Open Letter to IAM from Member Larry Ocheltree

AMFA is the only viable choice based on track record, expertise and accessibility.

This letter is to ask all my IAM colleagues to not be taken in by the outright lies that are being spread to scare you into voting for this train wreck called the TWU/IAM Mechanics Association.

For background, when our unions were merged in response to the AA/U.S. Air merger, membership had no say in whether we wanted this partnership. We were forced to accept it with the assumption being that 30,000 employees could force the company to concede into a better contract. Since the signing of the agreement, we’ve learned how the company got the best of the Association with combined rules that are outrageous. These rules apply to topics such as job loss, seniority, the Javits list, losing bumping rights and overtime. Simply put, the list is getting bigger every day.

While it’s true we temporarily benefited from the Association when our pay was increased to match TWU’s, the company has since closed maintenance stations while opening Fleet Service stations. I am happy Fleet Service has new stations opening, but was it necessary to once again strip away more jobs from Mechanic and Related employees to promote another craft and class? For several decades, it has been the industrial union position that our jobs were not lost but have remained in the union under Fleet Service, bringing in dues revenue. I’ve heard throughout the system from all groups that regardless of how you feel about IAM or TWU, the Association between them is not working and needs to change.

If you accept this conclusion, we are left with very little room to maneuver in our effort to change.

IAM is not an option without decertifying the current Association agreement, and the same goes for TWU. Even though the Teamsters are not a member of the AFL-CIO, they have an agreement to not petition for representation with our group, and they have already burned their bridges with the AA group and would never be certified.

AMFA is the only viable choice based on track record, expertise and accessibility. The industrial unions have been very successful in painting a bleak picture of AMFA but most of what has been said is untrue, unfounded and simply a scare tactic designed to protect their substandard representation. The facts are that AMFA has a track record of being a very professional union that specializes in representing only the Mechanic and Related workgroups. They treat all the functions within Mechanic and Related with equal importance, so if you’re in the automotive, facilities, cabin cleaners, training, sim tech planners, moc, line, heavy, you can expect your grievances to be aggressively addressed and your contract enforced. AMFA is the only union committed to transparency during negotiations, transparency that would have prevented the tradeoff of our benefits to other groups, which we see happening now. Another important AMFA difference is that if an issue comes up without a contract change submitted, the members are able to have a shop specialist go to the negotiations to bring the issue to the table to be addressed. Currently we have nothing like this, and we are doing the same old thing I have seen for 35 years, while the companies use modern negotiating tactics to crush us.

We need to take back control of our careers and not be bullied into accepting what our union decides we are to have. We need one union uniting our power, not two fighting each other instead of management. We need to stop working for the Association and have AMFA work for us.

Thank you,

Larry Ocheltree

Aircraft Mechanic — American Airlines