Local 591, Transport Workers Union and Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association Response To “CBS This Morning” Report On Coercion of Aircraft Maintenance Technicians

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CENTENNIAL, CO — February 4, 2019 — Two of the leading union representatives of aircraft maintenance technicians (AMTs) — Local 591, Transport Workers Union (TWU) and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) — issued a joint statement in response to the CBS This Morning report on the coercion of aircraft maintenance technicians. TWU Local 591 represents the aircraft line maintenance technicians of American Airlines and AMFA represents the aircraft maintenance technicians of Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines.

“We congratulate CBS for bringing to the nation’s attention the coercive management practices that have the effect of subordinating safety to schedule. TWU Local 591 and AMFA stand squarely behind the courageous aircraft technicians who participated in the report; we stand committed to defending them against any form of retaliation. A debt of gratitude is owed to them by the traveling public, their fellow technicians, and the airlines themselves.”

“However, we are greatly discouraged by the disingenuous denials of American and Southwest that a problem even exists.”

“American Airlines Senior Vice President David Seymour insisted during his interview that almost all of [the aircraft mechanic whistleblower cases] have been dismissed.’ — He knows better. AMTs in Miami, Dallas, and Chicago have been required to accept non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) as a condition for settling their cases. Rather than Mr. Seymour engaging in false denials, let American Airlines release these AMTs from their non-disclosure agreements.”

“American claims to support a safety culture. However, an FAA report found that Regional Maintenance Director Evita Rodriguez — now known as Evita Garces — instructed American technicians:”

You need to strike a balance between safety and productivity. When I was stationed in JFK, I signed for sumping the Airbus, yet I never did. I am looking for that balance.

  • ASO CMO-67 Investigation Team Report dated February 27, 2015 at 11.

“In sharp contrast to what AMT’s at American expected from Company leadership; including Seymour, Ms. Garces was promoted to the carrier’s Director of Maintenance (DOM) on November 13, 2018. Aircraft technicians can only read this message in one way: Push the planes out whether they are ready or not.”

“Similarly, Southwest Senior Vice President of Maintenance Operations Landon Nitschke has described Southwest’s maintenance culture in the same disturbing terms:”

And, you know, sometimes we hide our compliance issues under the Warrior Spirit, right?

“Moreover, Southwest Airlines — already the major airline with the fewest AMTs per aircraft — is demanding the right to have its aircraft maintenance work performed in foreign countries that do not safeguard the professional integrity and compliance of our profession. The interests of American workers — many who are military veterans and are the security of the traveling public — demand that this safety sensitive work be performed in our own country.”

Contacts:

Gary Schaible, TWU Local 591 President

Phone: 817–475–1817

Email: g.schaible@local591.com

Bret Oestreich, AMFA National Director

Phone: (720) 744–6628

Email: Bret.Oestreich@amfanatl.org

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We are independent Aircraft Maintenance Technicians committed to the highest safety standards. Safety in the Air Begins with Quality Maintenance on the Ground.

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