Podcast From Local 514, 567, and 591 Presidents
Petition filed with AFL-CIO 2022 Convention and Leadership:
May 12, 2022
RE: AFL-CIO 2022 Convention Appeal/Petition
The following is a direct appeal/petition to AFL-CIO President Schuler from Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) Locals 514,567, and 591. Between these three TWU Locals, we proudly represent nearly 10,000 American Airlines Aircraft Mechanics, Facilities Mechanics, GSE Mechanics, Maintenance Training Instructors, Maintenance Control Technicians, Maintenance Planners, and other Related workgroups, along with Material Logistics Specialists and Logistics Planners. Our Locals are directly affiliated, and active participates, in the Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas AFL-CIO.
In May 2013, and at the urging of then AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, our TWU International President James Little, along with IAM International President Thomas Buffenbarger, signed off on a representation merger of equals, named the TWU/IAM Association for American Airlines ground workers. While President Trumka's intentions were clearly to avoid potential union infighting, the opposite effect has unfortunately happened.
For some history, what former President Trumka, and former Presidents Little and Buffenbarger, were trying to mimic was a successful joint council/ Association already on the property at American Airlines called the CWA/IBT Association. That CW A/IBT Association was democratically formed after the Membership approval via an internal referendum:
"The new partnership, the Airline Customer Service Employee Association, will represent the 6,000 Communication Workers' members at the former US Airways, and the 3,500 agents who are Teamsters' members at the former America West Airlines. In a mail ballot, 84 percent of the CWA workers who are US Airways reservations, ticket and gate agents and hospitality club staff voted for the alliance with the Teamsters, while 88 percent of the Teamster members approved the vote." (https ://archive. triblive. com/news/unions-join-to-represent-service-agents/)
In a direct opposite approach to that CW A/IBT Association, which focused on democracy and buy-in from the Membership, the TWU/IAM Association was born out of two International Presidents signing off on a joint council without any vote or input from either their respective Memberships or their Union Locals.
Within three days of former President Trumka's letter, on April 23rd 2013, asking the two Unions to work to find a viable path forward together, by April 26th 2013, all of the Association documents had already been created. Former TWU President Little and former IAM President Buffenbarger executed those documents on May 9th , 2013. Four days later, they announced to their affected Memberships, on May 13th , 2013, that their Memberships were now being forced into a 'new Union.' This action was finalized without the advice or consent of either the TWU Locals or their Members, and created in such a way that it would require, not the actions of the Memberships, but instead only the concurrence of both International Union Presidents to dissolve the Association in the future.
Literally, this Association gave both Unions 50% control, despite the TWU Members equating to both then and now, roughly 76% of the Mechanic and Related, and the Material Logistics Specialists Crafts or Classes.
In the last nine years, this undemocratic action by both the TWU and the IAM former International leaderships, has directly resulted in no less than four active representation raids of our Membership at American Airlines by both AMFA and AMP. One of those raids resulted in a card filing with the National Mediation Board.
We do not believe that former President Trumka would have wanted this Association formed the way it was, with no democratic input from the affected Union Memberships. Rather, he spoke of building harmony and he seemed to have viewed this Association creation concept as following the same democratic, one Member-one vote, fashion that the CWA/IBT Association was formed upon.
We have given the outward appearance of functioning as a single entity in order to obtain a joint collective bargaining agreement from American Airlines, and fight back the non-AFL-CIO raids. The truth is we are structurally and philosophically two incompatible organizations and by perpetuating this dysfunctional Association, which continues to fail all of our Union Brothers and Sisters.
Some of the arguments originally presented in front of the National Mediation Board against certifying this Association included concerns that the two Unions would still negotiate for their own Members best interests, instead of the collective best interests of all Members. One example in the new joint collective bargaining agreement confirms those concerns were well based, with contractual provisions carved out to protect the lower cost medical plan only for IAM Members while TWU Members are forced to pay at least double for their medical benefits.
We continue to experience internal Union challenges which starkly demonstrate the reality that the existing two Union structures are simply incompatible. The TWU Locals consistently exercise their Local autonomy and are more actively involved in the workplace. 1AM Members consistently voice their concerns that there is little to no IAM representation at their stations. This example, along with lack of respect for TWU Local representatives from the IAM District representatives, has led to far too many instances of conflicts, both on the floor and within the two Unions. Plain and simple, this Association, as currently constructed, must come to an end. We believe the best path forward for the Membership is to provide them the democratic choice they were previously denied and let the Members choose which Union will represent them all within the Association.
As a result of an internal grassroots effort, we intend to demonstrate significant interest from the Membership with sufficient authorization cards to justify an internal democratic vote by the Members. This vote would determine which Union should be the sole Union within the Association moving forward. This effort, while seeking to solve this undemocratically established dual-unionism problem, is also focused on protecting all the current contractual protections, including those clauses exclusive to the IAM Members.
We want to be clear, this is not a raid. This is simply pro-Union Members calling upon the AFL-CIO to assist us in getting the vote we were promised.
Former President Richard Trumka urged the two Unions to consider a more constructive approach. His stated goal at the time, was a solution which would generate the kind of harmony that we need for acting together in Labor's best interest. Sadly, this failed to come to fruition. Unfortunately, conflict and strife caused by the Association continues to surface. This is precisely because both Unions 'share representation rights' at our merged airline. Additionally, former President Trumka sought this path to attempt to guarantee that Union treasuries were not devoted to Unions fighting one another. Contrary to his vision, those Union treasuries have been wasted fighting off raids instead of organizing the unorganized and reinvesting in their Memberships.
We believe as you do President Shuler that Unions can and should be whatever our Members want our Union to be. That's the beauty of the democratic process, one we were unfortunately denied. In a democracy we should have the opportunity to define what our Union is.
In closing, we speak as one voice for our TWU Membership as well as many IAM Members who want to vote on which Union represents us. President Shuler, your assistance in obtaining a vote will put a stop to the frustration of the Membership which foments the continual raids from non-AFL-CIO groups.
Dale Danker Local 514 President
Kendal Anderson Local 514 Vice President
Terry Buck. Local 514 Recording Secretary
D'Ann Johnson Local 514 Treasurer
Gene Chapin Local 514 E-Board Member
Tracy Hardin Local 514 E-Board Member
Daron Morgan Local 514 E-Board Member
Marla D. Johnson Local 514 E-Board Member
Joe Brown Local 514 E-Board Member
Travis Scott Local 514 Facilities Maintenance Chair
Linda Dill Local 514 MLS Chair
Jason Best Local 514 MCT Chair
Rollie Reaves Local 567 President
Jose Caraballo Local 567 Vice President
J.C. Sampson Local 567 Treasurer
Brett Ong Local 567 E-Board Member
Rich Raskey Local 567 E-Board Member
Ken Conti Local 567 E-Board Member
Pedro Boyarsky Local 567 MLS Section VP
Glennon Puleo Local 567 MCT Section VP
Steve DeSanto Local 567 Title 1 Section VP
Gary Schaible Local 591 President
Peter Caruso Local 591 Vice President
Jorge Rojas Local 591 Recording Secretary
Glenn Olsen. Local 591 Treasurer
Steve Halter Local 591 SW RVP
John Iuliano Local 591 NE RVP
Brian Coyne Local 591 Central RVP
Richard Rivera. Local 591 SE RVP
Phillippe Jugnet Local 591 West RVP
Mark Erler Local 591 AMT E-Board Member
Santos Dorta Local 591 GSE/FAC E-Board Member
Mike Bush Local 591 MLS E-Board Member
Erys Alburquerque Local 591 E-Board Member At-Large
Russ Dittmer. Local 591 Admin E-Board Member
Local 514-567-591 AFL-CIO Unified Petition.pdf