141 Report: Union-Made Safety Program at American Airlines

141 Report: Union-Made Safety Program at American Airlines

141 Report: Union-Made Safety Program at American Airlines

YouTube
28 January 2022

This week on the 141 Report, the topic is the Ground Safety Action Program at American Airlines. Association Safety Advocates, IAM 141/1776 Dennis Spencer and TWU Local 568 Mitch Lieberman brief the viewers about concerns Association members have with safety reporting at American.

IAM District Lodge 141 Report with Host Dave Lehive is a weekly podcast featuring Machinist Union Members and Allies of the Labor Movement. Our Video report airs every Friday at 2:00 PM EST (1:00 CST) on Facebook and Youtube and is also on Spotify.

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141 Report: Paws for Pascarella

141 Report: Paws for Pascarella

Our 141 report this week takes us to IAM local lodge 1759 in Herndon, Virginia, as the membership conducted the annual Paws for Pascarella Guide Dogs of America charity event.

 

141 Report: Paws for Pascarella

Our 141 report this week takes us to IAM local lodge 1759 in Herndon, Virginia, as the membership conducted the annual Paws for Pascarella Guide Dogs of America charity event.

The video report begins with an update from District President Mike Klemm, who traveled to Dulles Airport to conduct a station visit with the United Airlines membership. In the Video podcast, Brother Klemm informs the membership about this week’s trip to the United Airlines hub at Dulles Airport and Local 1759.  

 On Tuesday, Mike attended the monthly Lodge meeting and spoke to the members about the vaccine mandates at American and United Airlines. He also talked about the status of the ongoing negotiations at Spirit Airlines. Spirit has recently entered mediation proceedings.

Mike said, “We’ll be working with the mediation board to hopefully get a tentative agreement for our members of Spirit to vote on.” Brother Klemm also talked about the upcoming negotiation with United Airlines. Mike stated, “We should be seeing a communication coming out on that in the very near future.” 

Mike continues the report by saying he went over to the airport to visit multiple shifts and multiple briefings for members at United. He answered questions about the mandate and vaccine, as well as responding to questions about negotiations. Mike said it was “a real good visit.” Mike walked the property with 141 VP at East Barb Martin, who also serves as the committee chairman in Dulles, Mike Cyscon, the AGC assigned to the ramp, and Rich Creighton, who serves as AGC to customer service above the wing. Joe Washburn, the southeast regional EAP, also joined Mike on the visit. Brother Klemm thanked the local committee, Bill Hoover, Bill Peer, Sherry Curtis, President Bill Huston, and his entire 1759 executive board for their hospitality. 

Mike then talked about the fundraising event for guide dogs that he attended. The 1759 Charity event was In honor of his former AGC, Rich Pascarella, who unfortunately passed away a few years ago. “Rich not only was a phenomenal union rep and an outstanding AGC but also a personal friend of mine and it’s actually his birthday today.” Mike said of the beloved unionist.

The following guest speaker was Sherrie Curtis from local 1759, the UA Customer Service Committee person at Dulles Airport. “We’re here tonight celebrating our second annual event for Rich Pascarella.” The Charity Top Golf event took place in Loudoun County, having about 60 people that showed up to celebrate and raise funds for Guide Dogs of America. IAM members came from Boston, Newark, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Sherrie reports that Rich Passcarella families came to town driving in from Pittsburgh to celebrate a good time with us. 

Donations came rolling in from Locals 914 in Newark and 1776 in Philadelphia, donating $500 each to sponsor a golfing bay to support GDA. 

In the last part of the report, Dave talks to 1759 UA member Ron Rukenbrod who describes how he and his committee put the event together. He spoke of getting donations from local stores, wineries, and brewhouses for many charity baskets they put together. Ron said, “If you send out 100 letters and you only get 20 people to donate, you’re still 20 people ahead. So it’s always good to just overextend. Ron speaks about the support from the 141 Community Service Director, Cristina Odoardi, saying, “she’s been wonderful reaching out to us; what can I do? What can I do? We’ve been very fortunate”. 

If your local is interested in putting a community service event together, be sure to contact Sister Cristina at codoardi@iam141.org.

DOJ: JetBlue, American Airlines Deal is a “De-Facto Merger.”

DOJ: JetBlue, American Airlines Deal is a “De-Facto Merger.”

DOJ: JetBlue, American Airlines Deal is a “De-Facto Merger.”

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This sweeping partnership is unprecedented among domestic airlines and amounts to a de facto merger between American and JetBlue.

The U.S. Department of Justice, together with Attorneys General in six states and the District of Columbia, is suing to stop the virtual merger of  American Airlines and JetBlue. The two airlines are trying to consolidate their Boston and New York City operations with the “Northeast Partnership,” as the arrangement is called.

In a civil antitrust complaint, the DOJ argues that the partnership will act as a de-facto merger, eliminating important competition in the New York and Boston markets, and greatly diminish competition between the two carriers everywhere they interact. The deal would create a level of coordination that violates antitrust laws, according to the DOJ.

If allowed to proceed, the near-merger will further consolidate an already highly concentrated industry.

Federal law prevents a single company, entity, or partnership from eliminating competition within a given market, and creating a monopoly on goods and services. Monopolistic power allows companies to completely control the prices and availability of their products, creating dangerous economic bottlenecks that can destabilize markets. According to the DOJ allegations, this is exactly what American Airlines has been attempting to do for years. American executives have created informal mergers since the airline cannot legally control more markets through a legal merger process. 

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union has expressed concern that the informal merger between American Airlines and JetBlue could threaten the jobs of JetBlue Ground Operations Crewmembers. In examples where the two airlines have overlapping services, union workers at American would be impossible to remove from their jobs, thanks to unbreakable job protections that American ramp workers negotiated and ratified in 2020. However, non-union JetBlue Crewmembers would have no such job protections, and could potentially be fired and replaced with the unionized workers at American. 

JetBlue does not formally lay off non-union employees, the company just fires them. 

From the Department of Justice statement:
“Millions of consumers across America rely on air travel every day for work, to visit family, or to take vacations. Fair competition is essential to ensuring they can fly affordably and safely,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “In an industry where just four airlines control more than 80% of domestic air travel, American Airlines’ ‘alliance’ with JetBlue is, in fact, an unprecedented maneuver to further consolidate the industry. It would result in higher fares, fewer choices, and lower quality service if allowed to continue. The complaint filed today demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to ensuring economic opportunity and fairness by protecting consumers and competition.”

“The Northeast Alliance would eliminate significant competition in this important industry,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “This sweeping partnership is unprecedented among domestic airlines and amounts to a de facto merger between American and JetBlue in Boston and New York City. The impact on consumers extends far beyond Massachusetts and New York, as evidenced by the participation and our ongoing cooperation with Attorneys General from across the country, including Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia, in this lawsuit.” 

The Northeast Alliance combines American’s and JetBlue’s operations at four major airports: Boston Logan, John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty. The airlines have committed to coordinate “on all aspects” of network planning, including which routes to fly, when to fly them, who will fly them and what size planes to use for each flight. The two airlines will also share revenues earned at these airports, eliminating their incentives to compete. The Northeast Alliance will also allow the parties to pool their gates and takeoff and landing authorizations, known as “slots.” According to the complaint, this unprecedented combination would raise prices and reduce choices for air passengers traveling to and from Boston and New York City. 

As alleged in the complaint, American is the largest airline in the world. Just four airlines — American, Delta, United, and Southwest — collectively control 80% of domestic air travel. According to the complaint, American has relentlessly pursued an industry consolidation strategy in the United States and worldwide. Unable to combine with foreign airlines through formal mergers, American has pursued consolidation through a series of international joint ventures. The complaint alleges that JetBlue’s CEO stated, “it may look as if a dozen or more airlines [are] providing service. But when you go under the surface, it’s really just three big mega-alliances controlling 87% of the traffic…Consumers effectively have very little choice in markets where JVs have a stranglehold – and they also face higher fares.” The Justice Department alleges that American now seeks to import this strategy to domestic air travel.

According to the complaint, JetBlue has positioned itself as an essential source of competition against American and the other large airlines, particularly in the northeast. According to the complaint, JetBlue’s reputation for lowering prices is so established that the industry refers to it as the “JetBlue Effect.” JetBlue’s internal estimates show that it has saved customers at least $10 billion since its launch, offering lower fares and better service and forcing its competitors to do the same.     

According to the complaint, the Northeast Alliance will cause hundreds of millions of dollars in harm to air passengers across the country through higher fares and reduced choice. The complaint alleges that JetBlue and American planned to compete more intensely before entering the Northeast Alliance, including Boston, New York City, and other areas. If allowed to proceed, the Northeast Alliance would eliminate this important existing and future competition — creating, as American’s senior executives put it, “further domestic consolidation.” The Northeast Alliance will dampen American’s incentive to expand service elsewhere in its network and will significantly reduce JetBlue’s incentives to challenge its much more significant partner across the country.  

American Airlines Group Inc. is a Delaware corporation with its headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. In 2019, it flew over 215 million passengers to approximately 365 locations worldwide, earning about $45 billion in revenues.  

JetBlue Airways Corporation is a Delaware corporation with its headquarters in Long Island City, New York. In 2019, JetBlue flew over 42 million passengers to approximately 100 locations worldwide, earning about $8 billion in revenue. 

 

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VIDEO: Passenger Screams at Flight Crews, Chews Mask, Gets Arrested

VIDEO: Passenger Screams at Flight Crews, Chews Mask, Gets Arrested

VIDEO: Passenger Screams at Flight Crews, Chews Mask, Gets Arrested

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The meltdown tantrum adds to a year of record levels of violent attacks on airline workers.

61-year-old Timothy Armstrong was arrested and released with a citation for public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

(Play Video on Tik Tok)  61-Year-old Timothy Armstrong was arrested after a drunken, racist rampage on an American Airlines Flight.

On Monday, police arrested and ticketed Timothy Armstrong after a bizarre racist rant onboard a flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City. The incident was captured on a cellphone camera and shared on social media, where it immediately went viral. American Airlines flight 1802 had 162 passengers and six crew members on board at the time. The flight landed safely at Salt Lake City International Airport.

So far, authorities have not charged Armstrong with intimidating a flight crew, a federal offense.

Tik Tok user Dennis Busch, a resident of Salt Lake City, filmed the incident and posted it to his account on Monday, where it quickly earned 2.3 million views.

“To clarify,” Busch said of the video, “he was being a racist jerk to a couple of asian passengers before I started filming.”

According to Busch, “He began by yelling at the Asian woman in front of me to sit down when she was standing to deal with a back issue.”

“He proceeded to tell multiple flight attendants that she and her companion ‘didn’t belong here,'” Busch continued. “After asking him to calm down the man went into a complete meltdown of racist, sexist and belligerent comments, culminating in his arrest at the gate.”

The video shows Armstrong growling and chewing at his facemask before getting out of his seat to berate flight attendants and other passengers. A member of the flight crew at one point ordered him to return to his seat. As he did so, he shouted “Joe Biden? Really?” at other passengers.

Upon returning to his seat, Armstrong seemed to go into a drunken stupor, apologizing for his behavior and repeatedly mumbling, “America,” until the police arrived to arrest him.

Busch thanked the flight crew for their composure in handling the incident. “We were lucky to have such a well-trained crew who kept their cool throughout the flight,” he said

“The flight landed safely at (Salt Lake City) where local law enforcement removed the disruptive passenger from the aircraft,” American Airlines said in a statement. “We thank our crew for their professionalism and our customers for their understanding.”

Upon landing, police boarded the plane and detained Armstrong on drunk and disorderly charges.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers has been a leading voice in calls to increase penalties for attacks on airline workers. IAMAW District 141 Legislative Director, David Roderick sits on an airport labor committee tasked with dealing with air rage. “We are working with other unions to coordinate an industry-wide way to handle the rise in attacks on airline workers,” Roderick explained. “On Saturday, we had a meeting with the Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO Trefere Gebre, along with 20 representatives from other unions,” Roderick said. “We discussed some of the many concerns we have in the transportation industry, which seems to change every day,” Roderick said. 

Since the beginning of this year, the FAA has fined unruly passengers more than $1 million for similar outbursts. Since January 1 of this year, the agency has logged just under 4,000 reports of violent and abusive incidents involving passengers. About 3/4s of the attacks were motivated by federal mask requirements, which have been extended to January 2022.

The Machinists Non-Partisan Political League works to drive the interests of airline workers through legislation and public advocacy efforts. The MNPL is funded entirely through voluntary contributions from members like you. Please consider recurring, automatic payroll-deducted contributions of any amount today. Every dollar helps the cause. 

 

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The Ongoing Pandemic Spells Trouble for Airlines

The Ongoing Pandemic Spells Trouble for Airlines

The Ongoing Pandemic Spells Trouble for Airlines

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While this has been a summer of recovery for the nation’s airlines, there are mounting signs that the party could be over. Despite July being a hopeful month for the carrier, American Airlines recently told investors that August numbers would be weaker than expected. 

At a recent Raymond James investor conference, American’s Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Raja blamed the slowdown in bookings on the surging number of new COVID cases. According to the TSA, air travel has seen a steady decline since early August. About 1.5 million air travelers passed through TSA checkpoints on Tuesday, compared to 2.5 million on August 15, just ten days prior. American stock is currently holding steady at 20.27.

According to Raja, the lower travel numbers are something that airlines would expect to see in mid-September when traffic tends to slow down. In this case, however, cancellations are also on the rise – possibly indicating a systemic reduction in demand. 

Raja said the lower than expected revenue was squarely due to the increasing number of COVID-19 infections, spurred by the highly infectious Delta Variant. Spirit, Southwest, and Frontier have also told investors they expected the ongoing pandemic to weaken their Autumn outlooks. At least one airline catering company has already announced plans to soon lay off about 200 employees due to the impact that COVID is having on airlines. 

There is no question that airlines are improving financially. On Sunday, more travelers passed through TSA checkpoints than in 2019, before the Pandemic began. However, each day seems to bring new travel restrictions as state and local destinations are inundated with new COVID 19 cases. While air travel isn’t plummeting as it did last March, there is also no question that airlines could be in a much better position without the Pandemic.

Airlines are uniquely vulnerable to the economic effects of COVID-19 and were among the hardest-hit businesses throughout the pandemic. In 2020, three of the largest airlines reported losses totaling a staggering $14 billion. Last year, virtually all airline workers in the U.S., from pilots and flight attendants to baggage handlers and customer service agents, got much of their paychecks from taxpayers thanks to the Payroll Support Program, part of the CARES Act. As case numbers get closer to 2020 levels, it becomes increasingly likely that airlines could once again consider mass layoffs to be a reasonable option. 

Moreover, deaths and hospitalizations are ravaging airline workplaces. According to Ed Bastian, the CEO of Delta Air Lines, each employee that gets hospitalized with COVID-19 costs airlines an average of $50,000. Widespread infections among employees that perform key operational functions, such as pilots and control tower employees, could cripple an airline almost overnight. All of this makes unvaccinated employees an extreme financial risk for carriers.

So far, American Airlines has not announced plans to require vaccinations for its 100,000 employees, making it more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19, including health care and liability insurance costs. Other airlines, such as Air Canada, Cathay Airlines, United, Frontier, and Hawaiian, have drafted policies requiring at least some form of vaccine requirements. Delta is raising insurance premiums for unvaccinated employees by $200 a month in a move that a wide range of employers are now considering. 

Most of the largest employers in the U.S. now require employee vaccinations, ensuring that widespread infections do not disrupt their workplaces. The list includes McDonald’s, Google, Uber, Lyft, Netflix, UPS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Disney. The largest single employer in the U.S. is the Federal Government, which also requires vaccinations of armed forces members, employees, and contractors.

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