May 24, 2021
To the TWU Local 591 Membership:
On behalf of the Local 591 Executive Board, I would like to wish a Happy AMT Day to the AMTs in our Local. May 24th is a day set aside to celebrate the proud profession of the Aircraft Maintenance Technician. Thankfully, this AMT Day, when compared to last year, the airline industry has a much better outlook. It was a year ago that American Airlines had 429 airplanes parked on the ground and a future that looked bleak.
It is our belief at TWU Local 591 that the greatest compliment to AMT Day is fighting for more AMT jobs in this country, employed by the airlines. As a result of the hard-earned gains in the JCBA, we are once again growing our Membership with several AMTs who are celebrating their very first AMT Day. While another Union has the philosophy to gain higher wages by subsidizing those wages with fewer jobs, Local 591 and our Membership was steadfast in our demand to have both the highest wages in the industry and the most jobs. In fact, no Union has done a better job at defending our jobs as Local 591 has, and that is because our Membership has demonstrated a willingness to fight and walk the informational picket lines at many airports, Time Square NYC, and at Wrigley Field Chicago.
Those efforts resulted in many scope advantages for our Members that are evident in every rebid across the country, especially when you compare them to an airline like Southwest Airlines. The company, in negotiations, often offered us the Southwest mechanic contract, and when you look at the Department of Transportation (DOT) flight numbers and number of mechanics to work those flights; you’ll really see why the company wanted us to accept the Southwest mechanic contract.
Using 2019 DOT flight operations numbers, to be fair with the pandemic reductions, and at some of our stations as examples, think of what we as a Local fought for compared to what the Southwest Airlines Union didn’t fight for.
- Las Vegas, for example, where American had just over 14,000 flights a year, and Southwest had nearly 71,000 flights a year, yet American has 111 total (AMT, GSE, Facilities) mechanics to Southwest 82. A fivefold increase in Southwest flights but 29 fewer mechanics.
The same comparison in Los Angeles brings a much clearer picture on why scope and scaling back the outsourcing of both former airlines was our number one priority on the informational picket lines.
- In LAX both American and Southwest had just over 41,000 flights a year, yet American has 620 total mechanics to Southwest 50.
- Up the road in SFO, an even more stunning result of scope. While American had 13,600 flights, Southwest had 14,600 flights. American has 160 total mechanics, and Southwest has ZERO. Some might say that Southwest has a much bigger operation across the bay in Oakland. That would be correct, as Southwest had more than 41,000 flights, yet they employ only 41 total mechanics. So, more than 55,000 flights in the Bay area and 41 mechanics. By comparison American has 50,000 flights in Miami and we have 931 total mechanics.
- Staying in California and moving down the coast in San Diego, American had 8,600 flights to Southwest’s nearly 41,000. Yet again, American has 30 total mechanics to Southwest’s 17.
That pattern is continually repeated at station after station and the result is an annual in-house labor savings at Southwest of well over $1.2 million an aircraft in their 734 aircraft fleet over American, or just shy of $1 billion a year in maintenance labor savings that Southwest enjoys. Enough of a savings over American that Southwest can literally pay all their 14,000 Fleet Service Clerks labor costs at top pay on the discount given by their Mechanics contract, and still have a couple bucks leftover.
Scope matters and think about those numbers when it comes to rebids. LAX is a great example of a side-by-side equivalent number of flights operations. 620 total mechanics to 50 mechanics with the same number of flights says it all when you envision what a bid would look like. The reality is that available opportunities on rebids are based on the verbiage negotiated in the contract.
With our philosophy in negotiations, we have more AMTs, in this country, employed at our airline, earning the best wages, to enjoy AMT Day, than any other airline. Afterall, defending the profession means defending the jobs, forcing the wages higher, and keeping them in this country, employed by airlines, and not low-paying vendors. As a Local we will continue to push American to hire more AMTs through enforcement of our contract, and legislation in Congress. We want every bit of work we can secure, like the recent negotiated addition of IFE work, as more work means more jobs, which mean better rebids, which get us the better shifts and days off that we all want and deserve. We should all be proud of the efforts we have collectively done to grow the ranks of AMTs. This year we can celebrate AMT Day at American and be proud knowing that our efforts have resulted in the most AMTs of any airline employed to celebrate the day with.
Finally, and as a reminder, two years ago, and on the feedback of many members, as an Executive Board, we decided not to compete with American on food serving on AMT Day. We will, however, continue with the tradition of serving food on Labor Day. I also want to assure you that our Brothers and Sisters in GSE, Facilities Maintenance, and Stores are not forgotten. Your dedication, skill, and support are a crucial part of what makes us all the success that we are collectively. While AMT Day is dedicated to AMTs, I want to sincerely wish you a Happy AMT Day, and say thank you.
TWU Local 591
AMT Day 2021.pdf