The following letter is unanimously endorsed by the Local 591 Executive Board, and was read on the floor of the TWU 26th Convention with great support from all American Airlines TWU Locals in the Association.
September 14, 2021
John Samuelsen International President
Transport Workers Union of America
1220 19th Street NW, 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20036
Dear President Samuelsen:
The purpose of this letter is to express our strong endorsement of any efforts regarding the TWU organizing those workers who are clearly “under-represented” at the carriers where AMFA currently holds certification under the National Mediation Board (NMB). As was well established throughout negotiations at American Airlines, American’s executives, especially CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom, continually demanded that the Union accept a copy- and-paste of AMFA’s Southwest Airlines Mechanics agreement for the Mechanics at American Airlines. There is an obvious reason for American’s demand that we accept the AMFA agreement. The negotiated TWU American Airlines Mechanics agreement provides our Members $1.2 million more in direct Union Member value annually per airplane on aircraft maintenance labor costs over AMFA at Southwest. The AMFA’s abysmal scope language, which took them seven years to negotiate, adds up to over $1 billion a year in company scope language advantages at Southwest, advantages that TWU Members gained over their AMFA counterparts and put in their pockets, along with more high-quality and high paying Union jobs.
That said, we have heard from many Southwest Airlines Mechanics who want to be TWU Members. There is a strong desire for an organizing drive for the TWU. However, internally we TWU Locals would be put into a precarious situation that would look to our Members as almost hypocritical for the TWU to organize at Southwest, Alaska, or Horizon Airlines while our Members still feel like they are hostages in an Association with the IAM that they never wanted nor had an opportunity to voice their feelings for or against with a vote. Truth be known, the disdain for the IAM and the Association is real and fervent, and the Association undermines our ability to organize, and at times our ability to represent our members. We see many opportunities for organizing that stretch beyond the scope of the three AMFA airlines, but being tied to the IAM is like having an anchor around our necks.
To put it bluntly, our Members want out of the Association and away from the IAM immediately. Our Members desire whatever the International can do toward removing the IAM. It is a fact that the Association, and in particular the IAM, is the reason for the two AMFA raids, and one AMP raid. This isn’t a hunch or a belief; it is what our TWU Members are saying. We can honestly say that we do not see the end of these raids at American Airlines if the IAM is still sharing representation with the TWU under the auspices of the Association. We also strongly believe that most Members, and that includes IAM Members, want to be Members of the TWU, and would be satisfied with a TWU entity as the sole bargaining agent. The Membership recognized the aggressive fight back that the TWU took during negotiations with American and that the TWU continues to do with trying to prevent foreign outsourcing of aircraft maintenance. The Membership also sees the TWU’s ability to garner support from not just TWU Locals inside the Air Division, but from the Rail and Transit Division, like TWU Local 100, who came out en masse in Times Square to support our efforts at American Airlines and with stopping foreign outsourcing.
On behalf of our Executive Boards, and ourselves signed below, we respectfully ask you, as our International President, in the strongest way possible to immediately engage the IAM International President Robert Martinez to realize our goal to fundamentally change the Association by disengaging from the IAM. We are all willing to provide to the would-be-former IAM Members, once the Association is ended, a level of representation that will be significantly better than what they have today, and we all understand the challenges with potentially growing each of our Locals overnight and our Locals are prepared for this. We firmly believe the sooner this happens the better it will be for both the TWU and the IAM, as to continue the status quo with the Association will inevitably mean AMFA would continue their raids. We also firmly believe the sooner this happens the sooner that Locals 514, 567, and 591 will no longer have that Association anchor that prevents us from gaining firm traction in other organizing efforts.
Dale Danker Rollie Reaves Gary Schaible
President President President
TWU Local 514 TWU Local 567 TWU Local 591
See attachment for signatures
Joint Local Letter to Samuelsen on Association.pdf