May 10, 2019
To the Local 591 Membership:
The past month American’s corporate team has given this Membership a very clear indication that they either believe that we are all very naïve, or they want to provoke us into a fight with them.
American started the month of April with Robert Isom and fellow executives giving this Membership a whopping three hours of their time in Washington D.C. to negotiate to closure on our JCBA. They followed that up with the complete waste of time going to Fort Lauderdale for a NO-GOTIATION session that was doomed before it started. It was doomed because the company plan was to directly appeal to the Membership by way of their ‘wage-calculator’ unless the Association Negotiating Committee caved in to their demands. By Friday of that same week of negotiations, and at the First Quarter 2019 State of the Airline Town Hall, American executives, working off the script written for them, were promising all of us a pie-in-the-sky style contract. They claimed not only would we keep the same number of jobs; we might even grow. No such talk has ever entered the actual negotiations. Then, last Friday, the ultimate slap in the face, what they termed as “their actual full-text proposal,” was posted to JetNet. I am personally very glad this has been posted to JetNet, so all of you can now see what this company really thinks of us with that insult.
Your Executive Board and I believe in this Membership, and we also believe that this company is greatly underestimating the resolve, professionalism and intellect of our Members by continuing this insulting lowball approach. It is clear by the toxic corporate culture that they’ve created, and the “full text” proposal they posted, that they want to rid themselves of us, their professional workers, and replace us with vendors, and where possible, vendors in foreign countries.
So, I say if they want a fight, let’s give them a fight. Maybe it is time for the NMB to put us on a 30-day cooling off period, so we can plan on shutting this airline down during the peak summer travel months. Now, understand, I really don’t expect the NMB to do that, but for executives like Doug Parker, Robert Isom and Stephen Johnson to insult the intelligence and professionalism of this Membership by saying on JetNet videos the exact opposite of what they’ve been putting in writing at the negotiation table, maybe it is time we take a strike vote and start preparing for one. Remember, they cannot run this airline without us, but we can certainly run this airline without them.
We make this airline run, not them!
American’s JetNet “Full Text” Proposal
Finally, and after much prodding, American has posted what they call their “full text proposal;” however, the document they posted is in fact a working document and not their actual proposal. That said, and for this letter, I will refer to it as the company “full text” proposal, since that is what they named it. I expect that our Membership, when they read it, will see that their own written words contradict their spoken words. I do wonder if Doug Parker will actually read their proposal, especially on Scope, and if so, will there be an apology forthcoming for his continual, and carefully worded, town hall statements regarding headcount.
It is simple, either you want to keep the number of people on the seniority list at the end of the contract the same as it is today, as Parker and Isom often suggested, or you don’t. If Parker and Isom do, then put it in writing! But their actions should tell you that they don’t want a headcount minimum or a contract; they want what we’ve all suffered under for many years, and that is a loosely written bankruptcy agreement that allows them to interpret and define as they so choose.
Parker and Isom are hell-bent on trying to force down the throats of this Membership a concessionary contract that’s not even complete. As a Member of the M&R Negotiating Committee, I’ll walk you through some of the more glaringly obvious issues that I see in both the M&R and MLS “Full Text” company proposal by going page by page. Please realize that I am only taking a small sample of the issues in order to keep this letter as short as possible. It is also important to note that I have not yet been able to confirm that those articles marked as tentative agreement are in fact the actual current language of the tentative agreements. I am hearing concerns of language from those marked as tentative agreements by the company in this proposal are not the current language tentative agreements. Tentative agreements are just that, tentative. So, along the way some areas have been re-looked at and newer versions of some tentative agreement do exist. I am told that one such area is with the overtime tentative agreement, and although it is a simple administrative error; it is still an error on something marked “full-text proposal.”
Additionally, it is widely expected that the TWU and IAM will be coming out collectively, as the Association, with a full response that details the differences between the Union proposal and American’s proposal. I will apologize in advance for the length of this letter, but I believe it is extremely important to walk you through American’s full text proposal, and compare that to the what the Association’s position is, along with a comparator to what is the best in the industry. Your Executive Board and I believe that since the company has been preaching how they intend to give us the industry’s best contract, then the company should call for a vote of the two proposals. Let the Membership, their employees, decide which proposal is truly industry leading, the company or the Union proposal. If American strongly believes that they are peddling the best of the best, then let’s put American’s full text proposal that is posted on JetNet, and the Union’s proposal out for a vote as an “A” or “B” choice and the Membership can choose which one they prefer between the two proposals. After all, Doug Parker has stated often how he wants us to have the best. What better way to satisfy his expectation then to let all of us decide what is the best?
From American’s Full Text Proposal:
- Article 5 - Definitions, Page 5 of both the M&R and MLS Full Text Proposals:
- Definitions are completely missing. Definitions is the critical article in knowing what the intent of words used throughout the contract actually are supposed to mean. Since the hostile “on the workers” takeover of the old American by US Airways/America West/Northwest management, we now live in the world known as the “book of restrictions” when it comes to our contract. The new catchphrase we often hear from the new management is: “show me where it says [this/that] in the contract.” Management’s goal is to eliminate as much language as possible, or to make it as ambiguous as possible, because if it’s not clear and concise they will challenge it under managements rights. Leaving Definitions blank would be a good first step to fulfilling such goal. The Union’s demand has a full set of definitions.
- For comparison sake: our current TWU/AA contract has two full pages of definitions.
- Article 6 – Scope, Pages 6-8 of the MLS Full Text Proposal, and Pages 6-16 of the MLS Full Text Proposal:
- For starters, just the fact that the full text proposals differ by 8 pagesshould greatly concern anyone in the MLS contract. Looking a bit deeper at MLS:
- Article 6(c-f)on Page 6 states:
- Article 6(c) merely states that it is “intended”that our MLS work will be performed by MLS and allows for the company to assign the work to others.
- The questions that those in MLS should be asking themselves: What does that mean for off-site locations, or the fact that Article I of the M&R Full Text Proposal states that there will be at least 26 Line Maintenance Stations staffed, yet Article 6(d) of the MLS “full text proposal” only speaks to at least 23 staffed stations.
- Article 6(f) also says “It’s the Company’s intentionto staff…” whereas the M&R Full Text Proposal utilizes the word “will” and not “intention.” “Will” means it must happen. “Intention” means absolutely NOTHING.
- The Association position includes staffing at all stations where AMT’s are staffed.
- Article 6 (w) Page 8:
- PARALLEL OPERATIONS (TBD – language not fully reviewed)
- Yet this document is defined as a “full text” proposal.
- Article 6 (Missing from the Company Full Text Proposal):
- There is no mention of a headcount minimum for MLS/Stores. This could be done in short order if they put in writing what they state at town halls. Why won’t they do that is the question you need to be asking your managers. If Doug Parker means what he says, then write what you have said, Doug.
- For Comparison sake: United Airlines staff MLS at nearly all of the 37-Line Maintenance stations they have. With regard to a headcount comparison for MLS based on per an aircraft and with American’s fleet being nearly 200 aircraft larger, the Line MLS headcount would be nearly the same using the United as a comparator.
- Moving onto the M&R Company Full Text Proposal, and looking at Line Maintenance first:
- Article 6(I) on Page 9:
- First off, Line Maintenance Scope is listed under article 6(I), yet the language within 6(I) references article 6(J) and in 6(I)-1, 6(I)-2, and 6(J). It is an obvious typo, but a sloppy mistake that you do not make when you’re defining this document as the “full text” proposal. Incidentally, another Article 6(I) is also listed on page 8 near the bottom.
- Below is the company proposal as it pertains to aircraft movements and the hundreds of good days and afternoons shift jobs:
- What the company proposes with the towing of “out of service” aircraft would result in the loss of hundreds of premium day and afternoon positions being eliminated. Plain and simple, Local 591 has the most to lose and we all must fight for keeping these jobs.
- Article 6(L) on page 10:
- The loophole of ‘time sensitive open items while at a non-company location’ needs to be closed. Any work other than mod work needs to be done by Line AMTs at the station, or by a field trip.
- Article 6(P) 3-4 on Page 10 - 11:
- Article 6 (P): The current, and verified by the company, is that we are currently at 7% in man-hours. This increase from 7% to 12% would allow the company over 550,000 additional man-hours to outsource our Line Maintenance work over the tremendous amount already outsourced today. That is the equivalent to 265 additional full-time Line Maintenance jobs offshored to foreign countries. The Association’s position keeps the Line Maintenance outsourcing at 7%, and we must all fight to keep it that way.
- The ability for a vendor to perform a scheduled check other than ETOPS at foreign locations will result in increased offshoring of our work, which results in less AMTs in the U.S. Especially considering that the company controls what is done on those checks. We have all witnessed the continual changing and diminishing work within the checks since the merger. The Association position does not allow for checks to be accomplished by foreign vendors, and we must all fight to keep it that way.
- Article 6 (Items/Issues that are lacking in Company Full-Text Proposal):
- There is absolutely no mention of Avionics in scope. There is only a mention of Line Avionics in qualifications on Page 37, with compensation for FCC License pay on Page 102, and on Page 189 in the Company Supposal with regard to retaining LOM 9. It would appear that the company wants the exclusive right to decide when and where they will, or will not, have Line Avionics Shops. The Association position calls for Line Avionics at numerous stations, and we must all fight to keep it that way.
- Line Maintenance Headcount Minimum:
- There is no mention of a headcount minimum for Line Maintenance. This could be done in short order if they put in writing what they state at town halls. Why won’t they do that is the question you need to be asking your managers. If Doug Parker means what he says, then write what you have said Doug.
- For comparison sake: United Airlines currently has 7.1-Line Maintenance AMTs per an aircraft in their mainline fleet, and 37 stations. Utilizing the same 7.1-Line Maintenance AMTs with American’s fleet size would equate to nearly 6,900-Line Maintenance AMTs, or an increase of nearly 1,700 over the current combined LAA and LUS Line Maintenance headcount. Additionally, the 37-Line Maintenance stations at United are an increase of 8 over the current AA Association Line Maintenance stations.
- M&R Facilities MaintenanceWork Company Full Text Proposal:
- Article 6(Q-T) on Page 11 - 12:
- Article 6(Q)speaks for itself: Three (3) stations, limited amount of work, if the company doesn’t maintain control—the work will be outsourced.
- Article 6(R):Company may use a vendor to perform this work
- Article 6(S):Company may use a vendor to perform this work
- Article 6(T):Such work may be performed by Facilities Maintenance employees covered by this Agreement or by vendors
- The above speaks for itself as to the intentions of the company to decimate the ranks of Facilities Maintenance
- The Association position on Facilities Maintenance scope is simply that we maintain the same stations and work that we have today, and survived bankruptcies.
- For comparison sake: United Airlines currently has .9 Facilities Maintenance Mechanics per aircraft in their mainline fleet. Utilizing the same .9 Facilities Maintenance Mechanics with American’s fleet size would equate to nearly 870-Facilities Maintenance Mechanics or roughly the current combine LAA and LUS Facilities Maintenance Mechanic headcount.
- Ground Support Equipment (GSE)Maintenance Company Full Text Proposal:
- Article 6 (U) on Page 12:
- Local 591 currently represents GSE at 8 stations, of which only 2 are mentioned. So as a Local if the 2 (stations as determined by the company) end up as Local 591 stations, we are still short 4 stations compared to what we represent today. Not to mention the less opportunity for our members to transfer to other stations.
- Article 6(U): This language states rather clearly that for those stations not part of 12 stations, the company is free to outsource your work when they decide they want to.
- The Association position on GSE scope is simply that we maintain the same stations and work that we have today, and survived bankruptcies.
- For comparison sake: United Airlines currently has .93 GSE Mechanics per aircraft in their mainline fleet. Utilizing the same .93 GSE Maintenance Mechanics with American’s fleet size would equate to nearly 900-GSE Maintenance Mechanics or roughly the current combine LAA and LUS GSE Maintenance headcount.
- Article 6 Facilities Maintenance and GSE Mechanics (Missing from the Company Full Text Proposal):
- There is no mention of a headcount minimum for Facilities Maintenance Mechanics or GSE Mechanics. This could be done in short order if they put in writing what they state at town halls. Why won’t they do that is the question you need to be asking your managers. If Doug Parker means what he says, then write what you have said Doug.
- Article 23(F) Vacation on Page 134 of the Company Full Text Proposal:
- Below is the Associations Proposal for Vacation:
- Self-explanatory as to what we are fighting for with regard to what is the best of the industry. Notice the company also, shamefully, puts THIRTEEN YEARS before accruing another week between the 4thand the 5thweek of vacation!
- For comparison sake: Below is the comparison to United Airlines on both the rate of accrual and maximum vacation allowance:
- Company Supposal 5/23/18 on Page 191 of the M&R Company Full Text Proposal, and Company Summary Sheet on JetNet. Page 135 of the MLS Company Full Text Proposal and Company Summary Sheet on JetNet:
- Nowhere does the early out state that it will be done by seniority across all stations, for all Members. In theory, if we do not have a written agreement and instead allow the early out to be done “based on operational need;” many who would have voted for a JCBA, based on leaving the company, may not actually receive the early out money. We must negotiate how an early would happen or the company would potentially arbitrarily make those decisions and not necessarily by system seniority.
- The Associations position is that anyone who would want to leave would be allowed to leave during the life of the contract.
- For comparison sake: United Airlines early out is written into the agreement with several pages of language on how and when the early out would be implemented. United offered $5,000 per a year of service up to $100,000.
- Article 16 Compensation on Page 98 of the M&R Company Full Text Proposal, and Page 50 of the MLS Company Full Text Proposal:
- The first thing that stands out as missing in the company proposal for all Local 591 workgroups are that there are no longevity premiums, premiums that both Southwest and United receive. United receives up to $1 an hour and Southwest receives up to $1.75 an hour.
- The next glaring omission from the company is the lack of equivalent pay when it comes to profit sharing. This year a Delta Airlines mechanic received a 14% bonus check for profit sharing, while we at American received a 1.4% bonus.
- Another omission is the August raise at Southwest if those mechanics ratify the tentative agreement they are currently voting on, and Delta is widely expected to announce a bump up in pay soon. Both airlines are not accounted for in the company wage offering.
- Additionally, Southwest in their tentative agreement, agreed to 3% annual raises. American on page 98 of the M&R proposal, and page 50 of the MLS proposal, are proposing 2% annual wage increases. Interestingly enough, Doug Parker at a recent town hall meeting stated that those not in a Union contract at American will all receive 3% annual pay increases.
- As a Local we must fight to make sure what we are paid is the best when you add in profit sharing, and that all premiums are also the best in the industry. We must also fight to make sure our annual raises at a minimum match our peers at other airlines in order to maintain parity. The Association position would guarantee that we would all remain at top of the industry.
- Article 29 Benefits on Page 156 of the M&R Company Full Text Proposal and on Page 102 of the MLS Company Full Text Proposal:
- 21% of the projected cost, and no means for the Union to audit American’s books is what they are proposing. These are the same medical benefits imposed upon all of us through the bankruptcy with no oversight. If American is a trustworthy company, then why do they continue to refuse to allow us to audit the projected cost compared to the actual cost. For those of us that have been around a while, we used to get benefit holidays, whereby we didn’t have to pay the contribution, that was because when the Union had an audit, it would find that we were overcharged, and the benefit holiday was the reimbursement. Doug Parker preaches “trust,” including trusting them to not overcharge us. Trust but verify is what we must demand, along with control over plan design and cost reductions.
- For Comparison Sake:Below is United Airlines M&R medical benefit costs, and includes a credit of $48 for each you and also for your spouse for being a non-smoker:
- In addition, those in United M&R’s contract receive a VEBA (Voluntary Employee’s Beneficiary Association) Trust contribution of $1.20 an hour that can be put towards healthcare costs.
- Article 29 Benefits on Page 159 of the M&R Company Full Text Proposal and on Page 105 of the MLS Company Full Text Proposal:
- American proposes charging retirees 100% of the projected cost for retiree medical.
- American also wants the ability to terminate the retiree medical plan at any time, without any compensation.
- American is offering a whopping $10.80 an hour for each hour of sick time that can be used for paying retirement medical. So, a Member who is topped out at the maximum bank of 1,200 hours would receive $12,960. This not-so-philanthropical offer would allow a Member and his/her spouse to receive 5 months of retirement medical before they kick to the curb their employees who gave their lives to this company. This is the equivalent of 241 hours of sick time for 1 month of retirement medical.We must fight to get retiree medical that is equal or better than the industry’s best, and that is the Associations position.
- For comparison sake: United Airlines M&R contract language is below
- United Airlines M&R charges 11 hours of sick time for each month of retirement medical.
- Below is Southwest Airlines M&R contract language for retiree medical:
- At Southwest Airlines you trade 12 hours of sick time for one month of continued medical coverage.
Reality check: UAL Charges 11 hours per month, SWA charges 12 hours per month, and American is proposing approximately 241 hours per month for retiree medical, and American seems to think that’s somehow industry leading, and that they care about all of us?
- Article 30 Retirement Benefits on Page 163-164 of the M&R Full Text Proposal, and on Page 108-109 of the MLS Full Text Proposal
- American initially proposed only our current 401k match of up to 5.5%. The subsequent company position from American is a move to 5% contribution and 4% match. The initial Union proposal given to American was the equivalent of the current pilots defined contribution of 16% in their 401k with a current table-position of a defined contribution at 10%. Defined contribution means that you will receive the contribution in your 401k without being required to contribute to your 401k. A matching contribution requires each of us to contribute to the 401k in order to receive American’s contribution.
- For comparison sake:United Airlines M&R receives a defined benefit plan of 6%, plus a 401k match of 3%. Southwest Airlines M&R receives a 9.3% 401k match.
- The Association current position of 10% defined contribution would make us the industry leader as Doug Parker has promised, and one we all need to fight for.
- Then there’s this with regard to the 401k:
- Needless to say, the Association position does not include the language above, as we will not give American sole discretion or agree to such terms. We do; however, want the same number of investment options as all other workgroups at American enjoy.
- Missing from American’s Full Text Proposal:
- Signing bonus:
- The signing bonus of $3,000 is not a bonus at all. In fact, it is a way to ease the pain for most of us on the LAA side to transition from “pay current” to “pay in arrears.” When this happens, you will receive zero money for a paycheck and this $3,000 is for that. The Association is demanding a much higher signing bonus, along with a full paycheck to offset the pay in arrears transition.
- Retro Pay:
- “Literally millions of dollars are being left on the table with each week that goes by”is what David Seymour and Kerry Philipovitch stated in their letter on April 26, 2019.
- If such is the case, then why is there no retro pay is the question each of needs to be asking and demanding? Where has this money gone? Maybe they used it for the 9% bonuses they handed out to management this year. This statement by senior management clearly makes the case for retro pay. Also, let us not forget the 4% raise that was handed out to all, except us. It is clear that they have the money, as it apparently is on a table somewhere. We just hope it is not on the same table that Doug Parker promised to build for negotiations at headquarters. The Association is demanding full retro pay.
- For Comparison Sake:United Airlines M&R received $185,000,000 for 11,000 members, or close to $17,000 on average for a lump sum.
- Southwest Airlines M&R received $160,000,000 for 2,500 members, or $64,000 average:
- When you multiply the $3,000 signing bonus by all of M&R and MLS members, that only equates to $42,000,000. They can afford a legitimate signing bonus and retro pay. It is reasonable compared to the $15 billion spent in stock buybacks for a stagnant stock. The negotiating committee is demanding full retro and a large signing bonus, and so should you.
Clearly, based on what they proposed, Doug Parker, Robert Isom and Stephen Johnson want a fight, and are calling out this Membership as not willing to fight.
Through their actions in town halls and on JetNet, and complete inaction at the table, they are trying to provoke this Membership. It is glaringly obvious that they are trying to bully this Membership into accepting a bad deal, and like most bullies-they need to be dealt with and put in their place. The problem for the bully named American is that we out number them by a tremendous margin, and if we stand as one and start fighting back, we will win.
The glorified millionaires running this shell of what once was a great company will lose if we stand up to them with one voice. It’s clear their recent desperation-style tactics must be tied to their continued employment. So, the more we speak out against what can only be termed as the “Industry’s Best for Management” contract-the better chance that American’s Board of Directors will finally say enough is enough and remove several at the top of the company and replace them with leadership whose goal is the success of the company, and not just growing their own already bloated bank accounts. I encourage all of you to post a simple and professional message to Doug Parker on American’s propaganda machine called JetNet of “Industry’s Best—Nothing Less.” We also need to demand Doug Parker lives up to his word and keeps negotiating to the conclusion right now without the NMB, and as he stated he would at the State of the Airline two weeks ago.
Doug Parker also wants to portray an airline that cares about its employees; however, we continue to hear incidents of bullying from some managers who continue to try to intimidate Members into looking the other way. I guess some in management still haven’t learned their lessons from the CBS News special report on pressuring of Aircraft Mechanics and continue to try to coerce. To those who are being pressured, please utilize the FAA hotline (https://hotline.faa.gov),and also contact a Local 591 Representative in order to get this information sent directly to me, along with filing an ASAP Report. These thug-like tactics from some in management must and will end. We are professionals, and we must demand to be treated like professionals.
Finally, we have an opportunity to prevent this company from continuing the erosion of our respected crafts. The time to stand up for our profession is now. We can stop American Airlines from acting un-American and offshoring our careers if we stand as one. I believe that standing as one also needs to include all workgroups standing up to this management team. It is time for all of labor at American to come together and let American’s management know that we run this airline, not them.
As always, remember to work In Accordance With all rules, regulations, and manuals, or American management has and will try to discipline you. And above all, please work safe and stay safe. Do not go above and beyond for this company and risk injury, as they have made it clear through their proposal that they will not go above and beyond for you.
Stand Strong and Stand United!
TWU Local 591 President
May 10 2019 letter to membership.pdf