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Old 12-14-2016, 04:40 AM   #1  
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Default Straight talk from LAX Council 16

From LAX Council 16:

December 13, 2016

“STRAIGHT TALK”

In the interest of transparency, we would like to address a recent open letter published by the Negotiating Committee in response to accusations contained in Council 81 (SLC) Chairman’s Letter published on December 8, immediately following the MEC officer elections. Normally, “airing dirty laundry” of MEC politics is of questionable value to our constituents, however, the assertions contained in the Council 81 Chairman’s Letter impugn the integrity of the master chairman, Negotiating Committee, and the entire negotiating process. Your Los Angeles Council 16 representatives have received numerous e-mails, texts, and phone calls as a result of the Council 81 Chairman’s Letter. Accordingly, we feel obliged to set the record straight for the benefit of our Council 16 pilots.

The Negotiating Committee’s letter of response to the Council 81 Chairman’s Letter is contained here in italics (format changes only):
__________________________________________________ ______________________

Gentlemen of the MEC,

This past Thursday, Salt Lake City representative Michael Poggi authored a communication containing several factual mistruths and accusations that reflect harshly on the conduct of the Delta MEC, the MEC administration, and the Negotiating Committee. His claims impugn the process and very basis of our recently negotiated contract agreement, and by so doing, call into question the entire organization's ability to effectively bargain on behalf of our members going forward. As elected servants of the MEC, we owe you our dedicated work and honest analyses of any and all negotiating factors, in order to help you best do yours. We are obligated to directly contend Captain Poggi's statement, and to provide a clear synopsis of what this episode and others like it entail.


Regarding the following written statements by Captain Poggi:

“I have a fiduciary responsibility in representing you. My resolve to meet that responsibility was continuously challenged by an administration that on many occasions failed to provide me requested information to base decisions on.”

To the best we can discern, this claim has to do with two very general statements he made, first midstream, and then again very late in our process, about "not getting costing data" related to the contract negotiations. The fact of the matter is that he has been offered full access, analyses, and explanation of all costing aspects of the project whenever he requested. The real problem has tended to be that he does not demonstrate the modeling acumen or economic literacy to frame pertinent inquiries, or seem to understand the fundamental answers he is provided. His claim here is simply false.

“We (the LEC reps) were told to use polling data until it didn’t align with the narrative coming from the administration and the Negotiating Committee.”

This statement is also categorically false. The affirmation of that is obvious: 1) no move was made at any time by any member of the MEC to act against the Negotiating Committee or Administration as would be called for if such a clear violation of the will of the membership had occurred; 2) the MEC willfully ratified the Tentative Agreement by a vote of 15–4; 3) 95% of the pilot membership subsequently ratified the TA at a record approval of 82%. The agreement undeniably lies within the footprint of our very thorough polling of the pilot group.

"Moves were made during negotiations that were outside the direction of the MEC body. When we attempted to stop the “bleeding,” we were accused of micromanaging. When we gave leeway, we surrendered contract language."

Negotiators do not define, finalize or accept any agreement; the Delta pilots (through their elected representatives) do. Throughout the negotiating process, the MEC determined and provided direction, along the way modified it, and in the end strongly approved the work product of the Negotiating Committee.

Before the final negotiations of this contract, there were a handful of items worked at the edge of direction. Two were identified in process as the result of internal miscommunication and were immediately withdrawn. Two others were part of early agreements in principle knowingly accepted and ratified by the MEC. Another pair were designated for retraction from the AIPs by the MEC, and indeed were.

In the very final hours of negotiations, two items were determined by your negotiators to be both essential to secure the deal, and to be in keeping with the progressive direction the MEC had given throughout the process. In the end, they were accepted and approved by the MEC (and subsequently, by the Delta pilots).

“We were told that the AIPs were not final, but when they didn’t meet your needs, as evidenced by polling, we were told we couldn’t change them.”

Like the entire agreement, the AIPs were not “final” until ratified. However, a comprehensive negotiation process does require sequentially and progressively settling items. When some MEC members sought to regress from settled positions, the Negotiating Committee responsibly described the projected consequences, affording the MEC the ability to thoughtfully choose its course. Neither the Negotiating Committee nor the MEC Administration has any authority or ability to tell the MEC that they “can't change” anything. There was never any targeted polling conducted on any of the AIP items considered for retraction. And the 82% membership ratification actually does confirm that there is very little of significant distaste to the broad span of our pilot group in the net agreement.

“I’ll describe John’s leadership style as autocratic. The MEC chairman, by Policy Manual, works for the MEC. I felt that the process leading up to the TA was more of a manipulation to get us where the chairman thought we should go.”

The entire Negotiating Committee aptly responded to Captain Poggi about this statement: “Your Council Update paints John Malone as a master manipulator who did whatever it took to get the TA deal done. It paints the Negotiating Committee as willing accomplices with no regard for process, and it paints the MEC as hapless dupes incapable of effective oversight. If the things that you allege happened, why did the MEC allow it; why weren't we recalled, and why was the agreement recommended for approval?”

In conclusion, we can only characterize this event, and an increasing number of others like it, bush league, and genuinely costly to the Delta pilots. As negotiators representing the best interest of our party—the MEC and the Delta pilots—we recommend that the body promptly and formally condemn the subject communication and censure the author.

Respectfully submitted,

Steve Uvena
Jeff Anderson
Ron Hay
Heiko Kallenbach


__________________________________________________ _____________________

Clearly, the Council 81 chairman not only impugns the Negotiating Committee, but the entire process to include the MEC, the master chairman, and the entire administration. Captain Poggi’s claims seem to be made with one purpose in mind: to justify voting against Captain Malone that same day in the master chairman election. While Captain Poggi is accountable to the pilots of Council 81 for his actions, when he exceeds those bounds with the claims above, other MEC members have every right to comment. Furthermore, Captain Poggi’s statements run counter to his statement on the MEC floor at the September MEC meeting where he said in open session, “Anyone in this room that takes a different message public needs to be separated from this body. Anyone who hinders the goals/direction of this body needs to [be] removed.”

We will address the accusations individually in order to inform our pilots. First, the accusation that costing data was withheld from any member is false. We received detailed costing data at every juncture, to include each line item relating to the published Agreement-in-Principle items as well as overall costing per year and total for the contract. Any time a discrepancy was suspected or question raised the issue was discussed and resolved.

The second accusation deals with polling data. The monthly polling data was instrumental in forming our negotiating platform. That said, it was not the only tool used, nor was it absolute. We have been consistent in addressing the call for release of polling data; our hired experts in the field have told us repeatedly it is never a good idea to release polling data, and to date we have followed our expert’s advice on this subject. For any MEC member to engage in revisionist history regarding the use of polling data after the fact is disingenuous, or worse, dishonest and subversive.

The third accusation deals with moves allegedly made by the negotiators outside of direction. This is a serious accusation and one that is not taken lightly by your council reps. It is also false in its content and scope. There was one item in the initial AIPs that was determined by the majority of the MEC to be outside the intended direction, and that item was immediately addressed and rectified by the Negotiating Committee chairman. The result was immediately communicated back to the MEC. The broader accusation here is that the negotiators acted without discipline and outside the scope of direction. This is a baseless accusation and insulting to the professionalism of both the negotiators and the MEC in their oversight role. The reference to “micromanaging” is interesting, in that every step along the way to this agreement involved refining and narrowing direction to reach an acceptable outcome. While it could be honestly stated that the MEC did, at times, micromanage the negotiators, it was done with the end state in mind—achieving an acceptable agreement that would be strongly ratified by the pilots. Any denial of some “micromanaging” along the way is, again, revisionist history. While the results may have been achieved sooner had the MEC been able to arrive at that final direction sooner, that answer will never be known. The struggles and politics of the MEC during this process have been well documented, as well as the intervention by the NMB in putting both parties “on ice” for lack of progress. Ironically, the politics involved were addressed by none other than Captain Poggi, again in his September statement in which he said, “Politics is an ugly business. I don’t like it. I don’t support it. But I also know that it is a reality.” Your reps find this statement to be in conflict in that on one hand he states he does not like or support the ugly business of politics, but then he not only acknowledges that it is a reality but then engages in ugly politics during and after the MEC officer elections.

The fourth issue mentioned is the AIPs and polling. Without divulging polling data, your reps can assure you that this accusation made by Captain Poggi is grossly exaggerated. The AIPs were a result of negotiations that were conducted within the direction of the MEC. While dissatisfaction with the AIPs certainly existed, the size and scope of the percentage as revealed by polling was not near the level implied by the above statement. Furthermore, the MEC was never “told” they could not change them, but we were advised of the implications this type of regressive bargaining would likely entail. At the time of the publication of the AIPs it was obvious some MEC members were either unable or unwilling to be completely honest with their pilots in explaining that we were in the midst of negotiations (not a “demand” session) and there would be some give and take. In other words, they were not willing to take ownership of the results and their corresponding role in that process.

The fifth (and perhaps the most egregious) accusation is personal and asserts that Captain Malone’s leadership was “autocratic” in nature and that he was manipulative during the process. Your council reps regard this false claim as inflammatory and in direct conflict with Captain Poggi’s September statement on the final direction that “This effort was collaborative and professional” and could not oppose this mischaracterization of Captain Malone more strenuously. Captain Malone’s leadership throughout his term was cooperative and inclusive. We believe he did a superb job of influencing the pace and tone of the negotiations. Our pilots may find it illustrative that Captain Malone’s most ardent critics were also among those who often attempted to undermine his authority as it pertained to several committees, and who were also calling for a strike vote last June, a mere three months after we filed for mediation. Such an early move to have a strike vote would have been an unmitigated disaster. Luckily the angry sentiment that precipitated the idea was held in check. That is the type of leadership that Captain Malone provided—logical, level-headed, and strategic. Autocratic and manipulative were not attributes displayed or suggested by his actions or demeanor.

We hope you, our constituents, have found this summary helpful and that you understand our desire to set the record straight. We want to emphasize that our intent is not to meddle in other council affairs, but rather to address the broader, false accusations of impropriety or process violations within the MEC. The MEC works for the pilots, and they have the right to know how they are being represented.

The recent MEC officer elections are a matter of record. While some representatives may justify their votes with accusations that cast an unfair characterization of the MEC, your reps will not engage is such destructive rhetoric. The vote is over, the officers will take their posts on January 1, 2017, and the MEC will continue to conduct the business of the pilots. Your reps support the process and will continue to represent the interests of the LAX pilots. Furthermore, your Council 16 reps thoroughly support Captain Bartels as our new MEC chairman and are looking forward to the new MEC and administration for the term beginning on January 1, 2017. We will strive for the unmitigated success in an administration under Captain Bartels and will work to build upon the momentum we have achieved under Contract 2015.

We are always available to talk in person or on the phone. Our next council meeting is at Gulliver’s Restaurant across from John Wayne (SNA) airport on Thursday, January 19. We hope to see you there.

Thank you for your support. Stay informed, stay engaged, and—most importantly—fly safely. We wish you all an enjoyable holiday season and a happy new year!

Fraternally,

Tim, Dan, and Tony
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Old 12-14-2016, 04:47 AM   #2  
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You say you won't engage in "destructive rhetoric" right after engaging in, um, destructive rhetoric.

Last edited by Wuzatforus; 12-14-2016 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 12-14-2016, 04:54 AM   #3  
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The invasion at Normandy on June 6, 1944 was destructive behavior.
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Old 12-14-2016, 04:59 AM   #4  
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I'll go way out on a limb here and say that 80-95% of pilots at DAL don't know about any of this, and couldn't care less. I know I certainly don't. I haven't read any of this.

Fire away
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Old 12-14-2016, 05:44 AM   #5  
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Originally Posted by JamesBond View Post
I'll go way out on a limb here and say that 80-95% of pilots at DAL don't know about any of this, and couldn't care less. I know I certainly don't. I haven't read any of this.

Fire away
Eggs zactly. If they deliver the goods, I don't care how the sausage is made.
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Old 12-14-2016, 06:27 AM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rube View Post
From LAX Council 16:

Furthermore, your Council 16 reps thoroughly support Captain Bartels as our new MEC chairman and are looking forward to the new MEC and administration for the term beginning on January 1, 2017.
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Old 12-14-2016, 06:54 AM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GogglesPisano View Post
Eggs zactly. If they deliver the goods, I don't care how the sausage is made.
The problem is the person we now have in charge has never delivered the goods or produced good outcomes. Even his letters and predictions have all proved basically false over time and he has a history of putting politics ahead of pilots. None of this has any real effect for more senior pilots. I feel sorry for the damage that could befall the bottom two thirds of the list over time.
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:07 AM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingfun View Post
The problem is the person we now have in charge has never delivered the goods or produced good outcomes. Even his letters and predictions have all proved basically false over time and he has a history of putting politics ahead of pilots. None of this has any real effect for more senior pilots. I feel sorry for the damage that could befall the bottom two thirds of the list over time.
He's seen as a hard liner too. This new contract we have will need proper enforcement. The previous leadership was to tactful to take on violations. This should be a good move. I can't wait to see who his choice for contract administration will be. That will say a lot.
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:24 AM   #9  
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Glad I'm not LAX based.
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:31 AM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingfun View Post
The problem is the person we now have in charge has never delivered the goods or produced good outcomes. Even his letters and predictions have all proved basically false over time and he has a history of putting politics ahead of pilots. None of this has any real effect for more senior pilots. I feel sorry for the damage that could befall the bottom two thirds of the list over time.
Let's review.

Your guys voted yes and tried to sell the failed TA as if their lives depended on it.

The No voters on the MEC led the charge to reject the deal.

We achieved hundreds of millions more.

How is that not delivering by Captain Bartels and Captain Brielmann?

Those 2 and the brave pilots who stood with them put hundreds of thousands in your pocket.
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