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Old 11-06-2009, 09:26 AM   #1  
PEACH
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Default UAL MEC meltdown - scorched earth

The following are comments from the UAL negotiating committee chairman just prior to being recalled by the UAL MEC. In a classic case of "shoot the messenger", the MEC has repeatedly abrogated their responsibility to vet any agreement prior to send it to the pilots for ratification.

Two weeks ago, the current MEC chairman lost the election for another term (to a current member of the Negotiating Committee). The response was to organize the recall of the Negotiating Committee and replace the committee members with "political appointees" from the current MEC chairman's constituents. In fact, the new Negotiating Committee Chair is currently the Communications Committee Chair (a position also appointed by the MEC chair). The current communications chair is most remembered for the many failed communications/unity initiatives that only served to further divide the pilot group and has no negotiating experience.

Every MEC member that I've talked to is quick to lay blame - not one seems to acknowledge that the line pilot at UAL has lost, and lost big. The process has served to further disenfranchise an already fractured pilot group.

************************************************** **

Negotiating Committee Comments for MEC on Recall
Captain Tim Brown, Negotiating Committee Chairman


The MEC's action today is nothing more than political retribution by some members of the MEC that did not get their way in the MEC Officer elections held three weeks ago. I predict that the same members that did not get their way will be the same members that vote for the Recall of members of the Negotiating Committee. There may be one additional MEC member that joins this group because he is facing his own recall attempt for his support of Captain Wendy Morse.

MEC members that are supporting this recall will maintain that this is not "Political Retribution" to deflect the wrath of the pilot group that disdain these petty politics. These same members have attempted to blame the Committee for a failed TA in 2007. These MEC members have attempted to blame the Committee for the "underwhelming" QWL/Fatigue LOA the MEC passed last April. These members have attempted to blame the Negotiating Committee for a Line Training Captain TA that was a result of Grievance Settlement discussions for the Company's decision to combine LCA's and Standards Captains into one position as management pilots.

Let me take each of these issues one by one and set the facts straight.

Failed 2007 TA
The failed TA in 2007 that these MEC members are blaming the Negotiating Committee for, was not once, not twice, but three times approved by the MEC. Twice the MEC directed the Negotiating Committee UNANIMOUSLY to continue with the Agreement in Principle and to bring it back to the MEC in Final Language format. The MEC knew full well what was in that 2007 TA and twice unanimously told us to continue. The third and final vote was not unanimous but the majority of the MEC accepted the 2007 TA. When the 2007 TA was sent to the pilot group, some MEC members took full responsibility and told their members that the 2007 TA was what the MEC directed the Negotiating Committee to do. The other MEC members took no responsibility for their previous two unanimous votes and blamed the Negotiating Committee for the TA. The previous LEC Vice Chairman from DEN actually told some of his members that if the pilots voted it down, the Company would come running to the pilots with a 20% pay raise because they couldn't operate the airline during the summer. This despite the fact that the SSC specifically informed the MEC that the only consequence of voting down the TA was an increase in the “W” flying and 8-L-6 flying in the widebody fleet. These MEC members ignored the SSC and told their pilots that we had more leverage than we had. In the end, the SSC was correct these MEC members were wrong and the Company operated the 2007 Summer schedule without falling apart using the backup plan of W's and 8-L-6's.

The QWL/Fatigue LOA
During the MEC Officer Election process, the C#34 Chairman's nomination speech for Captain Wallach gave praise to Captain Wallach for bringing a number of great agreements to the pilot group and specifically mentioned in that list of great agreements was the QWL/Fatigue LOA.

In the C#34 letter to their pilots, the C#34 LEC officers said that they found the QWL/ Fatigue LOA to be "underwhelming" despite just three weeks earlier stating it was a good agreement. It can't be both ways to suit political purposes. It can't be a great agreement for Captain Wallach's nomination speech and be underwhelming when blaming the Negotiating Committee.

Line Training Captain TA
In the C#57 letter to their pilots announcing this recall, the C#57 Captain Rep and First Officer Rep stated that "The MEC was told that this [the Line Training Captain TA] was a good agreement, and that if we did not sign it, the company would impose its own industrially advantaged LTC program." Let me be clear, the Negotiating Committee did NOT say it was a good agreement. The Negotiating Committee actually stated that we didn't care which way the MEC voted on the agreement. The Negotiating Committee reminded the MEC that the LTC TA was a result of Grievance Settlement discussions and the Company felt they had a good case to win the grievance which reduced their need to bargain a better agreement. The Negotiating Committee also reminded the MEC that the VP of Flight Ops told ALPA that absent an agreement that he would impose his own plan and if the MEC wanted to call his bluff they had to vote down the LTC TA.

Despite what C#57 said in their letter, the Negotiating Committee never said that Company would impose the TA on the pilots. We said the Company stated that absent an agreement they would impose their more onerous Company plan for making all the LTC's non-ALPA represented management pilots. During the MEC's deliberations for giving the Negotiating Committee direction for the LTC TA, there was significant concern that increasing the management ranks by over 150 pilots would greatly increase the number of possible management pilots that might operate during the strike that we will most assuredly be facing in a few short years. In Tuesday's discussions with the Company regarding the LTC TA, the Company said they would go ahead with their plans for their LTC program but would undo that and honor the TA if the MEC ratified it. The Negotiating Committee decided to bring the LTC TA to the MEC for consideration with NO recommendation because we didn't want to be the decision maker for the MEC on greatly increasing the management pilot ranks. The Negotiating Committee also reminded the MEC that the contract currently has no contractual restrictions for the Standards Captains and at least the LTC TA provided some restrictions and made these pilots ALPA represented pilots and the undeniable improvement in PI Scope.

Going Forward:
We fully expect that the MEC has made its decision and we don't expect these comments will change anyone's mind. We need to remind the MEC that it's not wrong to bring agreements to the MEC to vote down. There are some decisions that must rest fully with the MEC and the MEC should not blame the Negotiating Committee for bringing to the MEC those decisions. Up or down decisions such as this LTC TA are inappropriate for the Negotiating Committee to make. Bringing the MEC issues to decide will happen more and more frequently as the United Pilots get closer to a new Contract and the MEC shouldn't be blaming the Negotiating Committee for bringing those decisions to the MEC ... they should be applauding the Negotiating Committee for giving the MEC the opportunity to express their political will and send strong messages to the Company.

Conclusion
We started these comments by stating that this recall attempt was political retribution for the election of Captain Morse to the MEC Chairman position instead of re-electing Captain Wallach. There is an old adage that says "If it walks like a duck, and if it talks like a duck, and smells like a duck ... it's a duck." To be sure, this recall of the Negotiating Committee so soon after the MEC Officer election walks like "political retribution", it talks like political retribution and it smells like political retribution ... IT IS political retribution. Outgoing MEC Chairman Captain Wallach actually stated to the MEC Secretary Treasurer Captain Genovese this recall was political retribution for Wendy's election.

If certain members of the MEC need to spill blood to get past this then so be it ... but let's be honest with one another and not go on denying that this is pure and simple political retribution.

I've enjoyed serving the pilots of United Airlines. I wish us all luck because we are all going to need it.”
 
Old 11-06-2009, 09:27 AM   #2  
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And the rebuttal


************************************************** *

November 5, 2009

Dear Fellow Pilots,

As an organized body, the Air Line Pilots Association operates under an adopted set of rules called the ALPA Constitution and By-Laws (C&BL). These rules specify procedures and requirements for such things as ALPA membership, National officers, and financial obligations of members. The ALPA Constitution and By-Laws also provide for the establishment, election, and recall of officers of the Master Executive Council and of Local Executive Councils. ALPA also operates under the requirements of its Administration Manual. As a member of ALPA, the United MEC also operates under the Constitution and By-Laws and augments where necessary the role of the United MEC, its officers and committees. This is done through the UAL MEC Policy Manual Volumes I and II. The stated purpose of the Policy Manuals is “to provide rules and procedures for the MEC, its Officers and Committees to assist them in carrying out the primary duty of the MEC as a coordinating council for all the pilots of United Airlines.” The MEC members have the power of review of any changes and any additions, deletions or corrections to the manuals and two-thirds vote is required for any policy changes. As elected officials of a union, all MEC members have a thorough and complete understanding of the ALPA Constitution and its By-Laws, and of the UAL-MEC Policy Manuals. Failure to have such a grasp could be compared to allowing a commercial pilot to fly passengers without his knowledge of federal aviation regulations.

The C&BL, the Administrative Manuals, and the policy manuals were created and have evolved to bring order to a revolving group of varied elected representatives who bring their vested interests to the MEC table. Without these prescribed manners, there would be chaos and very little accomplishments. Just as there are procedures in electing officers and committee members, there are procedures to effect changes to officers and committee members ahead of their term expirations. The first point to make clear, keeping in mind the previous sentence, is that the MEC Master Chairman serves at the pleasure of the MEC. While the Master Chairman has the ability to call a special meeting at any time, so may 30% of the members of an MEC, as was the case on November 5, 2009. This MEC office received sufficient number of requests for a special meeting and, in accordance with ALPA’s C&BL, a meeting was called with the agenda being to 1) recall members of the Negotiating Committee and, 2) if vacancies occurred there-from, to elect members to fill those vacancies. The meeting was held at the DePaul University, 3166 S. River Road, Des Plaines, IL. There the MEC members debated and voted on resolutions to recall two members of the negotiating committee. To help prevent accusations of partial rulings on matters related to the C&BL, the Admin manual or the MEC’s policy manuals, a parliamentarian from ALPA National Legal was at the head table.

Prior to the Special Meeting, there was a flurry of updates from each of the Councils to their individual members. Because members may only see updates from his specific Council, all Councils’ updates have been attached to this letter. Here, you may read the diametric views from each Council. Some Councils communicate to their members with reasoned arguments, some Councils communicate with counterarguments, and still others resorted to name-calling and the casting of aspersions without regard to facts or the agenda.

According to the makers of the resolution, there has been some disillusion with the Negotiating Committee since the 2007 Tentative Agreement that was overwhelmingly rejected by you the members through your right of membership ratification. Since most Negotiating Committee briefings with the MEC are in closed session, it is difficult to discuss specific instances of the MEC’s frustrations, but the latest occurred with the Line Training Captain Tentative Agreement (LTC TA). I had not seen a copy of the final language of the completed TA LOA until it was released to the MEC despite being an ex-officio member of the Negotiating Committee. This was a break from past practice. Due to the elections of officers and committee members, and the full agenda consuming most of the October MEC meeting, the LTC TA was not discussed with the MEC until late Thursday afternoon and was carried over to Friday morning. The MEC elected to resubmit the TA to further negotiations since it did not, in many MEC members’ minds, comply with earlier direction given to the Negotiating Committee by the MEC. Because less than half of the MEC members were present on Friday morning (though all were represented by proxy), no further work was accomplished on the TA.

The members of the MEC who believed a change was necessary in the Negotiating Committee felt that the earlier the change occurred, the quicker the transition would be completed, particularly with the light holiday schedule. Also, because the Negotiating Committee is unique, the ALPA Administrative Manual and ALPA National ruled that an election could take place immediately if vacancies occurred in the Committee. Hence, the addition of “election of new members” was added to the Special Meeting agenda. The MEC, under its authority, decided elections should occur immediately to fill vacancies created by the recall. Each member of the MEC may make a nomination. It was felt that delaying the election to January or April would have prolonged the process unnecessarily.

The motions to recall the Negotiating Committee Chairman and one member were carried. Captain Jay Heppner was elected to Negotiating Committee Chairman and First Officer Phil Otis was elected as a member. First Officer Brad Hunnewell remains the Committee’s Vice Chairman and Captain Wendy Morse remains a member even though she has recused herself from negotiations with the Company. Her replacement is expected to be elected in January.

Finally, allow me to address some of the frequent disparaging remarks heard surrounding this special meeting and election. First, it is not about political retribution. The MEC Officer election is over, and the MEC is expected to move forward with its results. However, as pointed out earlier, the MEC’s responsibility is not limited by timeframes or election results. Its obligations and responsibilities continue throughout their terms. I have openly supported all committee members who were elected by the MEC throughout my term. I even supported those who the MEC sought to recall including the Legislative, Uniform, and International Committee Chairmen; but again the powers of the Master Chairman could not prevent these Committee people from resigning to avoid recall. Furthermore, despite complaints I received from some MEC members and from some members since my election two years ago concerning the Negotiating Committee Chairman, I defended him also. This recall effort has received extraordinary attention due to its timing and to the actual entire recall process rather than resignations, despite the handwriting on the wall supporting the recall.

There have also been accusations of “scorched earth” tactics by me and some members of the MEC. As the election results bear out, most MEC Committees remained intact – hardly scorched earth. I have told one Committee Chairman to stand down – the SPC Chairman. The reasons were twofold. One is that since the new MEC administration was elected as a change of direction, the purpose and direction of the SPC have not been yet redefined. But more importantly, as was borne out of the election campaign, the United MCF account has been depleted by almost half without, despite accusations to the contrary, oversight by me or even the MEC Secretary-Treasurer. I have requested an audit of the MCF’s $5 million by ALPA National. Additionally, it is my duty and responsibility to not let go unchecked any committee member’s action to usurp the trust of the pilots and use his office for personal or political gain.

Finally, there were quotes attributed to me that were taken out of context and used to implicate my involvement in the recalls. That is simply not true.

Unity must be created. Just because you want it, doesn’t mean you’ll get it. The MEC will get past this. Just as there was disgruntling over an 8-7 vote for the Master Chairman last month, there will be disgruntling over an 8-7 vote to recall the Negotiating Committee. In the end, both sides of the MEC table are convinced they are doing the right thing for their pilots, and in the end, the pilots will be best served by a cohesive MEC. Hopefully, this is the first step toward that recovery.

In unity,


Captain Steve Wallach
Chairman, UAL-MEC
 
Old 11-06-2009, 09:40 AM   #3  
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From the incoming MEC chair (and current member of the Negotiating Committee):

************************************************** ***

November 5, 2009

Dear Fellow Pilots:

While I don’t take office until January 1, I would like to address today’s recall by the MEC of the Negotiating Committee Chairman and a Negotiating Committee member. The MEC replaced these gentlemen by electing Captain Jay Heppner to the position of Negotiating Committee Chairman and First Officer Phil Otis to the member position.

Regardless of your viewpoint on this action, I reaffirm the pilots’ resolve for an industry leading contract and I will execute upon that resolve with Jay, Phil and Brad Hunnewell, who is currently on the Committee. I welcome Jay and Phil to their new positions, and I look forward to a constructive and productive working relationship. There are no thanks enough for the personal and family sacrifices made by the gentlemen serving on the Negotiating Committee as previously constituted for many years of service in a thankless job, and the pilot group is better off for their having served.

I am committed to having the strongest possible negotiating team to serve the pilots of United Airlines. With that in mind, to help the new members gain experience with negotiations upon joining our ongoing Section 6 negotiations midstream, beginning January 1 my first order of business as your incoming MEC Chairman will be to assign additional professional negotiators to our contract negotiation process. The team will thus comprise the pilot members of the Negotiating Committee working side by side with the best possible attorneys with specialized backgrounds in airline contracts.

As I have extensive Negotiating Committee experience, and have served in all positions of the Committee inside and outside of Section 6, beginning in January the entire Committee of both pilot and professional negotiators will be overseen by me, as your MEC Chairman and ad-hoc member of the Negotiating Committee, as well as by the MEC. Once new committee members gain experience, an assessment will be made as to the best negotiating methodology going forward.

We all recognize the need to put an end to working under the 2003 contract, which was negotiated not by the Negotiating Committee but by a Bankruptcy Committee with no negotiating background created by the then Master Chairman.

The process of MEC elections, whether Officer or Committee elections, is one where, after the vote is counted, we need to accept the outcome as decided by the members of the MEC that you elect as Council Officers and move on in unity. I am asking each of you to engage and to assist your fellow pilots in finding solutions in a constructive manner.

There is much to gain by focusing all of our collective energy on the task at hand. Moving our pilot group forward toward a productive and successful future is my primary focus and I ask every one of you to join me in this effort. True unity does not exclude any pilot on the property or on furlough. We are all United pilots and need to work as a team regardless of our differences of opinion. To do otherwise gives the Company potential power they do not merit.

Fraternally and in Unity,

Captain Wendy Morse
MEC Chairman - Elect
 
Old 11-06-2009, 10:55 AM   #4  
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You guys should join APA. You would fit right in.

We could all go on Jerry Springer together. Recall presidents, Recall MEC members, fire negotiating committee members then re-hire them then they resign, paternity tests, love triangles, secret lovers.........
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:37 AM   #5  
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I'm afraid scorched earth is just the beginning. UAL Alpa is in shambles. I think Glenn Fletcher Tilton would love nothing less than replacing the pilots at United, or at the very least, destroying Alpa.

For those at Delta, American, and Continental watching from the outside, take note of what Tilton is doing w Air Lingus. If he succeeds, you are next.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:16 PM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fritzthepilot View Post
I'm afraid scorched earth is just the beginning. UAL Alpa is in shambles. I think Glenn Fletcher Tilton would love nothing less than replacing the pilots at United, or at the very least, destroying Alpa.

For those at Delta, American, and Continental watching from the outside, take note of what Tilton is doing w Air Lingus. If he succeeds, you are next.
I don't know about American and Continental, at Delta our scope language prohibits a deal like Aer Lingus. We have the tightest language in the industry concerning Joint Ventures and work hand in hand with the Air France and KLM unions. We have had MEC meetings in Paris and Amsterdam and their unions have come to our MEC meetings in the states.
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:23 PM   #7  
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The reason this is happening to United is because they are not the major customer of the Airline Pilots Association, (ALPA). Look for Paul Rice to be purged soon and a Delta rep to be appointed.

Delta pilots are the major dues payers, thus are the focus.
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:34 PM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfaromeo View Post
I don't know about American and Continental, at Delta our scope language prohibits a deal like Aer Lingus. We have the tightest language in the industry concerning Joint Ventures and work hand in hand with the Air France and KLM unions. We have had MEC meetings in Paris and Amsterdam and their unions have come to our MEC meetings in the states.
Midwest Airlines had scope language also, their ALPA advice was useless.

Your arrogance on thinking the same will not happen to you is the historical, present and future Achilles heel of ALPA. Achilles' heel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:34 PM   #9  
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What a riot.... AA and BA with Iberia? Ha ha ha...

OK kool-aide drinkers... other than dues payers... who does ALPA really care about?

Wait!!! there's the country club dues... there's the AMEX bill to be paid... Oh and the Pravda propaganda advertising campain bills due too.

Go in-house works good and last a long time.
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:58 PM   #10  
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Click on the link below, click on the notice to United pilots, then click on "click here" for the injunction. ALPA has had this on their man er main page for a year now.

My point, ALPA is impotent as a labor union and United pilots are not worth the risk of the ALPA national unions 9 to 5 Monday afternoon to Friday morning golden goose job.

ALPA is irrelevant.

Alpa > About ALPA
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