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Old 12-16-2017, 08:43 AM   #1  
You scratched my anchor
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Default This isn’t good. APA sold us down the river?

I am writing you this Chairman’s message with mixed emotions. I take no enjoyment in what I am about to tell you. I have pondered this email for several weeks, but have held off because of requests from the President and several members of the Board of Directors. They did not know what was going to be in it but knew it would be critical. However, after yesterday’s events I feel strongly that it is my duty to let you know what is transpiring within your union that will severely affect your career and lifestyle going forward.

As you know, the events of the “Green Christmas” put in motion talks with the Company that provided an opportunity to not only negotiate premium pay for holiday flying, but also open discussions on the other core issues we have been attempting to achieve outside of Section 6. These items include LOS restoration, LTD improvements and Average Calendar Day duty rig to name a few. When the green light event first happened the media quickly picked up on it. The possible cancelations of thousands of holiday flights spread like wildfire. I personally had three local news reporters call me asking for an interview and comment. APA’s Communications director said that this event had gotten more news coverage than anything in the last 20 years. He indicated the cost for APA to get that kind of news exposure to be more than $20M. In our regularly scheduled BOD conference call President Carey was energetic and said he was tired of being “slow rolled” by the Company. He then rattled off a list of additional items he was demanding to help them fix their problem. He also filed a Presidential Grievance regarding the violation of awarding premium flying. When BOD comment followed, I made the point that we should stick to our long-standing core issues and not over reach to maintain credibility. The call ended on a positive note.

Over the next couple days, the President, Vice-President, General Counsel and two members of the Negotiating Committee met with the Company to come to an agreement to help the Company and ensure our passengers would be safe booking travel on American Airlines. The culminations of those talks led to the settlement agreement for 200% pay for certain sequences over certain days of the holiday period. The BOD had no input and did not know the details of the settlement until 30 minutes before it was released to the public. When the BOD was first informed via email that there was an agreement in principle, it was described that we had also gotten LOS and Delta Duty rigs. That was not the case. We had gotten a commitment to “talk” about LOS and Duty rigs with the potential agreement to be accomplished by January 14th, 2018. Essentially that means nothing.

Let’s talk about premium pay. This opportunity was total squandered. The union was squarely in the driver’s seat on this and they blew it. By only providing pay for open sequences and rewarding those that dropped time, they totally ignored the other dues paying union members that did not drop their holiday trip. They brag about allowing out of base pickup for the West Coast pilots that could not take advantage of the green light event and were locked out of TTOT. Did they consider for a west coast pilot to use this provision they first would have to be off during the holiday since they could not drop or use TTOT? Furthermore, they would have to commute the day before to DFW or the East Coast to be fit for duty. This takes all the value out of premium pay. Lastly, if there were ever a time to tell the world that pilots are the only workers in the civilized world that do not get paid extra to work over national holidays, it was when we had the news coverage. If we had contractual holiday pay, it would have made no difference if the lights were green or not.

This is where it starts to go downhill fast! The next week we had a working meeting off-site in DFW. The BOD was not happy with the President’s unilateral action with the premium pay and discussions on the other items. The BOD moved to an empty room and discussed what to do about it. There was talk that ranged from recall of the President, to censuring, to passing a resolution restricting his power. For the most part most everyone was onboard with some kind of action. When the President arrived to address the BOD no one (except the MIA Vice) said a word. They melted like a 15-year-old boy and his first kiss! During the ensuing discussion, it was brought to our attention that he was using his Presidential powers to settle the grievance he had filed. It was his view that he could modify the CBA to settle a grievance. The General Council agreed. At that point I asked the General Council if the President could PERMANTENTLY change ANY part of the CBA WITHOUT BOD approval. His answer was yes! Think about that for a minute, he could file a chicken **** grievance related to seniority and then permanently reorder the seniority list to settle it without any input or approval from the governing body of the union or pilot ratification! That is just an example given the GC’s answer. By the way, the first thing President Carey did when he was elected to office was fire the long standing General Council and hire his longtime friend for the job. The prior General Council had over 40 years’ experience in Railway Labor Law. Guess how much our new one has? Folks, this position should scare the hell out of you. By the way, I am the only one on the BOD that openly challenged that view. The APA Constitution says otherwise.

At this point, I will be a little more cryptic since details of the proposed duty rigs and LOS agreement are not public yet. I will try to sum it up this way. I have been doing union work for a long time and I have never seen a more concessionary, poorly conceived and vague agreement. It is clear in its construction that the company knows the President is desperate for an agreement at any cost. Major parts of Daily Open time coverage are gutted to pay for LOS. And to put the cherry on top, when we begin Section 6 openers next year we will OWE THE COMPANY $XX,000,000 for LOS. That’s right folks, in the best economy in history, with the most profits in history, and a potential 50% cut in the corporate tax rate we will begin negotiations OWING THE COMPANY TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS! What we are really doing is paying twice for LOS. Once now with the gutting of the scheduling section and then later with a bill due at openers. Ironically, a couple of months ago the president sent me an email that said “Bob, I will not pay one red cent for LOS”. But that is typical; his words are meaningless.

That is just the tip of the iceberg. Get used to those reassignments; they will be memorialized and much easier for the Company. And in typical APA style, we give them immediate relief and agree to get our wants sometime in the future. And another goodie, they are working from the Company’s documents. So those are the ground rules. The Company writes the language. There is much more, but I have given you a flavor of what is going on.

Now for yesterday’s events. The DFW Chairman drafted a resolution to ensure the BOD would be able to vote on whatever was negotiated. In addition, the resolution mandated that the BOD see the specific proposals that APA and the Company were working on. He also requested an emergency board conference call for the resolution that had to occur within 24 hours. The emergency conference call happened yesterday, and the President ruled the resolution out of order. He stated that the Constitution already gives the BOD that authority, therefore it is not needed. I stated that the resolution also mandated transparency and it was “belt and suspenders” to ensure the BOD had the final say. This was important given the prior position that the President could unilaterally agree to anything under the guise of a Presidential Grievance. Why would the President be concerned about this resolution if his intentions were honorable? I challenged the Chair, and the ruling of the Chair was upheld in a 10-1-11 vote. So, the bulk of the BOD is quite content with the President and the “Creative Capitulation” that is occurring. They have totally submitted to the President. They don’t want to know what the Negotiating Committee is giving away and prefer to find out minutes before they are to vote. To be fair, not all BOD members feel this way, but a majority do.

In the coming days, I am sure you will hear what a good deal this is and how you are getting LOS and ACD. You will hear that Bob is always critical. What I am is a realist and demand details. Words or the lack of them matter. Clear, concise contract language is critical. You will hear the President say that he is building a relationship with the Company. That part is true, but it is not a relationship that we want - one of fools that always look for instant gratification and don’t consider the long-term ramifications of their actions. You will probably hear him talk about the 8% pay raise as if something he did caused it. Trust me, that’s not the case. APA and President Carey are the least of the Company’s worries. One BOD member commented that Mr. Parker was “back peddling” on LOS in the latest crew news. Mr. Parker is not, and has not, back peddled on anything. He has been consistent in his position from the beginning – “If you want LOS you need to pay for it.” APA has just chosen not to listen until now.

Scheduling is the heart of our contract. To be treated like indentured servants at the whim of a crew scheduler no matter your bid status or seniority is not what a union should be allowing or advocating. I have been screaming to the top of my lungs for months that the reassignments must stop! The President and majority of the BOD know the problem yet have turned their back on you. They want LOS and ACD and if it means you get reassigned every day, that is the cost of business. Just as importantly, when we do get the ACD we need additional contract language to prevent all the trips from being built to overcome the ACD effects to the company. That means a defined portion of the trips to be commutable and a limit on the number of days in a sequence. The last thing we want is 6-day trips that leave at 0600 and return at 2359. You just don’t go about this stuff willy-nilly. At least a strong union doesn’t.

What about electronic notification? Imagine if you will, an Amazon.com warehouse with thousands of boxes moving at high speed on conveyor belts being diverted to hundreds of bins to be loaded on trucks. Now imagine the same thing but the warehouse is the airport terminal and the boxes are pilots. A computer constantly monitors the planes and crews and automatically diverts pilots through the hubs for the most efficient utilization. There is nothing in the contract that prohibits that except for the restriction on electronic notification for short notice sequence changes. It is mind boggling to me how we could go from having the most leverage we have had in decades to total capitulation in a matter of days.

Let’s face it, we all want LOS, LTD improvements, and an Average Minimum Day rig. The question is do we buy them? And more importantly, do we buy them with the few protections we have in our scheduling system? I say we don’t buy anything. This contract is a product of the bankruptcy 1113 process. All three legacy airlines have not negotiated a contract outside of bankruptcy or severe economic conditions in almost 20 years. In the history of aviation there has not been a more favorable time to negotiate a contract. Why on heavens earth would we be talking concessions? There are two main reasons to be an airline pilot. The pay and the schedule. The latter is decimated, and I am not willing to make it worse. APA has a history of “burning the furniture to warm the house.” That is why our contract is the worst in the industry and riddled with hastily written, company friendly contract language especially related to scheduling.

The President made the statement to me that “Going into Section 6 in twelve months with a strong relationship between our Negotiators and the Company’s is a recipe for timely success in early 2019 for a contract superior to all others in our industry.” Given the President’s total disconnect from negotiating reality and the majority of the BOD’s submissive demeanor, it is my opinion that we will be slaughtered going into Section 6 negotiations next year. Their entire strategy is to try to sweet talk management into an industry leading contract. He talks of “validating trust” as an end all. If that is all it takes then why are we giving away the farm for LOS and ACD? The President is like a cat that drops a mouse at his master’s feet every morning hoping for a treat. With us it’s pieces of our already poor contract. The elimination of the uniform committee, fatigue MOU, electronic notification are just a few examples of “mice” that have been dropped to “validate trust” to the Company.

In closing, it takes courage, determination, commitment and above all ethics to be a good union leader. You must be absolutely unwavering in your resolve to better the lives of your constituents. There should never be any doubt who you work for. I will be pondering my future as your Chairman over the next few days and weeks. Always remember, it is critically important who you vote for in any election. Your future depends on it.
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Old 12-16-2017, 09:05 AM   #2  
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We’re in debt for LOS to be paid in the next contract? That’s insane.

I thought the JCBA talks were wild with all the bickering between the BOD and president. I can only imagine what contract 2020 will look like.
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Old 12-16-2017, 10:09 AM   #3  
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If that's accurate then it's definitely a colossal fail and would warrant a recall of the president. However I'm going to adopt a wait and see attitude. It sounds like this rep has a history of BS. Read about some of his past actions on C&R.
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Old 12-16-2017, 10:13 AM   #4  
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This is ominous. Was this from PHL or CLT?
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Old 12-16-2017, 10:14 AM   #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 450knotOffice View Post
This is ominous. Was this from PHL or CLT?
CLT. So take it with a grain of salt. Negotiations aren’t over anyhow.
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Old 12-16-2017, 01:03 PM   #6  
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Please, please send soundoffs!!! This is unbelievable


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Old 12-16-2017, 09:31 PM   #7  
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We will see how it turns out.

Hopefully, this email exaggerated the situation.

If not, we absolutely must recall the president right damned now.
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Old 12-17-2017, 02:21 AM   #8  
You scratched my anchor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcountry View Post
We will see how it turns out.

Hopefully, this email exaggerated the situation.

If not, we absolutely must recall the president right damned now.
I don’t think the pilot group would ever know if we had agreed to a contract debt going into 2020
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Old 12-17-2017, 05:38 AM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Czervik View Post
I don’t think the pilot group would ever know if we had agreed to a contract debt going into 2020
How are things over at C&R?

Thanks for posting this!
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Old 12-17-2017, 05:49 AM   #10  
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Well now......the truth emerges. Again? What a surprise. I even know MORE from the managements perspective but my knowledge on that is reserved....by choice. Dan Carey is your worst enemy. He cuts your wrists while they are tied behind your back. Bobs point on seniority is spot on and rather prophetic considering not hearing from him for over a year.

Welcome to the new American. The Supreme Court will be ruling on public union dues next spring. Private union dues will follow and the Company knows it. Don’t ask me how they know (ha ha). In the next few years guys will be jumping ship from the union and terms of employment will be very different from then on.

Great report from Bob.
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