November 8, 2009
As reported earlier, the National Mediation Board (NMB) has directed both parties to plan for ten consecutive days of bargaining beginning on January 10, 2010. Your Team will spend the next few weeks preparing for those meetings. The NMB has advised the parties that the remaining economic items, including compensation, will be addressed.
Keeping in mind that your Negotiating Team has asked repeatedly, to no avail, for a counter proposal on compensation, and that AA has said they want a "Zero-Sum" contract, your Negotiating Team asked the APFA Board of Directors (BOD) to authorize a Strike Authorization Ballot (SAB) should their "lock-down" session in January yield no favorable results. During last weekís meeting, the BOD approved the SAB with Resolution #12. This resolution does not authorize a strike ñ it only authorizes a strike ballot be sent to the membership. The resolution states the ballot will be sent to the membership no sooner that January 22, 2010 and it would authorize APFA President, with the APFA BOD consent, to call a strike. Under Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act, only the NMB can determine when the thirty day cooling off period ñ the last step before a strike ñ will begin. Should the two-week session in January yield no positive results, your Negotiating Team will ask the NMB to release us into a 30 day cooling off period.
IT’S ëOUR TURNí:
On November 18, 2009, picketing and leafleting will commence at all base cities. Several media outlets have already written articles about this event. We expect more media attention on that day. Let’s show AA management and the public that we are serious about getting a contract that returns to us that which we gave in 2003. Picketing and leafleting will take place from 1100-1400 local base time on that day.
ANTI ñTRUST IMMUNITY (ATI):
Roughly three weeks ago, the National Mediation Board (NMB) advised both APFA and AA that it was scheduling bargaining through January 2010. At that same time, we also knew that the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) ruling on the anti-trust immunity application was imminent. It became apparent that the DOT decision would be made well before we could reach a tentative agreement.
APFAís economic analyst and legal counsel conducted a thorough review of the application after which, we concluded that ATI is critical to Americanís ability to compete against other major carriers. These other carriers have been members of ATI-protected alliances for several years. In fact, over the past five years international capacity grew significantly more for these carriers than for American.
If American is to compete on a level playing field, we must take advantage of the opportunities ATI offers an international alliance.
FALL BOD MEETING:
The fall APFA Board of Director’s Meeting was held this week in Dallas/Fort Worth. Several resolutions were passed. Some of these resolutions concern APFA Constitutional changes. Constitutional changes, overwhelmingly endorsed by the Board, are to be brought to APFA members in a referendum consisting of five proposals concerned with: voting methods, the make-up of future negotiating committees, membership status of non-Flight Attendants, monthly dues amount, and dues payment obligations. More information on these referendums will be sent via a Special InfoRep Hotline next week.
ON THE HILL:
The NMB will be receiving comment from the airlines and unions regarding rule changes in the ballot counting procedures by which employees can form or be represented by a union. Currently, a majority of those eligible to vote must actually return their ballot in order for a union to be elected. Failure to vote is counted as a ìnoî vote. Like all other government-sponsored elections in the United States, the new rule would base the results on the majority of those who actually vote. This rule change is not without controversy, even within the three member NMB board. The two Democratic-appointees to the Board both support the rule change while the Republican-appointee does not. Not surprisingly, airline management strongly opposes the proposed change. APFA President, Laura Glading will be traveling to the NMB to comment on the proposed rule changes.
This week AFA withdrew its application to the NMB for a ruling that Delta and Northwest are a single carrier for representation purposes. Such a finding precedes an election of the combined workforces. AFA withdrew the application in anticipation of the NMB changing the rule regarding the type of majority needed to win an election ñ from a majority of those eligible to vote to a majority of those actually voting.