It has been a long time since we last were able to write to you about negotiations taking place between management and the Atlas and the Southern Negotiating Committees. As you know, management shut down negotiations nearly a year ago in order to pursue its litigation strategy. In fact, our last update for a session took place all the way back on May 25, 2018. At that time, our Framework Agreement was expiring after months of bargaining sessions with little to no progress made on our future contract. Management refused to abide by the terms of the Framework Agreement that they had themselves written. It was evident at the time that management was not there to negotiate and we, therefore, concluded they needed to come back to us with a new Framework Agreement when they were ready to get serious with negotiations.
Management contacted us at the end of 2018, claiming they were interested in a new Framework Agreement and they wanted to resume negotiations. Although management indicated they wanted to start up negotiations as soon as possible, their actions indicated they were again interested less in good faith negotiations and more on simply creating the illusion of negotiations to placate their shareholders and customers. Despite their words, management demonstrated that they were seeking merely to manipulate the timing of the resumption of negotiations with the conclusion of the Atlas and Southern amalgamation arbitration “process”. The current Framework Agreement was held up for a few more months over minor issues while they waited for such timing to fall into place.
With the amalgamation arbitration final briefs completed and submitted, we anticipate receiving decisions and awards from the respective arbitrators sometime later this year. The timing of these awards is unknown with no deadlines set, as is customary with such legal proceedings.
The Negotiating Committee has just completed our latest negotiation session with the company, held in Washington D.C. from March 12-15. The session was attended by the Atlas and Southern Negotiating Committee, Executive Council Chairman Bob Kirchner (Atlas) and our Legal Counsel Ed Gleason and Dan Katz.
At this meeting, some limited progress was made while working on Article 12-Hours of Service, Article 13-Leaves of Absence, Article 25-Scheduling, Article 26-General, Article 31-Reserve, and Article 33-Hostile Area Flying. We were able to close out the final few items holding up Article 31-Reserve and reached a tentative agreement on that article.
Management has asked us for future negotiation dates of April 2-5, May 20-23, and June 18-21. We anticipate this slow pace of progress to continue until the arbitration awards are received some time in the future.