Trina David, Committee Chair, with Dan Robinson and Brian Harrison, who serve as Committee Representatives, are elected to represent over 1,000 members working at American Airlines in Phoenix.

141 Report: PHX Committee Grows in Strength

Aug 13, 2021

Census numbers released this week show that the city of Phoenix, Arizona is the fastest-growing large city in the United States. Dave Lehive talks to members of the Grievance Committee at Sky Harbor Lodge 2559 to find out how the area’s growth and the challenges presented by the coronavirus in the past year have affected their work. 

Trina David, Committee Chair, with Dan Robinson and Brian Harrison, who serve as Committee Representatives, are elected to represent over 1,000 members working at American Airlines in Phoenix. 

IAM members at American Airlines ratified an industry-leading contract in March 2020, just before the United States and most of the world had to pause to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Brother Brian Harrison, who also serves as an Education Representative for District 141, points out that as a “right to work” state, Arizona has low union density, so many IAM members are working in a union workplace for the first time. Most of them, unlike their counterparts in the East or Midwest, did not grow up in a union household, so the Committee educates members about the role of unions and their value for working people. These anti-worker laws do not apply to workers in the airline industry, which operates under the Railway Labor Act, but their effect on the work culture is still damaging. Dave reminds viewers that the PRO Act, significant pro-labor legislation currently making its way through Congress, would eliminate these state laws and would strengthen organized labor across the nation. 

The Committee members and Shop Stewards of Sky Harbor Lodge 2559 represent members at American Airlines working at the PHX ramp, tower, and cargo. In the past 18 months, the Committee has seen a surge of interest from members who want to become more involved as Shop Stewards. Trina says these members are eager to defend and preserve the benefits of the contract that were hard-won through a years-long negotiation process. 

Communication is a key element of a successful local lodge and committee, and Local 2559 uses a variety of tools, including Facebook Messenger, Slack, and a Google voice hotline. There is a Committee Representative available in person at the airport for 12 hours daily. At the beginning of the pandemic, they also recorded video briefings to keep members informed as information changed quickly. The local has a large space that allows them to continue in-person training sessions with social distancing and following safety protocols. 

Committee members stress the importance of working together with Committees from other stations, and they maintain close contact with their counterparts in CLT, PHL, DEN, and DFW. This helps maintain consistency in the policies at different stations. Committee Chair Trina David mentions that as a “fairly new” committee, these interactions are very important. They also rely on the guidance of AGC Pat Rezler and “Cool Uncle” AGC Mike Maiorino.

“There’s no guidebook,” says Trina, so they learn from leaders and each other.

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