(October 19, 2020) —
As many are aware, the members of unions representing the American Airlines Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMTs) are conducting a card drive in an effort to displace the dysfunctional alliance between TWU and IAM with AMFA — a singular craft-specific union that specializes in the representation of mechanic and related personnel. This movement within the union’s membership is a result of ineffective representation by the incumbents.
Their grievances with the incumbent dual union compromise are many:
· The whole concept of two unions representing the AMTs of one airline was born out of compromise and neither union wanting to risk losing their position when U.S. Air and American Airlines merged. This is a clear example of the unions acting in their own interest rather than in the interests of their membership. Clearly, consolidated representation would harness the full power of the workforce to extract more from management.
· Many AMTs at American feel like they are not a priority to their large union organizations that represent other, larger workgroups outside of mechanic and related workers. The idea of a union dedicated to only AMTs is appealing to these members as they know they will be represented by experts who only focus on their specific craft.
· The incumbent unions do not behave with transparency nor democracy. AMFA, on the other hand, involves its membership in all critical decisions that will affect them. The voice of our membership is better represented in all our decision making. The best example of this is the decision to keep two unions for the new American Airlines. This decision was made without membership input or vote.
· In combining the unions, TWU members were made to accept reduced benefits of the IAM agreement with U.S. Air while IAM members enjoyed the better wages of the TWU employees — a situation that demanded sacrifice from TWU members without anything in return.
The incumbent alliance representing American Airlines AMTs is fearful of losing their control and in its desperation, has started a negative campaign against AMFA, full of lies designed to keep the membership from securing more effective representation.
·AMFA has been accused of “raiding” American during a chaotic time. This is an outright lie. This movement within the workforce is a grassroots, organic movement that we did not encourage in any way. The suggestion that we initiated this movement is an attempt to distract from their ineffective leadership.
· AMFA has been accused of not being able to get AMTs a good deal. This claim has no basis in fact. The truth is that our recently ratified Collective Bargaining Agreement with Southwest Airlines sets the standard for commercial airline AMTs. Bloomberg even went so far as to say the deal was “single-handedly responsible for a boost in union-negotiated wages with lump sums….A one-time payout of almost $60,000 per worker is almost unheard of. It’s certainly the largest that I’ve seen.”
· AMFA has been accused of sacrificing job protection and scope for wage increases. Again, this is a lie, and in fact, AMFA has yet to lose a single job to COVID-related furloughs despite many attempts by management to do so.
· AMFA has been accused of not supporting their union brothers and sisters at the TWU/IAM. This is also false. On many occasions we have stood alongside them in their fights with management. The following are just a few examples:
- June 14, 2019, AMFA called on AMFA’s 3,500 members at SWA & AS to avoid American Airlines operations
- AMFA supported and assisted TWU in negotiations including AMFA’s new deal with Southwest Airlines that negotiated $160 million in retroactive pay as a signing bonus of CBA on May 3, 2020
- AMFA publicly supported TWU and did the reciprocal in supporting TWU-IAM Federal Court TRO on June 14th,2019 and AMFA attended the litigation fight TWU-IAM federal injunction case at Fort Worth Federal Court House Building
The TWU and IAM alliance is being threatened from within its own membership and we support the membership’s right to decide who will best represent them. It is unfortunate that TWU/IAM has resorted to attacking its rival rather than addressing the problems underlying this failure in listening to and representing its membership. If the TWU/IAM alliance were effective in representing its membership, we would not have the opportunity we have right now to offer American Airlines AMTs a better choice.