are unique. The issue is not job security – every member in every station named has guaranteed employment with United Airlines as long as they want it. The issue is can we find a way to insure that employment remains in the locations members would most like to work in.
Members in CLE that have been notified by United they will be affected by the downsizing of the station are completing their decision making this week. Some have chosen to retire, some elected the special Early Out buy out, some have accepted furlough and will wait for their recall, and about 175 have opted to look at system options and have indicated they are willing to move to other cities in order to remain working. The options members have been given vary between the Above the Wing members and the Below the Wing members. ATW options include IAD, DEN, PIT, DCA, and MCO. BTW options are SFO and PHX. All of these options are currently identified vacancies. Because of the recent agreement to insource work in DEN, IAD, and PHX, along with the normal vacancies in the other stations, there will be no need to disrupt any other employees through a bumping procedure. CLE members may choose not to fill these vacancies and accept furlough; the vacancies would then be filled through the transfer process or off the street hiring.
The Transition Resolution Boards established in the current agreement to address differences between the parties regarding contract language, met this past week. They worked on the protocol to be used in their discussions and set a schedule for future meetings. The parties agreed the TRB would not be used to replace the grievance procedure and that most currently active grievances should continue to follow the appeal process in the contract. The TRB will address contract provisions that both sides see as critical and time sensitive to the implementation of the agreement. As an example, an overtime bypass grievance would be handled through the grievance procedure while reaching a common understanding of what an irregular lunch is would be the responsibility of the TRB.
In order to reduce the issues that will be forwarded to the TRB discussions continue between District 141 and United regarding implementation subjects. An issue that was resolved this past week involves the new provision in the contract allowing members to defer fixed Holidays to a later date or combine them into a block week of vacation. Members will be able to defer the 8 hours (for full time employees) of Holiday pay to receive an additional paid day off while continuing to receive the time and one half pay they are now entitled to if they work their scheduled hours on a recognized Holiday. Members will be able to opt for this deferral in the coming weeks, prior to the first fixed holiday of Memorial Day.
US Airways: Rich Delaney, 13 April 2014: Download
The National Mediation Board has directed representatives of District 141 and our International to meet with Company representatives in Washington on April 30 and May 1st. The purpose of the meeting is unclear but we are hopeful that the long awaited response from management to our last proposal for contract settlement will finally be presented. As we have said throughout this process, we intend to follow the law (Railway Labor Act) and the directives of the NMB in order to get our members the best possible agreement prior to full integration with American Airlines and will attend all meetings called by the NMB.
As we have waited for communication from the NMB, our members and District and Local leaders have continued to actively prepare for the possibility of a release from mediation, the setting of a strike date and 30 day cooling off period, and possibly a work stoppage. We believe the solidarity our members have shown, along with the strengthened support and coordination with our Brothers and Sisters in Maintenance and Related classifications has impressed the NMB and the public. The commitment of our Alliance partners, the TWU, to support our efforts has added strength to our message. The coordinated efforts of all groups in informational picketing and hand billing has helped lead us to the meetings now scheduled for the end of the month. We must continue to work together to reach our goal.
It surprises no one that all employee groups are having issues with current management. The recent letter from the Union Labor Coalition, in which the IAM is an active participant, to Mr. Parker outlined what most of us have known - the promise of improved labor relations after his merger was empty. It is through collective action that we will force the changes we need and we are working together to see that happen and we will continue to work with our ULC partners.
We will approach the meetings at the end of the month as the needed step to complete our negotiations. We will view any response from US Airways as a serious attempt to outline the company’s position on the outstanding issues. Our position is well known by both the company and the NMB and is not going to change.
The full Negotiating Team thanks our members for their support and encouragement as we make our way through the many obstacles preventing us from reaching the agreement they have told us they need. That support and commitment to each other is becoming more important every day as we head to Washington. Please stay informed by visiting our website, attending Union meetings, and asking questions of your local and District representatives over the coming weeks.
Union Labor Coalition of US Airways (ULC), 4 April 2014: Download
United Airlines: Rich Delaney, 13 April 2014: Download
Job security continues to be, and appears will always be, a concern of working people, including members of District 141. This past week gave several examples of the scope of security issues and a Union’s response to them. Whether it was US Airways negotiations, CLE downsizing, or preparations for Line Station negotiations, the core issue was job security. This week showed that there is no single answer or approach to combatting the threat of job insecurity and those that are looking for simple answers to this problem will not find them.
District 141 continues to focus on many fronts to secure jobs, from negotiations, organizing, political solutions, domestic and global labor alliances to create employment standards in the airline industry. In negotiations with all of the airlines we represent, we have been aggressive in negotiating a commitment for security in United stations that includes Express work and insourcing – and we have been defensive in negotiating a status quo station protection commitment for US Airways members.
We have tried to protect the future through unique Line Station negotiations and we have honored the past (seniority) through improved furlough options and recall rights. All of these things have served a purpose and have reduced or minimized the impact of job loss but none of them, either by themselves or together, has stopped the decision makers in airlines from continually looking to reduce their cost and increase their profit by operating with fewer employees, having someone else do the work, or downsizing their own operations. As companies find new or different ways to accomplish their goal unions have to react with fresh approaches too.
This week, in Washington D.C. and the Hawaiian Islands, District 141 and the IAM expanded our defense of our members by meeting with key legislators from states most affected by the recent decisions of United Airlines to downsize and contract out work. The offices of Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge met with District 141 and Grand Lodge representatives to hear directly from their constituents about the impending loss of jobs in their states and our request for help from our government. The inclusion of political pressure from the federal government level is an additional level of activism beyond the self-help methods we have used to this point through direct negotiations. It is another option we are using to exhaust all means of protection prior to losing any members. The congressmen were very supportive and have pledged to work with the IAM to push United to revise their plans for stations all across the country. They have committed to look for additional support from congressmen in other states that have stations affected by United’s decisions.
Preparations continued this week for the beginning of individual station negotiations concerning the 15 stations United has notified us are under consideration to be outsourced. Monday morning, April 14, representatives from each of the stations will meet in Chicago with District 141 Officers and then together meet with United management to begin the contractually required negotiations for each station’s future. Detailed information regarding the financial status of each station, the cost of the vendor bids received regarding each station, and the value of specific contract components that apply to each station will be shared with the station representatives. This information is necessary for the IAM and the members in each station to realistically address options that could prevent the station from being contracted out. The two day meetings will set the stage for the next step in the process which is to conduct individual station discussions using the information specific to that station. Any agreement as a result of those discussions that would modify existing contract language would require a vote by the members in that station and would only apply to that station.
This week also pointed out that our concern about contracting out will not go away anytime soon. Delta Global Services, the ground handling vendor owned by Delta Airlines and that has threatened our jobs in stations all across the system, announced that even they are not immune to outsourcing. DGS notified approximately 400 workers in MSP they would be laid off due to the contracting out of the work they were doing as contract employees themselves. This follows DGS’s decision to contract out almost 800 jobs in DTW. Remember, DGS is a contract company providing ground handling services to airlines, including United and Delta. They now are contracting out the work they contracted in.
This downward spiral of companies and their employees always willing to perform work for less than the going rate is going to make the work of our station representatives very difficult. They need the full support of our Union and members as they sort through the information they will receive this coming week and look for viable options for their coworkers.
This week District 141 reached an agreement with United Airlines regarding the scheduling and seniority rights of Reservations Agents. The company has agreed to revise the current practice used in the recent shift bid and return both 4 hour shift opportunities for part time agents and 10 hour shift opportunities for full time agents and again honor seniority by resuming the Write Your Own schedule for the most senior agents. In addition, United has committed to procedure to systematically review the full time/part time population in order to provide full time opportunities for those that want them. Adjustments in the flexibility of the trade policy and the minimum work hours requirement will give agents, both in offices and at home, the options they have been looking for their individual scheduling needs. Both United and the IAM see these agreements as examples of the transition resolution process negotiated in our current contract.
The Transition Resolution Boards outlined in our contract will begin their work this coming week. The permanent members of the Boards from each side will meet on Tuesday. The issues that have been raised by members regarding the meaning and application of some specific contract provisions will be brought to the Boards so they can be finalized and implemented correctly. The Boards will continue to meet on a scheduled basis and address implementation issues. This process is not intended to replace the Grievance Procedure or the possibility of arbitration decisions but it is planned to resolve issues together, find the ones that cannot be agreed to, and speed up the time it takes for a contract dispute to reach arbitration.
Rich Delaney, 08 April 2014: Download
IAM Enlists Pol’s Help to Oppose United’s Outsourcing Plans
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today announced it has coordinated efforts with lawmakers in several states to press United Airlines not to outsource operations to low-paid sub-contractors and protect workers after its recent decisions to reduce flight operations at Cleveland’s Hopkins Airport and possibly outsource passenger service and fleet service work at 15 stations across the United States and Hawaii.
Both the IAM’s Transportation and Legislative Departments have met, and will be meeting, with US senators, representatives, state and local officials to plan a course of action to possibly maintain IAM-represented workers in 15 locations United targeted for outsourcing.
“I’d like to thank IAM Airline Coordinator Ira Levy and our Legislative Department’s Co-Director Hasan Solomon for enlisting help from Capitol Hill,” said General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “The IAM will have the backing of US senators, representatives and state and local officials in our efforts to keep IAM members in these cities. While IAM members’ contracts at United protect their employment, there is no good economic reason why United should consider outsourcing this work.”
Senator Brian Schatz’ (D-Hawaii) Chief of Staff, Andrew Winer, will attend IAM Local Lodge 1979’s meeting on Wednesday April 9, 2014 to speak with IAM members about efforts thus far and future plans to possible preserve IAM-represented jobs in the Hawaiian Islands.
IAM representatives and IAM-represented workers from Cleveland will meet on Wednesday April 9, 2014 with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in Washington D.C. to discuss the Cleveland downsizing and the possible outsourcing in Columbus, Ohio.
IAM-represented workers are encouraged to visit www.iam141.org for more information.
United Airlines today has announced their commitment to reduce their reliance on outside vendors performing ground handling work. United has previously announced the Above the Wing Express work in DEN will be insourced and performed by IAM represented United employees. Today’s announcement expands the insourcing work to Above the Wing in IAD and Below the Wing in PHX.
The work in PHX will be turned over to IAM represented Ramp Service in June 2014. The DEN and IAD work is planned for a full turn over in the fall. However, these planned vacancies will be made available right away in order to provide options for CLE employees choosing to exercise their seniority through system transfers. The currently vendored work will not completely transition to United until the 3rd Quarter of 2014 but members will be able to transfer to these stations and prepare to take over the work now.
This announcement comes after many discussions between the IAM and United and is the first movement towards meaningful insourcing under our current Agreement. The vacancies created by the shift away from outside contractors will not only provide opportunities for CLE members forced to choose between furlough and movement but will also open up opportunities for members in other stations to use their seniority to voluntarily transfer. As those jobs are filled through hiring new employees, all IAM members’ employment is more secure.
Discussions continued this week between District 141 and United Airlines regarding the announced downsizing of the CLE operation and its impact on IAM members. We have been talking about several components of what our members are facing and what is the right way to address them. We have heard from members that there are different needs concerning this downsizing and we have tried to look at each one. First, members anticipating they will be affected by a loss of job in CLE are telling us they are not in a position to pack up and move to another city at this time. For some, that means leaving United prematurely, through possible Early Out options. While we continue to talk about this option, United announced their willingness to offer an Early Out this week. The current program would allow members with at least 10 years seniority to resign from the airline and receive a lump sum payment between $10,000 and $20,000, depending on their eligibility for continuing pass travel. This is an option that may work for some members and we want to make it as beneficial as possible so we are continuing our discussions on this issue. Some members do not want to resign from United but cannot, at this time, consider moving. We have reaffirmed the recall rights of members, which were improved in the recent negotiations. Since CLE is getting smaller but still operating at a significant level, the ability to be recalled without limitation for members is really meaningful and important.
The focus of our talks this week has been to try to insure that those members that need or want to stay actively employed with United have the ability to do so. We are trying, as much as possible, to find opportunities for members while at the same time reducing the need to involuntarily displacing other members across the system. By that I mean looking to United to commit to insourcing work that will create vacancies by removing vendors. Our already announced agreement to insource United Express Customer Service work in DEN is part of this, but is not the only work we are looking for. United has agreed to look at other stations and other vendor work immediately. Follow up conversations with the company have shown that they evaluating several stations but have not committed to anything additional at this point. We will keep talking with the company throughout the next few days, prior to the scheduled employee notification of the need to opt for system options. Our goal is to reduce vendors in stations to not only provide vacancies for those that need them but also those members that want to transfer to new locations, thus creating future opportunities in additional stations. Our immediate concern is to limit the need to identify junior members across the system that may be affected by the decisions of others.
This week the first group of s-UA Reservations Agents finished their training and began the new experience of working from home. Agents in DTW, ORD, and HNL are now able to opt for this alternative work schedule, joining the more than 1,000 s-CO Agents that have voluntarily chosen this schedule. The first groups from each office were limited in number but the company is committed to expanding this option for our Res members in the coming weeks and months; especially as the company's newer technology is brought online. This new style of work will enable agents that are working in offices to perform reservations work in their current home and also give them the freedom to move to other locations of their choosing and keep working for United. This is especially good news for agents that have been effected by the closing Res Centers across the country prior to 2008 that can now consider returning home after working for years in the limited offices that remained. It also provides real chances for agents that needed to accept furlough when their office closed to be recalled and resume their career with United.
Discussions with United were also held this week regarding the scheduled Line Station meeting. Representatives of each station have been identified and are prepared to begin developing options to having work contracted out in their locations. The initial meetings to be held on April 14 & 15 will focus on the exchange of information for each station, a review of the responses United received from vendors, and the financial value of several contractual items on a per person cost. Further planning and preparation will be done this coming week by the District 141 Insource Committee, so that the group meeting will be productive and no time is lost in dealing with this critical subject. After the information exchange scheduling of individual station negotiations will be determined.
All United members that have 401(k) savings accounts will receive the company match contribution on April 29th. This addition to retirement savings is the first contribution for s-UA members, as called for in our new contract. S-CO members have participated in this plan in the past and have benefitted from this boost in savings. The company matching funds range between 1% and 3% of an employee's contribution, based on a sliding seniority scale that provides accelerated savings for senior members getting ready to retire. This retirement savings benefit is in addition to the company contributions on behalf of members to CARP and the IAM National Pension Fund. Taken together these company paid provisions pave the way for our members to have a dignified retirement unlike any other employee of the airline.
US Airways members from both Districts 141 and 142 took our message of the need for contracts for all USAir IAM members directly to the flying public this past week. Members in CLT, PHL, BOS, PHX, and DEN walked together and handbilled passengers informing them of our frustration with the company’s failure to negotiate fair agreements for Fleet Service, Maintenance and Related, and Instructor employees of the airline. Passengers were asked to contact Doug Parker directly and urge him to settle these contracts before any disruption in service would occur. We are waiting for a response from the National Mediation Board to our continuing request for a release from mediation and the establishing of a 30 day countdown period to bring these talks to a conclusion. The NMB is evaluating the positions of both parties and has not indicated when they would make a determination either to move forward under the Railway Labor Act and make a proffer of binding arbitration or direct both sides to return to the bargaining table and continue under mediation. The IAM has made it clear that a return to that kind of negotiations would be unproductive and just serve to further delay the process since we believe we have reached an impasse that cannot be resolved by continuing a failed practice.
The response from passengers and other airline employees was very positive and supportive. As we expand our support group, through our participation in the Union Labor Coalition of US Airways and our strengthening alliance with the American Airlines Transport Workers Union membership, additional public demonstrations will be held in airports throughout the system. Preparations for an undesired but potential work stoppage continue on a coordinated basis with District 142 and our Maintenance and Related Brothers and Sisters.
United Airlines members began receiving their delayed compensation this past week. Legacy Continental members, who are paid on a different schedule than s-UA members, received the first of the company termed “look back” payments owed to them from November 1, 2013. This recent payment was supposed to include a correction to the hourly rate of pay for each member. United had already informed members and the IAM that some elements of earnings – such as holiday pay, overtime rates, and shift differentials – would not be included in this payment as they were new components of compensation for s-CO members and had not been programmed completely into the payroll system. Immediate complaints and questions from members show that those are not the only earnings missing from the payment. Inaccurate calculations of hourly rates and earned overtime (besides the missing double time rate) are being challenged and the lack of detail regarding the calculations is causing concern. United has committed to establishing an email communication process in which individuals can get accurate information and specific details as to their outstanding earnings. Information regarding this email system will be made available this coming week.
Legacy United members, for the most part, will receive their retroactive pay this coming week in the normally scheduled paycheck of April 3rd. While we can make no claim as to the accuracy of the calculation at this time, the differential between what is owed and what is paid will be less of a problem than with our s-CO members. The issues of shift differentials and double time rate for qualified overtime do not need to be recalculated for s-UA members. The only delayed payment for s-UA members should be the increased payment to double time and one half for working on a holiday. The company claims that all full time s-UA members received the correct payment for hours worked on New Year’s Day and the outstanding earnings owed, after this week’s “look back” adjustment, will be the difference between the double time that was paid and the double time and one half that is owed for hours work on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Part time s-UA members are owed for all three holidays. There will be no adjustment for any potential overpayment during this period.
Discussions continued this week regarding the impact of United’s decision to downsize CLE and actively look at vendors’ bids in 15 stations. We have agreed to meet this coming week, April 2nd, to finalize talks regarding opportunities for our CLE membership. Included in these discussions will be what additional insourcing opportunities can be determined besides the already announced insourcing of Above the Wing work in DEN. CLE members will be asked in the next 2 weeks to declare their intention to take system option in the event they are reduced and they need to have a realistic understanding of what those options may be.
Under the terms of our contract United must enter into negotiations with the IAM to determine if anything can be found to keep s-UA members working in specific stations before the company can contract out work. We have agreed this past week to begin that negotiation process by bringing in representatives of each station, along with the established Insourcing Committee of District 141, to receive the financial information United is using to drive their decisions. The meetings will be held in Chicago on April 14 and 15. The meetings will include all stations. Future negotiations, based on the information received, will be held separately for each station.
The purpose of these negotiations is to determine what, if anything, can be reasonably considered under our contract, and acceptable to the employees of each standalone station, to maintain the in station employment of IAM members. This language was included in our agreement as an additional layer of employment security. Our previous contracts did not permit any type of deviation for individual stations and prevented us from having meaningful discussions that might have saved some line stations in the past. There is no history of this type of negotiations in our industry; our contract is the first to include this requirement to negotiate, so there is no way to predict the success or outcome of these talks. The station representatives that will participate in these negotiations will be pioneers in labor relations and need the support of all IAM members as we begin this new challenge to protect our members. Any tentative agreement that can possibly be reached through these negotiations will have to be ratified or rejected by the individuals that may be affected by it; those that work in the station.
United began holding meetings with local committees this past week to talk about their proposed process for calculating time spent by Union Representatives in enforcing our contracts. While the particulars of this process are still being discussed at a higher level and have not been completely agreed to, local management has decided to go forward and announce their plan as if it is a punishment to Union Reps. The fact is the contract commits United to pay for a set amount of time out of the operation for designated representatives to conduct Union business without interference from the company. What is being discussed is how to accurately account for the time used in order to guarantee we get full credit and use of the time negotiated. The contractual commitment of 150,000 hours of company paid time out of the operation is a system wide number and is not controlled by a single station or office. It is an annual figure that can only be determined after the year is complete and a total usage is identified and agreed to. What is being discussed is how to account for this time on an ongoing basis in order to properly evaluate a year end total. Current station representatives that are allowed time out of the operation for Union business will continue in the same manner until told otherwise by the IAM, not United. The month of April will be used to try to determine a baseline of usage, so reps may be requested to document their time – not their activity. Discussion among IAM representatives will be held during the scheduled Chairmen’s Conference in May to determine and identify any areas of concern this program has on the enforcement of our contract and the representation of our membership.
This past week District 141 assisted representatives of IAM District 140, who represent United Airlines employees in Canada, in their discussions with the company regarding the contracting out of all IAM positions in Calgary and Vancouver. Their discussions were limited to the severance packages and exit payments that could be provided to our Canadian Brothers and Sisters as United pushes towards contracting out all work by early May. These were difficult discussions to observe since there were no real options available to the workers – no station transfer option, no renegotiation option, no meaningful recall option – only a separation payment option. The District 140 representatives worked very hard on behalf of their members to get them the best, and last, agreement with United they could.
TWU Express Full Support for Machinist Union: Download
Our fight on USAir for a contract that gives us the same level of compensation and respect that management has already given to American employees struck a new level this past week. After two days of talks with the Chairwoman of the National Mediation Board it was obvious the New American was sticking with the Old USAir positions that we have had to deal with for the past 2 years. The company did not move from their position of substandard wage increases and no benefit improvements and we did not move from our demands for equal pay for equal work and a return of benefits lost through previous bankruptcy. We again asked the NMB to release us from federal mediation and allow us to move towards the showdown we recognize is inevitable. While we began the week with the slim hope of movement from the company, the reality that would not happen changed our focus towards strike preparation. Members of District 141’s Negotiating Team met with District 142’s Negotiating Team to refine plans for joint action of fleet service and maintenance during a 30 day cooling off period. Joint communication plans, both public and internal were made. The emphasis of the week was the need and willingness of both work groups to stand together. The commitment of both Districts to work together shows the benefit of having different work classifications in the same Union. While negotiations focus on the needs of each contract, the strength and support of other groups will lead to a successful strike, if that becomes necessary.
Our plans for mutual support and action were unexpectedly improved on Wednesday when we received a letter of support from Harry Lombardo, leader of the Transport Workers Union. The public support of our brothers and sisters of the TWU should show the New American management that our Alliance is real and has the power of 30,000 American Airlines workers who are demanding fairness for all employees.
While we wait for a response from the NMB to our request for a release we intend to push our message to management and the public. Demonstrations of support are planned in stations across the system this coming week. All District 141 members, especially USAir members, should check with their local Committees to see how they can help. A strike is never considered the first option of negotiations but when an impasse is reached and talks stop a strike becomes a necessary tool. A successful strike will take the involvement and support of our entire Union and our Alliance partners
Meetings will resume this coming week with United Airlines regarding their recent announcements of downsizing CLE and evaluating bids from vendors in 15 line stations. Our first concern is the freeing up of positions, both Above and Below the Wing, through the insourcing of currently contracted out work in stations across the system. This insourcing will provide openings for involuntarily reduced members and also allow voluntary transfers that will then create vacancies in other stations in the future. We will also begin the process of evaluating each affected stations to see if there is a way to modify scheduling, work rules, or other contract provisions to keep United/IAM members in the station performing the work and reject the vendors bid. This process will deal with one station at a time and will include a representative from the station in the discussions in order to get input from the members that will be impacted.
Review and evaluation of Retroactive/Signing Bonus Disputes continued this past week and is near completion. Financial advisor Tom Roth, and Arbitrator Tom Gibbons are finishing their work involving the recalculation of individual’s payment and determining if additional money is owed. Those cases that have been determined to be entitled to an adjustment, based on the criteria established for the December payment have been sent to United Airlines for payment. When the dispute review is finalized the remaining funds in the retro pool will be fully distributed to eligible IAM members using the seniority and work status formula used for the Signing Bonus.
April is the effective start of the increased pension accrual for United participants. This increase will provide the richest defined benefit in the airlines. This benefit is part of the fully company paid pension plan that is called for in our contract and is separate from any 401(k) benefits members may receive from their individual savings. The IAM has always focused on the “defined benefit” approach to retirement benefits as it provides guaranteed monthly payments for life and is not tied to the success of individual investing. The 401(k) plan is seen as a great supplemental savings plan that adds to each person’s ability to have a dignified retirement. Our current contract calls for, in addition to company funding of the pension plan, matching contributions by United to employees’ 401(k) accounts. The matching funds plan started on January 1, 2014 with the company required to deposit that money in members’ accounts on a quarterly basis. The first company contribution is due in early April under our contract. The sliding scale of matching contributions provides up to a maximum of 3% additional money in a person’s retirement savings account.
Meetings will also be held this coming week to finalize outstanding seniority integration issues, especially those concerning the recent Above the Wing/Below the Wing selection determinations.
USAIRWAYS NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE: 19 March 2014
Machinists Press NMB for Right to Strike US Airways: Download
After hearing American Airlines CEO Doug Parker lie about how wonderful labor relations are at the “new” American Airlines at a JPMorgan investor conference last week, Parker and his management team once again slapped IAM members at US Airways in the face by refusing to settle contracts that provide comparable wage rates to those negotiated with American’s employees who perform the same work.
The continued insult occurred at the offices of the National Mediation Board (NMB) in Washington D.C., where IAM Transportation Department officials met with NMB Chairwoman Linda Puchala to reiterate that an impasse has been reached and to press the NMB to release both parties from mediated talks.
“US Airways’ refusal to settle fair contracts that provides comparable wage rates to what it negotiated with American’s employees who perform the same work is an insult,” said IAM IAM District 141 President Rich Delaney. “We demand a release from these fruitless discussions so we can exercise our right to strike.”
“We will not walk away from years of negotiations because that is what US Airways wants,” said District 142 President Tom Higginbotham. “IAM members at US Airways sacrificed when needed to save the airline, and now’s the time for fairness, not disrespect.”
In a quarterly meeting in February, Parker stated that American’s goal is to achieve single joint contracts with all its labor unions. IAM members at US Airways have been in contract negotiations with the carrier for almost three years and have demanded that they settle stand-alone agreements before any joint negotiations take place.
“The IAM has stated all along that fair stand-alone contracts for IAM members at US Airways must be achieved before the idea of joint negotiations is entertained,” said IAM General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “With our TWU sisters and brothers, there are almost 30,000 voices at the ‘new’ American who are demanding fairness and respect.”
“The TWU and IAM are partners,” said Transport Workers Union President Harry Lombardo, in a public show of support for IAM ground workers. “Both unions belong to the AFL- CIO. We represent workers that share the same skills and classifications; the nearly 30,000 ground workers represented by IAM and TWU at the new American Airlines are union brothers and sisters. We will not sit idly by as management tries to drive a wedge between workers.”
“I thank TWU President Harry Lombardo for his public statement of solidarity,” continued Pantoja. “Mr. Parker should take notice that clear lines of division have formed at his airline. All we ask for is fairness, and we are prepared to fight for it.”
The TWU and IAM formed an official representation alliance last year after the merger of American and US Airways, and plan to combine both union’s considerable resources to represent TWU-IAM ground workers at the “new” American.
The NMB has yet to issue a decision to release both parties from mediated negotiations and extend a proffer of arbitration.
The IAM-TWU alliance represents nearly 30,000 ground workers at the “new” American Airlines and is the largest union at the carrier.
|Rich Delaney||Tom Higginbotham|
|President & Directing General Chairperson||President/General Chairman|
|District Lodge 141||District Lodge 142|
Dues Check-Off: 19 March 2014
Dues check-off is being conducted around the system and at-home-res agents are receiving information in the mail. If you have any questions or have not received your paperwork yet, the District has set-up a Hotline for all concerns:
Dues Check-Off Hotline
800 411-6069 option 4
United Airlines today announced an agreement with IAM District 141 to insource a significant amount of above-the-wing work to service the United Express (UAX) operation in Denver, which includes Station Operations Control positions. IAM District 141 today also received notification from United Airlines of its intent to contract out work in the following stations - ABQ, BUF, CHS, CLT, CMH, DSM, DTW, ELP, FSD, ICT, KOA, LIH, OGG, PNS, SLC (Below the Wing).
We have been aware that United solicited Requests For Proposals (RFPs) from multiple vendors in many line stations. United’s announcement indicates that it has received responses from vendors in the above-mentioned stations and will now review its outsourcing options.
In every other instance before today, our only option was to assist affected members in the difficult process of moving away from their homes or accepting furlough. Last fall, during negotiations, United outsourced six line stations without discussion. Our attempts to change the Company’s decision were rejected, as vendor contracts had already been signed. We determined then that we would exhaust every option to outsourcing in the future and not leave a decision of such importance to United exclusively.
Our contracts now have language that prevents United from making the unilateral decision to outsource our work without first entering into negotiations with the IAM over each and every station considered. Negotiations designed to find alternatives to losing our work are now required before a final decision can be made. Today's announcement is a notification to the IAM, not a dictate. IAM members now have options they never had before, options that may keep IAM members working in these stations, even if the particular location is serviced exclusively by United Express. Notably, UAX flights comprise 90 percent of the flight schedule in the above-mentioned stations.
Immediately after receiving notification from United we informed the Company negotiations to preserve this work will commence as soon as possible. Every option will be considered, but no agreement to modify any provision of our contracts will be entered into without a two-thirds majority of voting IAM members ratifying any change in those locations.
IAM District 141 has been pressing United continually to insource the work gained during negotiations. It is now more important than ever for the company to insource this work and eliminate vendors in named stations. This will allow any involuntarily effected member the real opportunity to fill vacancies in other stations and minimize the displacement of other members. We have not limited our conversations to the contractually mandated insourcing; we continue to look at all opportunities to reduce reliance on vendors. Hence, the agreement to insource above-the-wing UAX work in Denver. We will continue to press United to insource work because we know when IAM United employees do the work the job gets done right.
The Denver insourcing will provide almost 150 positions for IAM members that were not available yesterday. This is a very good first step towards fulfilling the commitment of our contract and will offer many IAM members opportunities if they choose to remain employed by United Airlines.
Negotiations will begin as soon as possible and deal with each station separately. Discussions will be based on what the RFP has shown as a potential cost, and what, if any, adjustments can be made to current contract provisions to keep IAM members in their locations. Each station will be treated as unique and the discussions will include in-station representation before any possible tentative agreement can be reached.
Our contracts have several employment security provisions that will serve to give members the greatest chance to remain working, and working in their home stations whenever possible. No other labor agreement in the airline industry has these types of protections and all will be used to protect our members.
This past week District 141 and the Grand Lodge concluded discussions with the Trustees of the IAM National Pension Fund regarding the benefit level for s-United Airlines members. These members, and participants in the IAMNPF, will now, effective April 1, 2014, receive the benefit called for under Schedule B of the Plan. This change will cause an immediate increase in pension accrual for s-United members and provide extraordinary improvement and security for all United participants, regardless of their legacy carrier.
Since our entry into the IAMNPF in 2006 United members have been receiving 85% of the normal benefit that other participants have received for the same contribution. This 15% reduction was originally developed due to United's uncertain status in 2006 and the possibility that the airline could return to bankruptcy and penalize both our members and the IAMNPF. However, there was not a mechanism negotiated at that time by District 141 negotiators to increase the 85% rate at a time when United was stable. Regardless of the future success of airline, the 15% reduction remained with no end date.
Upon assuming office in 2008, correcting this inequity became a priority for the District 141Executive Board. Discussions with our Transportation Dept. GVP, first Robert Roach, Jr. and then Sito Pantoja, about our participation in the pension plan have continued over the past 6 years. Both Robert and Sito were supportive of our position and brought our concerns directly to the Trustees of the IAMNPF, half of whom are management representatives, repeatedly over this period.
During the most recent round of negotiations with United Airlines, District 141 sought to increase the value of our pensions by increasing wages and driving a higher contribution rate as a result. The ratified agreement with United did indeed increase the monthly benefit, due to the increased contribution rate, but still United members faced a 15% "United only" reduction. By maintaining the United table, our members would not see the full increase deserved.
Both during and after contract negotiations we worked with GVP Pantoja and the IAM designated Trustees to finally resolve this. Today we can report that this has happened and the United table has been removed and all future benefits will accrue according to those set by the Plan under Schedule B.
What does this mean to a s-United member?
United members can now visit the IAMNPF website and calculate their individual monthly benefit in retirement by looking at the published Schedule B and know they are receiving full credit for the contributions United Airlines makes on their behalf every month.
Most importantly, United members can see the benefit increase immediately from $51.06 to $68.08 per month in 2014. By the end of this current Agreement, the monthly benefit will increase to $74.10 per month, based on current Trustee established Schedule B levels.
The combination of negotiated improvements to the company paid contributions and the lifting of the United Penalty have increased the value of each IAM represented s-United member's pension by approximately 45% over the life of this Agreement. This combination of improvements will mean an immediate improvement of about 35%, effective April 1st.
What does this mean to a s-MPI member?
Mileage Plus members that have now been recognized as United employees under the terms of the current Agreement will have a pension plan that applies to them for the first time in their history. Accrued benefits will begin in 2014 and former MPI members will actually retire with monthly benefits at the end of their careers, instead of being considered terminated. Each member will be credited with the $68.08 per month benefit, without restriction or reduction.
What does this mean to a s-CO member?
The correction in future monthly benefits will also benefit legacy Continental members. Immediately, there will be no change to their current participation in CARP and that Plan will continue to accrue pension credits until the Company freezes CARP. If that happens in the future, s-CO employees will have the full advantage of the IAMNPF, including a benefit level consistent with their expectation from CARP.
What does this mean to a s-CMI member?
Members from Guam that have previously been covered by the Teamsters Western States Pension are moving into the IAMNPF plan. Their previous contribution rate into the IBT pension was $.47 per hour. That 47 cents generated a monthly benefit of about $20.00. Former CMI members' contribution rate is more than tripling due to the contract improvement and their benefit level will increase immediately to $68.08 per month because of the termination of the United rate; an increase over 300%.
The termination of the United rate is a great benefit to all current and future United members. It has been a long time coming but it has been fixed. Special thanks to GVP Pantoja and General Secretary Treasurer Roach for their continued work in bringing this issue of fairness to the Trustees and sticking with it until it was corrected.
Arbitrator Tom Gibbons began his work reviewing appeals of the members questioning their distribution of retroactive/signing bonus payments that were made on December 16, 2013 this past week. The provisions of our agreement allowed for a 60 day period of appeal that ended February 15th. Financial advisor, Tom Roth, is reviewing all claims of calculation discrepancies. There were over 300 appeals sent to District 141, each one is being reviewed and a final determination will be made either by Mr. Roth or Mr. Gibbons and individual members will receive written answers regarding their appeal. While there are many individual questions most fall into 3 basic areas – questioning the accuracy of the amount paid, eligibility for payment by employees that did not receive a distribution, and the accuracy of the signing bonus payment. Mr. Gibbons’ responsibility is to determine that each member was treated equally and the guidelines for payment were followed in every instance. Mr. Roth’s role is to recalculate payments to insure they are accurate, based on the criteria for payment. The process is not complete yet but the first review has found some members are entitled to a revised amount of payment, especially related to the signing bonus which was based on both seniority and work status. Eligibility questions come from employees that have left the IAM represented work group they worked in at some point but have since taken other non-represented positions with the company. Some employees have become management and others have joined other unions due to the job they now perform. In those cases the IAM no longer represents or bargains for them and therefore they were not considered as eligible for the payments IAM members voted for when ratifying the current agreement. Retroactive/signing bonus payments were part of the complete value of the contract, the same as wage rates and holiday pay, and intended to be shared by IAM members. It is expected that the appeal process will be finished within the next weeks and members entitled to an adjusted payment will receive their money in late March. Once there has been a final determination that all members have been properly paid, the remaining money from the retro/signing bonus pool will be distributed to all IAM members using the same criteria as the signing bonus – seniority and work status. It is expected that this second distribution will be made in mid- to late April.
IAM representatives met with United management this past week to discuss options that may or can be offered to our members in CLE that have been notified of the dramatic reduction in their station planned for June. We discussed ways to minimize the number of members that would be displaced by looking at two main areas – voluntary options such as early out programs, continuation of benefits (specifically travel); and how to create opportunities in other stations. Our discussions centered on the need to insource work to create vacancies in stations that could be filled by CLE members. There are stations that must begin insourcing work under the terms of our contract and we discussed how to shift work away from outside vendors in those stations to allow displaced CLE members and IAM members in other stations to begin transferring and filling the new vacancies. During these discussions we expanded our talk to include vendored work in stations that are not named in our contract in an effort to create more opportunities for our members. United would not commit to any increase in insourcing requirement at this time but did indicate that this is a subject that could be considered in future negotiations. Since our contract allows for additional bargaining during the term of this agreement without waiting for 2017, we told the company the time for future negotiations is now and we would be willing to formally discuss the issue of increased insourcing. Additional discussion between the company and District 141 regarding how this additional negotiation could be conducted will be held in the coming week.
The Special Enrollment for insurance benefits by United members is ongoing. The first phase of enrollment ended on February 21st and now is the established correction period for members that may need to make changes to their selections. These changes are necessary in some case due to the corrections the company is making in the published cost of several of the health insurance options, especially the Build Your Own plans. As members have identified problems during the rollout of the Special Enrollment, United’s Benefits dept. has tried to fix them quickly. Working with Aon Hewitt, the company has reposted the corrected premium schedules for the different plan options. We encourage all members to again review their selections and the new employee cost schedule to make sure they are choosing the right plan and cost for their family’s coverage needs. The current correction period has already been extended to March 12th. We are in regular communication with the Benefits dept. to make sure there is enough time for all members to have access to the most accurate up to date information before committing to an insurance plan for the remained of 2014.
The National Mediation Board has called for a meeting between the IAM and US Airways management on March 18-19 in Washington, D.C. While the hope is that this meeting will lead to a settlement offer for the outstanding contracts on US Airways, particularly the Fleet Service Employees agreement, the IAM is also preparing for the fact that this meeting could lead to a release from mediation and the beginning of a cooling off period. Negotiators for both the Fleet and Maintenance contracts have been directed to come to Washington on those same dates to continue the strike preparation plans that are currently underway. Coordinated information and action by both Districts 141 and 142 will be determined during this session. Information has been posted on both Districts’ websites regarding the status of negotiations and the legal requirements of the Railway Labor Act and will be updated as the situation and information changes. We ask all US Airways District 141 members to become familiar with the available information so they can follow the process without relying on rumor.
The ever expanding use of Express operations is an issue that District 141 has argued over and fought against for several years now. As we all know, it was the driving force behind the focus of job security in our recent negotiations with United and was just this past week addressed with US Airways as we agreed to an extension of line station protection against contracting out jobs in line stations. This past week again highlighted the increasing problems with mainline carriers relying so much on regional airlines to provide domestic service. The discussions about the protection of our CLE membership were required solely by the problem of RJ operators. The drastic cutting of the flight schedule in CLE is being caused by the failure of regional carriers to fly the routes due to a severe planned shortage of pilots. The airlines blame the recent Federal Air Regulations that require more training and rest periods for RJ flight crews and the lack of available pilots to fill their needs. A report from the Government Accounting Office this week stated the industry would be 4,000 to 10,000 pilots short over the next 10 years and is already causing regionals to pull service out of many stations in addition to CLE. The report noted there was not a shortage of qualified crews, there was an acute shortage of pilots willing to fly for regional carriers at the wages they pay. ALPA released a response report to the GAO siting the average starting pay for a regional pilot was $22,400.00 a year. That translates to about $10.75 per hour. That is almost a dollar per hour less than the starting rate for United CSR’s, RSM, and Storekeepers under our current contract. The report noted that mainline airlines have no trouble hiring new pilots but no one will work for the regionals because of the pay. The low cost model these airlines have been operating under is now causing the airlines to get smaller, pull out of schedule commitments they make with larger carriers, and ultimately cause furloughs of our members. We are now in a very curious place where the reduction of Express operations is as threatening as the expansion.
A second effect of the Express operation was also demonstrated this past week when United Airlines warned investors about the poor January and February they experienced due to the incredibly bad winter weather. United stated they had to cancel about 4 times as many flights this Jan/Feb as compared to Jan/Feb 2013. The company claimed they cancelled about 22,500 flights in the two month period. What is buried in that number is that 20,000 of the cancellations were Express trips. The reliance on regional jets that don’t fly if the sky isn’t blue is having an effect on United’s potential profitability.
Memorandum of Understanding - Re: Station Classification: Download
Today, February 25, 2014, District 141 and US Airways reached an understanding regarding the status of our Recognition and Scope language. Our current contract allows for an annual snap shop of each of our stations to determine the level of flight activity and assess whether or not that station could be outsourced. This snap shot is taken every April 5th.
In April 2013, during contract negotiations discussions with US Airways, we agreed to Memorandum of Understanding that kept fleet service staffing levels stable during the expected period of time it would take to reach a replacement Collective Bargaining Agreement. The MOU also allowed for the snap shot process to resume on April 5, 2014.
Since we have not been successful in reaching a full replacement agreement as of today’s date, the IAM and US Airways have agreed to extend the understanding reached last year until April 4, 2015. The Company has agreed it will not outsource ramp work covered by our contract at any station currently served by IAM represented Fleet Service Employees during this period.
It is our hope and expectation that a full agreement that will address this and all outstanding issues will be promptly negotiated and reached before the expiration of this continued MOU. If not, members in all current stations will remain under the terms of the MOU.
Update: 25 February 2014 - NMB Meeting Scheduled: Download
The National Mediation Board (NMB) has scheduled meetings between the principal representatives in the US Airways – IAM negotiations. The meetings are set for March 18 and 19, 2014 at the offices of the NMB in Washington, DC.
While preparations continue for a proffer of arbitration, rejection of that proffer and the establishment of a 30-day cooling off period, we plan to attend the meetings. The IAM will enter these meetings skeptical that US Airways management has changed its position that US Airways employees must accept a second-class contract.
The full negotiating committees from IAM Districts 141 and 142 will move their strike preparedness meetings to Washington, DC during that time in order to be responsive to the outcome of the meetings, whatever that outcome may be.
All members must continue their full-throated support of their negotiating committees and their unwavering support of the fight to achieve fair contracts before entering any merger related activity between US Airways and American Airlines.
Your Union, your leaders and your negotiating committees will not accept second class status for our IAM members. And, as you have made clear, neither will you!
As soon as we reached a committed resolution with United Airlines regarding the outstanding wages owed members since November 1, 2013, we resumed discussions about other important subjects affecting our members.
Contract negotiations on behalf of our Security Officers membership are now scheduled to begin on March 10th in SFO. Negotiations concerning the Food Service Employees contract will begin on March 12th in ORD. Maintenance Instructors negotiations will resume this coming week in DEN.
Meetings with United are scheduled for this coming week to discuss potential options for effected members in CLE resulting from the company’s recent declaration of downsizing the station operation due to refusal by Express carriers to continue flying United’s schedule through CLE. We are also meeting to finalize the protocol to be used by the Transition Resolution Boards. These Boards, established separately for each contract, will allow for the review and resolution of specific contract interpretation and implementation disagreements between the IAM and United. These Boards are not intended to replace the Grievance Procedure or local settlement of issues when contract violations are raised by members, Stewards, or Committees. The intent of the Boards is to reach common understanding of the purpose and intent of contract articles to more efficiently and quickly answer and resolve filed grievances.
United showed again this week that no employee, job, or station is secure without contract language that protects them. The company announcement of their intent to contract out the remaining work performed by United employees in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto, Canada is the latest example. Out of the 240 employees that are being replaced by other Canadians willing to do the work cheaper, about half are represented by IAM District 140. Our members currently work in Calgary and Vancouver both Above the Wing and Below the Wing. Since both stations will be contracted out at the same time there is no place for displaced employees to go to continue working for United Airlines. The current contract covering these members does not prevent or limit United’s ability to contract out the work nor does existing Canadian law. The company has stated that there will be no change to the schedule in these stations but the work will be done by non-United workers.
If United can wipeout their employees in an entire country with one statement, can it happen in the United States as well? Our contract addresses the issue of job security in several ways that the Canadian agreement does not. Our language that protects specific stations from closing is very different from the Canadian contract. Our language that prevents the loss of jobs due to contracting out in specific stations does not exist in other contracts. The language that protects the employment of members with specific seniority dates – either 4/1/06 or 6/3/99 – is unique to our contracts and certainly would have prevented the wholesale loss of jobs our Canadian membership is suffering if it was part of their agreement with United.
This announcement by United points out the great difficulty we faced in our recent negotiations. The IAM wanted to extend job protections to all members and the company wanted the ability to contract out work whenever and wherever it chose. The mutual agreement reached through negotiations limits, but does not eliminate, the company’s ability to contract out jobs and gives long-term employment protection to approximately 90% of our members. Our contract also reverses the trend of contracting out and instead requires the contracting in of work in specific stations. These protections may seem to take too long to implement but they are real and will benefit members for years to come.
The company has shown they will continue to aggressively look for opportunities to replace their own employees with someone else’s. Our contracts are the only thing keeping Cleveland from becoming the next Calgary.
There has been no movement by the National Mediation Board in getting US Airways back to the bargaining table with District 141 or District 142. Our Negotiating Team and District Officers are continuing the preparations for the potential release from mediation and the beginning of a cooling off period, prior to seeking self help. US Airways members are encouraged to visit the US Airways page of the District 141 website for information regarding the Railway Labor Act negotiation process and a continuing and expanding question and answer section that will provide accurate and up to date information based on member submitted questions. Additional information regarding members’ rights and areas of support and assistance in the event of a work stoppage is being put together and will be made available through the website. District 141 is working closely with the Transportation Dept. of our International and District 142 to coordinate all information and activities in support of all IAM members of US Airways. Our Alliance partners, the TWU, is also being kept advised as to the status of our negotiations and the impact it may have on the future combined talks. Their support has been immediate and welcomed, as expected by a trade union belonging to the AFL-CIO.
United Airlines "look-back" pay commitment letter: Download
Today District 141 reached an understanding with United Airlines regarding the outstanding debt owed United members for work performed since November 1, 2013. Our goal has been over the course of the past months to insure that our members receive the compensation they are entitled to, promptly and correctly. We have exhausted all normal means of addressing the issue – discussion, grievances, complaining, etc. – and have not been able to get United to commit to a specific date of when they will have all of their computer and payroll problems fixed in order to pay our members accurately. Finally, through the combined efforts of the District and the Transportation Dept. of our International, after exploring the possibility of seeking relief in federal court, we have gotten a commitment from United.
Pay owed for hours worked since November 1, 2013, including premiums, will be paid as soon as possible but no later than April 3, 2014. In addition to the earned compensation, United has agreed to pay a penalty interest payment on all outstanding money. Also, if United fails to make this payment by April 3, 2014 an additional penalty of double the interest will be assessed and owed.
We have continually pushed United to live up to their commitment of our contracts, especially as it applies to wages. As soon as our contracts were ratified we focused on the payment of retroactive pay from January 1, 2010 and the additional signing bonus. We then focused on the need to have the updated hourly rates implemented, believing that the delayed payments from November 1, 2013 would be part of that implementation. When it was not, we then addressed both the need to properly pay employees and recognize the fairness of paying an additional penalty.
Today’s agreement insures that the money you worked for will be paid to you and that there is no benefit to anyone, including United Airlines, in delaying this any longer than absolutely necessary.
We now can address the other pressing issues that need to be resolved as we move forward in completely implementing and enforcing our Agreements.
IAM Transportation Newswire, 20 February, 2014: Download
Railway Labor Act (RLA): Where are we at, 19 February 2014: Download
The Special Benefit Enrollment for most IAM members began this week. Some members, from classifications including Security Officers, Food Service, and Instructor groups, are not included in this insurance selection procedure since they have not agreed to a new contract and are still covered under their existing agreements until negotiations can be held. This is also true of the recent distribution of Profit Sharing - their agreements have not changed regarding the percentage of declared profit that is to be shared among the groups. Consequently, although they have not yet seen improvements to their contracts and especially their wages, they will receive a different calculated amount of Profit Sharing.
Much like the rollout of Obamacare, United experienced difficulties as the Special Enrollment started. Some published rates for specific healthcare options were inaccurate and needed to be revised, after many members read the original costs. Any member that avoided these options due to believing the cost was too high should again review the options for possible revision. Many members became confused as they first saw the company's enrollment information believing that some plans and their costs were only available for certain employee groups. This was most obvious when looking at current Kaiser plans in California and Colorado. It is important to know that all plans are available for all IAM members and that the information was given in order to show that previously existing plans were still available for members that may still want to retain them, although the employee costs of those plans may have changed.
Members have questioned if the enrollment period will be extended due to the glitches of the first days. The dates for enrollment will not change but members should be aware that there is a "correction" period that will be from February 24 - March 7th so there are opportunities for members to fully review their options and make changes to their selections, if they feel the need to.
Members have been questioning District 141 regarding the information they receive from low-level management representatives about the implementation of our contract. Briefing items in ready rooms are not the same as the information that has been given by IAM representatives. Most disturbing is the claim being made by management that specific IAM representatives have "agreed" to the absurd explanations United is giving employees about subjects like overtime and irregular lunches. We addressed this issue in the last bulletin and I requested that employees ask for documentation to support the company's claim of Union approval. I have not received any example of that type of document. I did receive a copy of a message sent by a management representative named Ron Kobylski that gave his opinion that there would no longer be paid or late lunches. He also wrote that employees may go home a 1/2 hour earlier than shift end if they did not receive a lunch at all but only at United's discretion. He seemed to be very adamant about that point. His opinion was then briefed to employees. This message was the first time I have ever heard the name Ron Kobylski. He was not part of any negotiations with the IAM over any subject and was not present at any discussion of the modification to irregular lunch compensation. It is apparent that he has not read the contract as it pertains to lunch periods because there is no way a person could interpret the language the way he claims. The compensation for not receiving a scheduled lunch is not "grey" or open to interpretation. The need for a scheduled lunch is defined and the compensation clearly is outlined as the employee's option - not the company's. There is no mention within the contract of company discretion. The IAM did agree to modify some provisions of the scheduled lunch language. Specifically the changes expanded the time allowed to establish a scheduled lunch increased from one and a half hours to two hours - between the fourth and sixth hours of a full time shift. Also, no lunch payment was reduced from an hour of premium pay to a half hour of premium pay. We acknowledge those changes as part of the negotiation process. We do not agree with post-ratification interpretations by others. As always, if a member does not receive what they believe is correct payment for their hours they should seek out a Shop Steward and file a grievance.
The lunch issue is an example of what we are seeing on several contract issues. Briefings by management that are in direct conflict with language should be verified by a Steward or other IAM representative. Grievances should immediately be filed when a member is denied a benefit or right he/she believes the contract gives them. Briefing items regarding the operation of United Airlines should be followed. Briefing items concerning the implementation of our contract should not be accepted as the final word. If necessary, arbitration decisions will become the final word.
The deadline for filing appeals of the IAM distributed retroactive pay, that was received on December 16, 2013, was February 15, 2014. This week all appeals will be reviewed, researched, and resolved. In some cases, as the appeal was presented and obvious errors were made, corrections have already been made and money distributed. Appeals that need interpretation determination will be presented to an outside arbitrator for final decision. Once that work is complete, a review of remaining money left in the retro pool will be made and a distribution of all available money will be made to all members using the same criteria as the signing bonus distribution.
Another week has passed and the IAM has received no indication that United intends to pay their employees the money they owe them for work performed since November 1, 2013. Discussions have been held over other issues but not a word about the over 3 month delay in paying employees. The assumption remains that some unknown group within United is working night and day in order to correct this and the expectation is that they are being paid correctly and on time for the work they are doing.
Discussions and grievances have not resolved this problem up to this point. Representatives of District 141 and the Transportation Dept. of our International met this past week to talk about this issue and other concerns. The purpose of the meeting was to make sure we, as a Union, were doing everything we could to get our members the full benefit of their contract. We were challenged by General Vice President Pantoja to explore all options, both inside and outside our contract, to find a solution to the problem brought on by United. Determinations of possible action, in addition to those already taken, will be made within the next week.
In addition to the discussion about United, last week's meeting focused on the deteriorating state of negotiations at former US Airways. Direct negotiations between the IAM and New American Airlines have not occurred since before the merger was finalized. The National Mediation Board has not scheduled a negotiation session in the foreseeable future either.
Conversations with the NMB, without the company present, have not proven to be helpful to resolving the outstanding issues both District 141 and District 142 negotiating teams have. The only avenue left, in our opinion, is to follow the Railway Labor Act and be released from our current status of mediation and be offered binding arbitration to settle the remaining issues, most of which are compensation based. This offer would not resolve negotiations but would allow the rest of the Railway Labor Act to be enacted - up to and including a possible strike by members or a lockout by US Airways. Members of the US Airways Negotiating Team, along with District 141 Officers, have begun the communication process to inform and educate US Airways members about the RLA, the legal and IAM Constitutional requirements of a potential work stoppage, and the need to prepare themselves, their families, and creditors about the possibility of temporary loss of work. The Railway Labor Act is designed to limit employees' ability to strike and it is not a speedy process. Members should begin now to save money where they can, delay unnecessary new debt, and become as familiar with the Railway Labor Act as possible so they know what to expect in the coming months.
Negotiating teams for both the Fleet Service classification and the Mechanic and Related classifications are eager and prepared to return to the bargaining table as soon as directed by the NMB. We are equally prepared to lawfully follow the RLA to get the contracts our members have directed us to get. We are reaching out to our members for their continued support and reaching out to our new Alliance partners, the TWU, and other labor groups within the airline for their understanding and support for IAM members.
12 February, 2014: download
Today the negotiating committee was summoned to Washington DC to meet with
General Vice President Sito Pantoja and Tim Klima of the Grand Lodge to discuss their
meeting with Linda Pachula Chairperson of the National Mediation Board. During their
meeting she reiterated that the company would rather start transition talks. This is not only disappointing to the committee but a total slap in the face to the membership.
For the last 2.5 years the negotiations team has been working diligently on bringing
back an agreement to the members. We are disgusted by management who insists on
dividing the workforce by paying US Airways Fleet Service Less than our counterparts at
the new American Airlines.
There simply would not be a level playing field even if we were to start transition talk
today. The company’s intent is to keep us all divided and unequal from our AA Brothers
and Sisters. From this point on we will be waiting to be notified by the National Mediation
Board as to when the 30 day cooling off period should begin.
We ask all members at this time to unite, stay informed and support your negotiating
committee. Once the negotiations team is advise of the next step of the Railway Labor
Act process it will be announced . Solidarity amongst the rank and file is paramount to
achieve bargaining power at the table.
IAM US Airways Negotiation Team
United Airlines is conducting a "Special Benefit Enrollment". There is information on Skynet, and a few documents the company have put together. Please take the time to read them, as changes are going to happen, even if you do nothing.
The company is only putting on 14 Enrollment Fairs, as they don't have the manpower among their 11,475 admin and management group to go to all the stations. If your local management has not already made arrangements to bring information to your station, then please ask their assistance in attending one of these meetings.
Links to Skynet and some of the documents that the Company has created are listed below:
- UA Benefits Contact list
- IAM Enrollment Fairs schedule
- Benefits Glossary
- IAM Special Benefits Magazine
Benefits page: look for the "Read More" link to get to most information:
Special Enrollment Page:
Lists all the documents the company produced.
Links to "Your Benefits Resource" where the changes are made.
US Airways Updates: Download
Us Airways Negotiations
After months of face to face negotiations with US Airways and after several meetings called by the Chairperson of the National Mediation Board, discussions have ended with no agreements in sight. Both IAM District 141 and 142 negotiating committees made very serious efforts to pare away issues that could be negotiated in the future while holding fast to the issues our respective membership(s) need and demand in order to reach agreements.
All of those efforts ended with US Airways management advising both the IAM and the National Mediation Board that they are not willing to come to fair agreements. US Airways demands the US Airways employees enter a merger with American Airlines with second class contracts.
That is simply unacceptable.
The IAM has restated to the National Mediation Board that it is time to move the process to the next step, which is to make a proffer of arbitration to both parties. The Machinists Union will reject that proffer, triggering a 30 day cooling off period, at the end of which IAM members can legally strike the airline.
To the membership everywhere: Begin to prepare yourselves for a fight that could lead to a strike on US Airways, if necessary.
US Airways has tried since the inception of the US Airways – American Airlines merger process to divide the employees of both carriers by making offers and negotiating contracts with American’s employees through their unions, while ignoring their own IAM represented employees.
We will not enter our partnership with the American TWU represented employees as a group divided. We will fight whatever battle we face to enter our partnership and the merger between our airlines on equal footing.
Your General Chairs will be visiting your work locations in the coming days and weeks to answer your questions and help you prepare for the action necessary to achieve the contract you deserve. Stay strong and stay united.
IAM members in CLE, along with the rest of America, found out Saturday afternoon of United's plans to radically change the operation of the station. District 141 found out at the same time; no advanced discussion, no opportunity to talk about alternatives. We have since had discussion with United management regarding this announcement. We will meet with management this coming week to explore all possibilities to address the needs and futures of our CLE membership. The company has made it clear that their decision to drastically shrink CLE's operation is not going to change. The discussions need to focus on what options our contracts provide to find long term employment for our members whether in CLE or other stations across the system. All options will be fully explored, based on existing language that address the security and seniority rights of members.
The brief discussion held with United this weekend raised several points. The company's decision was based on criteria other than the performance and work ethic of IAM members in CLE. Our members come to work, work hard, and provide excellent service to United's customers. The problems of CLE are not caused or solved by the employees. The company's announcement exposes the problem of reliance on Express operations. United's decision to stop domestic expansion and instead rely on other airlines to provide so much of their passengers has been developing for years. The expansion of the Express operation has put our membership at risk in line stations all through the system as mainline operations were reduced or eliminated. What we are seeing in CLE today is the other side of a risky business model that places so much emphasis on the operation of other airlines. As fuel cost continue to stay at an absurdly high level, the inefficiencies of small regional jets are exposed and the high cost of operating these aircraft becomes a drain on the overall success of the airline. Recently implemented changes in Federal Air Regulations regarding training and duty periods for regional jet flight crews are also proving to expose the hidden costs of "low cost" airlines.
The recent negotiations between District 141 and United focused on the expansion of Express operations and the impact the contracting out of so much of United's operation to these airlines was having on our membership. Changes made in our contracts provide some protection against this contracting out. The situation in CLE is not about contracting out - it is about ceasing operations by other airlines. The current level of mainline operations in CLE will remain - it is the loss of Express operations that is causing this planned loss of jobs.
United has told us that the effect of this decision will be felt by our members in June. We will work as quickly as we can to see what options will be available to impacted members and give them as much time as possible to evaluate their options and make decisions that are best for themselves and their families.
United's announcement of profitability in 2013 has raised many questions from members regarding the Profit Sharing provisions of our Agreements. Most confusing is the references to percentage levels and what they truly mean. Naturally, members question how our contract can refer to a 5% Profit Sharing figure while the company announces a 1.1% payment. It is essential to understand the differences between these references. During the recent negotiations the determination was made to increase the guaranteed wages of employees by reducing the amount of money due the IAM through Profit Sharing and put that money into the hourly rate of pay for all members.
Our contract calls for the company to place 5% of their pre-tax profits into a pool for IAM members. This percentage changes every year, based on the declared profit of United, and is not tied to the earnings of employees. The pool of money created by the pre-tax profit is then distributed among all IAM members. This distribution is based on each person's earnings compared to the total earnings of all IAM members for the year. This calculation establishes a fixed percentage for all IAM members so that those members that earned more receive a greater share of the profit than those members that did not work as much or earn as much. All money placed in the Profit Sharing pool is distributed among members; no Profit Sharing money is given to the IAM.
The rules governing the Profit Sharing program have been in place for over 10 years without change. The only adjustments that have been made over that time is the percentage amount committed to IAM members. Our financial advisor is currently reviewing this year's distribution, based on information recently provided by United to insure that the provisions of our contract are followed completely.
Representatives of District 141 met with upper management this past week to press for resolution of the outstanding issue of pay rates and the correct payment of earnings since November 1, 2013. The lack of information and communication to our members regarding this extraordinary delay along with the lack of a definitive time frame for the payment of these earnings were the main focus of the meeting. The company stated they had made the issue of pay their priority and were using all available resources to complete the conversion of payroll and manpower computer system. At the end of the week a telephone conference call with representatives of the Labor Relations, Human Resources, Information Systems, and Payroll Depts. was held to give the IAM an update as to the status of process and the plan to correct payroll issues once and for all. As of that call, the expectation of United is that all IAM represented employees will receive their correct hourly rate of pay as of the scheduled pay check of January 2014, for that pay period. This completion by the end of the month will account for the 5 separate payrolls still in use by United for different IAM groups. Work is being done through this weekend and into the early part of next week to finalize the recalculation of pay owed since the beginning of our new contract. Employees can expect by the early days of next week to be able to view their individual pay histories using the company's intranet. Members need to be aware that the computer system works based on full pay periods; meaning that s-UA employees will see the corrected hourly rates as of November 3, 2013 - the first day of the first full pay after ratification. Money owed for any missing days (November 1 & 2) of earnings and any other unique individual payment will be calculated manually after the automation system has gotten the bulk of earnings input.
Discussion was held regarding the impact this delay has had on our members and the need to do everything possible to maximize the payments each person receives. The company has targeted that the "catch up" or retroactive money owed would be paid during a normal pay cycle and not be issued as a supplemental check in order to reduce the concern of tax withholding at a different rate. Further discussions will be held to address the value of the delayed payment and what can be done to fully compensate all members.
Additional conferences will be held early next week with United to make sure this process continues without further delay and our members receive the money they have already worked for as quickly and as accurately as humanly possible.
District 141 and United agreed this week on the seniority use and protection afforded s-UA CSR's in line stations that recently completed the above the wing/below the wing selection process. CSR's that were holding the position of Service Director prior to the separation and will now work below the wing will be considered Leads with their existing seniority, within their work status. The separation was based on basic classification seniority and work status - full time or part time. Full time SD's moving btw will be considered full time Leads. Part time SD's making the move will retain the SD position if a part time Lead position exists in their station. Former part time CSR's that previously filled full time SD positions, before the separation, will not become full time Leads btw since the separation is based on their part time basic classification status.
District 141 has begun the process to collect information from United regarding their recent announcement of annual earnings and profit. Our financial advisor, Tom Roth, will examine all financial information to verify the proper distribution of profit sharing money to the IAM. Once the calculations are verified and the correct amount of money is established for the IAM's pool, individual distribution will be based on relative earnings of each member. Simply put, those members with higher annual earnings will receive a larger dollar amount than those members that earned less throughout 2013. We expect Mr. Roth's work will be completed quickly and further information will be posted promptly.
Plans for providing information and assistance for members regarding the upcoming special enrollment for Health Insurance benefits were discussed this week with United Airlines. In station Benefit Fairs are being scheduled for hub stations across the system in addition to the information available through mailings and company communications. IAM representatives will be present at these fairs to work with United's Benefits representatives to provide guidance and information as members make their new election for insurance coverage. The special enrollment period will be February 10 - 21. The effective date of any change to individual/family coverage will be April 1, 2014. The effective date has been moved to April by mutual agreement to allow the company and insurers to provide seamless coverage for our members. This new implementation date means that the s-UA members that must make new selections for coverage, which in some cases may mean an increase in cost, will continue their current insurance coverage through the month of March. More information regarding the Health Fair schedules will be available and posted this coming week.
IAM representatives met yesterday with National Mediation Board member Linda Puchala and representatives of US Airways to review the current and future status of contract negotiations for both Fleet Service members and Maintenance members.
Full day discussions were held both separately with Ms. Puchala, and with the company with Ms. Puchala present in an effort to set the stage for progressive negotiations to resume to reach a settlement on behalf of US Airways members. The IAM outlined the need to reach a stand-alone agreement prior to entering combined negotiations with our Alliance partner, the TWU, to reach a full settlement for the new American Airlines employees.
Company representatives did not indicate that a response proposal to the IAM's last position would be presented to our Negotiating Team.
The IAM again reminded the NMB that both our Fleet Service negotiators and the Maintenance negotiating team have previously petitioned for a release from federal mediation and be allowed the full use of the Railway Labor Act to bring these talks to a conclusion. We reiterated our position that we will use all legal avenues available to us to bring our members the contracts they are entitled to.
At the end of day, with no progress being made, Ms. Puchala adjourned the meeting without indicating when future meetings under the auspices of the NMB would be scheduled.
We again told the NMB and the company that we are ready to meet at any time or place that will move these talks forward. We now wait to hear from the National Mediation Board.
United Airlines Updates: Line Station Bidding
May health, happiness and unity be among your many reasons to give thanks.
Happy Thanksgiving from District Lodge 141.
US Airways Update 27 November 2013: US Airways and American Press Release
United Airlines Update 26 November 2013: Seniority Integration Process: Corrections
Philippine Airlines Update 21 November 2013:
Philippine Airlines and DL141 signed a collective bargining agreement with details to follow.
US Airways Update: View the video below from Rich Delaney.
Produced by the Communications Department of IAMAW District Lodge 141.
United Airlines Update: View the video below from Rich Delaney.
Now that the contracts have been voted in, the merger of sUA and sCO employees can begin. Information Discussed:
Seniority - Verify your seniority out of 30,000+ members on the list and timelimit for protest
RetroPay - When to expect your bonus/retro payment
Vacation Bid - See which provisions of the current contract are applicable.
Committees working with the Company to work through other merger issues
Produced by the Communications Department of IAMAW District Lodge 141.
Rich Delaney, 12 November , 2013: Download US Airways Update
Rich Delaney, 12 November 2013: Download United Airlines Update
IAM - HAL – Negotiation Bulletin
IAM District Lodge 141 and 142 Joint Negotiation Preparation
Sunday through Thursday this week the Negotiation Preparation started with Hawaiian Airlines Negotiating Teams at District Lodge 141 and 142.
We would like to thank President Brian Simonson and the members of Local Lodge
1979 – HNL for hosting the joint Training Class.
We would like to give special thanks to the Director of the IAM, William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center, Chris Wagoner. Chris prepared and presented the Negotiation Preparation Class, IAM Deputy General Counsel, Carla Siegel for Tele Conferencing her presentation on the Railroad Labor Act and Collective Bargaining, IAM Strategic Resources, Peter Greenberg for Tele Conferencing Bargaining Survey and Bargaining Strategies, IAMAW Airline Coordinator Ira Levy for his over view of the entire negotiating process.
The training session opened with Chris Wagoner and Ira Levy giving opening Statements. The training reviewed team dynamics, power analysis, legal, health care, pension, communication, committee planning, contract costing, language drafting, just to name a few, there was also break out sessions to focus on both District 141 and 142 issues.
The week of December 16, 2013 the National Mediation Board will be presenting Interest Based Bargaining program designed by the Mediation Board to the IAM and HAL Negotiating Teams. This process was used at United Airlines, and contracts were just ratified for 31,000 IAM members. Negotiations will open for District 141 immediately after the training.
I.A.M.A.W. District Lodge 141
IAM – HAL Negotiating Team
View the video below from Rich Delaney. The next steps in Seniority Integration.
Produced by the Communications Department of IAMAW District Lodge 141.
View the video below from Rich Delaney. The next steps after ratification.
Produced by the Communications Department of IAMAW District Lodge 141.
Mahalo for your thoughts: the Hawaiian Airlines Survey
Members of District 141 employed by Hawaiian Airlines are requested to participate in the new Membership/Contract Proposal survey now available on the District 141 website.
We encourage you to take a few minutes and share your opinions regarding the important issues in our contract, as we begin the process to shape our proposals for the future negotiations. The survey will run from 12 October - 02 November, 2013.
We thank you for your participation and look forward to receiving your opinions and reading your comments regarding your contract.
Time Sensitive Information: Early Out
With this announcement, www.contract.iam141.org will be the direct source of information for United Airlines PCE, Fleet and Stores contracts.
Video below of this weeks update
Produced by the Communications Department of IAMAW District Lodge 141.