The Negotiating Committee just finished another week of negotiations in Washington D.C. After the committee completed our preparation on Sunday and Monday, we met with management Tuesday through Friday of this week. The session was attended by the entire Atlas and Southern Negotiating Committees.
We are sad to report, meeting with management to negotiate our next contract has largely turned into the outwardly appearance of negotiations or surface negotiations rather than substantive or meaningful negotiations.
When asked by the press or in discussions with stock analysts on earnings calls, management continues to state that they are committed to a new contract and working towards a new labor agreement. In the same manner, management reports back to all of you that they are working hard towards a new contract.
The disappointing fact is that this could not be further from the truth. Unfortunately, management refuses to offer any solutions to make progress towards a new contract.
They constantly advocate for keeping the current contract language that we suffer under today, as-is. Furthermore, management complains about any language we propose to change, yet they will not offer alternative solutions aside from the current contract.
Management pretends to be hindered in contract negotiation progress because they have not received a full economic proposal from the union. First and foremost, there is no logical reason to move into economic discussions when management refuses to guarantee the job protections of this pilot group. Article 1 – Scope, is the first article of every pilot contract for a reason. It is important.
Without scope protections, the rest of the contract is largely meaningless as you could have excellent pay and excellent work rules, yet, no contractual guarantee to have a job.
The company has been engaging in a propaganda blitz in an attempt to get a full economic proposal. This is an attempt by management to short-circuit the negotiating process. If we are currently focusing on industry standard sick leave, scheduling rules, rest rules and vacation now, once pay rates are on the table, the focus shifts to pay rates alone while articles of the contract that allow you to have time off, healthcare, and retirement are forgotten or ignored.
An opportunity to make improvements throughout the contract ends up being forfeited in such a scenario. Nice pay rates without work rules, soft pay, or competitive benefits is what separates industry-standard contracts from the rest.
As for a breakdown of the week, Tuesday, management arrived on schedule at 0900. They quickly presented counterproposals on Article 12 and Article 25 with little change. In an effort to drive constructive dialogue, we repeatedly asked them to slow down and go back over items they rushed through.
They then passed us Articles 13 and Articles 14 with no changes, no presentation, and a statement that they wanted to “park” those articles. This statement meant management had no further interest in negotiating on these articles and would rather seek out what they want from a management friendly arbitrator.
After 27 minutes of work, their lead negotiator stepped out of negotiations at 0927, never to return. Discussions became rather intense between both parties as a result of their counterproposals obviously not being taken seriously. The management negotiating team completed their day with us and left by 1015. Just one hour and fifteen minutes to cover four articles in rapid succession of which two of the articles had no changes from their last proposal.
On Wednesday afternoon, we presented another counterproposal to management on Article 25 – Scheduling from 1330-1700. We inquired about what management had for us after having most of Tuesday and all of Wednesday morning to prepare their proposals.
They stated they had not worked on anything for us and had nothing to present. At that point, we suggested that maybe the most productive course of action was to have the informal discussion (this is an informal group problem-solving session where no notes or legal records are able to be used later on in any legal disputes) in hopes that anything constructive at all could take place this week.
They agreed to such conversations, which took place Thursday afternoon from 1300-1700. This session led to some good dialogue that we hope leads to more progress as we get closer to closing out Article 25 – Scheduling.
After communication with them early Friday morning, they did not have any proposals prepared for us and therefore did not meet with us.
Considering the poor state of our company, as has been reflected by the stock market with AAWW dropping over 60% in the last year and the stock price now at a ten-year low, we are highly disappointed to see the main focus by management continues to be fighting with the pilot group.
Rather than partnering with the pilot group to focus on how to best serve our customers while we collectively take on the competition, the path chosen is one that focuses on exploiting our efforts and professional skills only to enrichen a select few.
We hope one day to be treated by management as teammates working together to beat the competition and we, one day, hope to win together as a team. For now, we continue to press on in hopes that we survive “the process” as a company.
Future negotiation dates consist of a scope meeting on the morning of Friday, October 11th while regular negotiations are scheduled for October 22 – 25 and November 12 – 15.
Your Atlas Air and Southern Air Negotiating Committees