October 3, 2018
To the Membership of TWU Local 591:
Over the last few months I have been talking with the Executive Board on the best pathway forward for Local 591. During that time I have also spoken with TWU members, other Local Union leaders, and International Leadership. The question I have been trying to solve is how to best serve the membership, while helping to improve the Air Division at TWU International. When I was elected as an International Vice President in 2017, I did so with the full support of the Local 591 Executive Board and I cannot thank them enough for the work they do. The TWU International Leadership will not accept the status quo and the changes being made continue to show a commitment to improving the Air Division, which has isolated our members and been stagnant for far too long. In saying that, I have been asked to take on more responsibilities in transforming the Air Division. I am proud of the opportunity to serve as the President of Local 591, but it is now time for me to turn the position over to Gary Schaible. I know Gary will do a great job in replacing me as the President of Local 591; over the last seven years, Gary has been my biggest advocate, voice of reason, and most critical colleague. While Gary and I may be different in how we approach a subject or present the issues, we both hold the values of unionism at the top of our priority list. I am sure he will hold me even more accountable now than ever.
Some may question why I would take this risk, based on the history of those who moved over to the International, while others may be skeptical that it is for personal gain. I will respond in two statements: I have never forgotten where I came from, nor will I; and in life you have two options, complain about how things are, or fight for change and work to fix them. My decision to take on this new role begins with a very basic premise; we must do a better job of eliminating the rhetoric and a better job of communicating fact. We must find a better way to improve both internal and external communications, by applying more effective methods that support our local union leaders. Getting fact-based answers and information to our membership will be my top priority. I recognize that we must do a better job of keeping our membership informed of what is happening not only at American, but also everywhere within the Air Division and the organization. We must find more innovative and effective ways to fight against the management teams who are working together to hold us down, by mobilizing our membership across the nation against any management team that chooses to take us on. The membership is our greatest strength and we must remain unified in our fight, because when we do, we win every time. We must show management that we have had enough of their games negotiating this JCBA. Where we have internal differences, we must put them aside and focus all of our energy on our adversary who sits across the bargaining table from us and in our workplace when they attempt to take away any of our members’ collective bargaining rights.
While this letter is bittersweet to sign, I feel it is in the best interest of the membership, Gary as our President, and our Executive Board as we move forward.
International Vice President
October 3, 2018
To the Membership:
This morning, your Executive Board met at the request of President Gary Peterson. At this meeting Gary informed the Board that after much thought, he has decided to resign from the position of President of TWU Local 591 in order to focus his efforts in his growing role with the TWU International. This is not news that any of the Board wanted to hear, but at the same time we all recognized that Gary has in the past, and continues to, take on additional workload with his International position.
That said, as a Board we respect his decision. We will, however, miss the endless supply of energy that he brought to the job each and every day. His education, experience, dedication, and desire to do right by the Membership, along with a tenacious approach towards those in management who attempt to hurt this membership will be missed at the Local level.
At the same time, it is comforting to know that the International has chosen someone with tremendous work ethic, and who we are confident will not forget where he came from. I know that I speak for the entire Executive Board and the Membership when I say that we wish him success in his role with the International.
With Gary’s departure from Local 591 as an Officer, I will, in accordance with the TWU Constitution and the Local 591 Bylaws, assume the position of Local President. This is not something I take lightly, especially in light of our negotiations heading into mediation. However, the transition to my new role in the Local will be much easier after working alongside Gary for the past seven years.
Those of you who know me well know that my approach can at times differ from Gary’s, and although we might not always agree on a particular subject, our level of respect for each other’s views has never wavered. Our collective goals for the Membership have been steadfast.
Much like Gary has been doing for years, it will now be my job going forward to make sure the TWU International understands and listens to the Local 591 Membership concerns and goals, and that the International fully supports this Local. Having Gary in this International position, someone who knows the history, both good and bad, and someone who has fought alongside this Local in our disagreements with prior TWU International leadership, will, in my view, be a great asset to the Membership; much more so than in similar situations in the past.
Starting tomorrow, I will also be assuming the Local 591 President’s position on the JCBA Negotiating Committee. Executive Board Member Mike Bush and I will be representing Local 591 in the Mechanic and Related (M&R), and Stores, negotiations, while Gary Peterson, in his International role, will continue as Chair of the M&R and Stores negotiations for the TWU.
Having been the Vice President for many years, I have been rather close to the negotiations already, so I don’t need much time to be brought up to full speed. Along with that practical experience, I also have extensive training and college education in negotiations. This is something I credit both Local 591 and my former Local 565 Executive Boards for investing in, and having the foresight to prepare me, and other Board Members for. This foresight prepared me to be able to walk into negotiations confidently at this critical time.
That having been said, I want to be clear upfront that I cannot vote to bring back an agreement which might eliminate hundreds of days and afternoon shift jobs across the country if we were to agree to the company scope demand which takes the aircraft moves away from Aircraft Maintenance, and/or the company demand which increases Line Maintenance outsourcing. Station Protection may make a great company soundbite, but station protection does not mean “shift protection,” and I do not want to see any more Members of this Local rolling backwards towards midnight shift.
Finally, on Friday, your Executive Board will be holding a meeting to discuss and fill the vacancy in the Vice President’s position. Being that elections are less than 18 months away, I am expecting that vacancy will be filled by appointment of the Local Executive Board. I will update the Membership after Friday’s meeting with the Executive Boards determinations.
TWU Local 591 President
2018_October_3 Peterson Ltr to 591 Membership.pdf
October 3 2018 Letter Schaible.pdf