Hundreds of Union Members Join Forces at SFO

Hundreds of Union Members Join Forces at SFO

Tony Parker, President of Machinists Union Local 1781 holds a CONTRACT NOW sign at an informational picket held at San Franciscos’ International Airport.

Hundreds of Union Members Join Forces at SFO to Demand Fair Contracts

IAM141.org

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (SFO) – On Wednesday, front-line union workers at United came together at SFO Airport for an informational picket to call on the airline to complete long-overdue contract negotiations. Hundreds of union members from every work group at the carrier participated in the rally.

Over the past year, air travelers have seen repeated delays, overbooked flights, and cancellations, among many other woes. According to United Airlines’ front-line workers, the problems passengers face can be placed squarely at the feet of company management, who have built a business model based around short-staffing, unfair wages, and outsourcing. 

“We’re here because we want management to recognize the sacrifices and contributions we have made during the worst downturn in aviation history,” said Roger Phillips, a Pilot at United and spokesman for the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) who organized the picket. “United just announced its fourth-quarter earnings last night, and announced that we made nearly $1 billion for this airline,” he continued. “It’s time for United to reinvest some of that money into the people that created those profits.”

United reported a profit of $843 million in the last quarter of 2022 on total revenue of $12.4 billion. The revenue figure was almost 14% higher than in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the travel industry. The earnings report follows a profit of $942 million, which the Chicago-based carrier posted over the summer. 

Despite the industry-leading income, United executives are demanding wages for fleet and customer service agents that fall far short of what was promised in the lead-up to negotiations. In early 2022, United committed to providing industry-leading wages to its 38,000 fleet and customer-facing employees. However, by the time contract talks began, United was only willing to offer payscales that would be the lowest of the “Big Three” carriers. Wages at United would also fall below those of smaller airlines such as Southwest and Alaska. Low wages allow other airlines to outcompete United for workers in a tight labor market. United is also asking for union members to agree to outsourcing, something that negotiators have flatly refused to consider.

On Wednesday, labor tensions at the carrier led hundreds of workers to hold an informational picket at San Francisco International Airport. Marching alongside Pilots were Fleet and Customer Service workers, Security Guards and Flight Attendants – all of whom are dealing with company foot-dragging and unfair contract proposals with inadequate wages and job protections for union members.

Machinists Union General Vice President Richie Johnsen, who marched at the rally, called on United to invest in workers. “United Airlines is out touting how much they’ve invested in this airline,” he said. “To make it the greatest airline in the history of airlines, according to Scott Kirby. They’ve invested in airplanes and airports, they’ve invested in fuel, they’ve invested in green energy,” he continued.

“But, they haven’t invested in their most valuable asset. Which is their employees,” Johnsen said. “It’s time for United to invest in employees.”

United pilots have gone four years without a new contract.

The four unions at United held an earlier rally in Houston, Texas, during the United Board of Directors Meeting. At that event, Scot Kirby went outside to meet with the picketers. He told ramp and customer service workers that negotiations were stalled due to union negotiators’ refusal to budge on outsourcing. District President Mike Klemm told IAM members, “United management’s refusal to provide acceptable job security and wage rates for IAM-represented workers is unacceptable and disgraceful,” said Klemm. “IAM members at United Airlines have spoken loudly and clearly that the issues of wages and job security are paramount to any acceptable tentative agreement.”

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Stay up to date with all the latest news and information from the Machinists Union

Tony Parker, President of Machinists Union Local 1781, holds a CONTRACT NOW sign at an informational picket held at San Franciscos’ International Airport.

Hundreds of Union Members Join Forces at SFO 

January 21, 2023

LISTEN TO THIS ARTICLE >>

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (SFO) – On Wednesday, front-line union workers at United came together at SFO Airport for an informational picket to call on the airline to complete long-overdue contract negotiations. Hundreds of union members from every work group at the carrier participated in the rally.

Over the past year, air travelers have seen repeated delays, overbooked flights, and cancellations, among many other woes. According to United Airlines’ front-line workers, the problems passengers face can be placed squarely at the feet of company management, who have built a business model based around short-staffing, unfair wages, and outsourcing. 

“We’re here because we want management to recognize the sacrifices and contributions we have made during the worst downturn in aviation history,” said Roger Phillips, a Pilot at United and spokesman for the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) who organized the picket. “United just announced its fourth-quarter earnings last night, and announced that we made nearly $1 billion for this airline,” he continued. “It’s time for United to reinvest some of that money into the people that created those profits.”

United reported a profit of $843 million in the last quarter of 2022 on total revenue of $12.4 billion. The revenue figure was almost 14% higher than in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the travel industry. The earnings report follows a profit of $942 million, which the Chicago-based carrier posted over the summer. 

Despite the industry-leading income, United executives are demanding wages for fleet and customer service agents that fall far short of what was promised in the lead-up to negotiations. In early 2022, United committed to providing industry-leading wages to its 38,000 fleet and customer-facing employees. However, by the time contract talks began, United was only willing to offer payscales that would be the lowest of the “Big Three” carriers. Wages at United would also fall below those of smaller airlines such as Southwest and Alaska. Low wages allow other airlines to outcompete United for workers in a tight labor market. United is also asking for union members to agree to outsourcing, something that negotiators have flatly refused to consider.

On Wednesday, labor tensions at the carrier led hundreds of workers to hold an informational picket at San Francisco International Airport. Marching alongside Pilots were Fleet and Customer Service workers, Security Guards and Flight Attendants – all of whom are dealing with company foot-dragging and unfair contract proposals with inadequate wages and job protections for union members.

Machinists Union General Vice President Richie Johnsen, who marched at the rally, called on United to invest in workers. “United Airlines is out touting how much they’ve invested in this airline,” he said. “To make it the greatest airline in the history of airlines, according to Scott Kirby. They’ve invested in airplanes and airports, they’ve invested in fuel, they’ve invested in green energy,” he continued.

“But, they haven’t invested in their most valuable asset. Which is their employees,” Johnsen said. “It’s time for United to invest in employees.”

United pilots have gone four years without a new contract.

The four unions at United held an earlier rally in Houston, Texas, during the United Board of Directors Meeting. At that event, Scot Kirby went outside to meet with the picketers. He told ramp and customer service workers that negotiations were stalled due to union negotiators’ refusal to budge on outsourcing. District President Mike Klemm told IAM members, “United management’s refusal to provide acceptable job security and wage rates for IAM-represented workers is unacceptable and disgraceful,” said Klemm. “IAM members at United Airlines have spoken loudly and clearly that the issues of wages and job security are paramount to any acceptable tentative agreement.”

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No Thanks, No Giving. United Negotiations Update

No Thanks, No Giving. United Negotiations Update

No Thanks, No Giving

3 December 2022

IAM District 141 and United Airlines management met in Orlando, Florida, this week and continued contract negotiations. Both parties remain very far apart on the most vital issues: job security and wages.

United management’s refusal to provide acceptable job security and wage rates for IAM-represented workers is unacceptable and disgraceful. IAM members at United Airlines have spoken loudly and clearly that the issues of wages and job security are paramount to any acceptable tentative agreement. Unfortunately, after almost a year of “expedited negotiations,” United management has yet to put forth adequate proposals that could lead to a tentative agreement. While United management sits on their hands in negotiations, ground workers employed at American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Alaska Airlines are earning higher hourly wages than United ground workers. At Southwest Airlines, IAM members will soon vote on a tentative agreement that provides the airline industry’s highest wage rates.

At the same time, United management continues to throw the success that we create in our faces. United proudly announced that the carrier just had its third-best Thanksgiving ever. IAM members ensured almost 3 million customers could connect with family and friends during the Thanksgiving holiday. And how does United thank us? They refuse to protect our jobs and pay us what we’re worth.

But why? Why the disrespect? Is it because CEO Scott Kirby thinks the economic future is uncertain and United must be cautious? No. Here’s part of what Scott said during United’s most recent earnings call: “Our operation is firing on all cylinders. In fact, based on most metrics, it’s running better than ever […] there are three industry tailwinds prevailing the COVID recovery for aviation and United that are currently overcoming those macro headwinds and we believe will continue to do so in 2023.”

Scott is very bullish on United’s financial future, and he should be: United made almost a $1 BILLION profit in the most recent quarter. Unfortunately, he’s not bullish on our financial future. The fact is, our hard work and dedication have been the drivers of United’s success. And that financial success directly lines Scott’s pockets and the pockets of the rest of United’s overpaid executives. CEO Kirby’s raise for 2022 was 67 percent, from $10 million in 2021 to $16.7 million in 2022. Greed at its finest.

I have called an emergency meeting of IAM District 141’s Executive Board next week in Houston, Texas. It is necessary to convene the District Executive Board to discuss the status of negotiations and plan our next steps, so we can appropriately deal with the unprecedented greed and arrogance that now permeates United’s management team.

We will advise of next steps.

In Solidarity,

Your Negotiating Committee

Olu Ajetomobi
Joe Bartz
Victor Hernandez
Barb Martin
Andrea’ Myers
Terry Stansbury
Faysal Silwany
Erik Stenberg
Sue Weisner

Mike Klemm

President and Directing General Chair,
IAMAW District 141
Recording Secretaries: Please print and post on all Union Bulletin Boards.
IAM 141, United Continue Contract Talks Amid Massive Profit Announcement

IAM 141, United Continue Contract Talks Amid Massive Profit Announcement

IAM 141, United Continue Contract Talks Amid Massive Profit Announcement

24 October 2022

IAM District 141 negotiators and United management met last week in Chicago. We resumed contract talks, which broke off in late July due to United management’s refusal to provide the job security and compensation necessary to move the process forward.

Negotiations focused again on job security. Both sides discussed ways to achieve the industry-best job security United IAM members prioritized. Both sides’ positions are still far apart.

It’s essential to understand the job security and scope proposals we’re making are not revolutionary. Other airlines already have similar language in their collective bargaining agreements. Our proposals are reasonable. United’s refusal to include basic job security provisions disrespects every IAM member at United.

Both sides also discussed the idea of a short, one or two-year extension of the existing Agreement. We repeat; any agreement, of whatever duration, must include the significant improvements in job security and overall compensation that IAM members deserve.

Also during the week, United reported almost a $1 billion net profit for the third quarter on nearly $13 billion in revenue, which is 13 percent higher than the same quarter of 2019, before the pandemic. CEO Kirby cheered and called this past season “by most metrics, the best operational quarter in our history.”

The 25,000 IAM-represented ground workers are the largest part of United’s operation. The mega-profits United is bragging about would not have been possible without our membership. It’s time for CEO Kirby and the rest of United management to put their money where their mouths are and do the right thing. In Solidarity,

Your Negotiating Committee

Olu Ajetomobi
Joe Bartz
Victor Hernandez
Barb Martin
Andrea’ Myers
Terry Stansbury
Faysal Silwany
Erik Stenberg
Sue Weisner

Mike Klemm

President and Directing General Chair,
IAMAW District 141
Recording Secretaries: Please print and post on all Union Bulletin Boards.
IAMAW District 141’s 69th Convention: Racking Up Four Years of Union Wins

IAMAW District 141’s 69th Convention: Racking Up Four Years of Union Wins

The achievements celebrated at the event included union victories spanning the full spectrum of airport workplaces, including gate and ticket counters, ramp and ground personnel, janitors, security guards, and instructors. Photos: Brian Vega, IAMAW 141 Communications Coordinator

IAMAW District 141’s 69th Convention: Racking Up Four Years of Union Wins

IAM141.org
25 September 2022

The 69th Convention of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) drew to a close on Thursday, but not before providing an opportunity to recap a long list of remarkable improvements to airline work since the District’s last Convention, held in 2018.

The event drew hundreds of top labor leaders from the airline industry, representing ground, gate, ticket counter, and other airline workers from every major airport in the US.

The achievements celebrated at the event included union victories spanning the full spectrum of airport workplaces, including gate and ticket counters, ramp and ground personnel, janitors, security guards, and instructors.

Highlighting Union Triumphs in Commercial Aviation

The wins included a historic wave of impressive contractual agreements throughout the commercial aviation industry. These included the 2020 negotiation of a first contract at SM Cargo, which was overwhelmingly ratified by the newly organized membership. Another agreement, this one for janitorial workers at Flagship, was approved unanimously by every union member at the company. 

Union Members also overwhelmingly ratified a 2021 agreement at Spirit, the second union contract for fleet service workers at the airline.

“We were extremely proud of the overwhelmingly ratified agreement we negotiated at Spirit Airlines,” said District President Mike Klemm, who led the Convention. “This was only the second contract we negotiated with the carrier, and we all know how challenging those first contracts are to accept for newly organized groups,” he told the delegation. “Our members received wage increases that are, on average, 30% higher than they were previously,” he said to applause. 

“Lead premium increases mean more opportunities for double-time pay, we established new training positions which allow our members to earn even more income from the work they currently already do,” he continued. “But, this Agreement also brings paid vacations to part-time agents. And, for some of those folks, this will be the first real paid vacation they’ve ever known,” Klemm said of the Spirit Agreement. “For those of us at legacy carriers, paid vacations are a normal part of life, but these folks were able to negotiate the first-ever paid vacations, making history at Spirit Airlines.”

 

Last Tuesday, Union Reps attended a formal signing ceremony for the most-recently ratified Agreement at Hawaiian Airlines, which was secured earlier this year. That Agreement will provide significantly improved wage increases and seniority protections for part-timers. Part-timers will also gain access to family health care for the first time in the carriers’ existence. It will also provide better flexibility with day and shift trades and impose financial penalties when the company intrudes on workers’ personal and family time with mandatory overtime.

At United, Calls For Union Members to Email Company Executives

But the main topic at the Convention centered around the contentious negotiations with United Airlines. Although the carrier had committed to producing a solid tentative agreement for union members to vote on by August 1, the talks broke down after weeks of company stonewalling.

 

“The days of Oscar Munoz are over,” President Klemm said of the negotiations. “Oscar was a people person. He cared about people, and he cared about the airline. And, we rewarded that commitment. After that Agreement was reached, United Airlines experienced the best financial success in the history of the carrier,” he went on. “And we showed up. During the pandemic, we couldn’t work from home, or from behind a desk. We were there for this airline when it mattered most. We were there when the carrier went to lawmakers for emergency funds to get through the months when travel was nearly impossible. We produced thousands of calls and visits to lawmakers, securing the money the company needed to survive,” he said.

“The thanks we get for that sacrifice is a slap in the face offer so insulting to this membership that talks broke down through the entire month of August.”

“They’re saying that our members don’t really care about job security, and pay raises that wouldn’t even buy half a gallon of gas are ok,” he said.

“All we’re asking for is that, if we are willing to do right by this company, then this company should do right by us. That’s all we’re asking. If we show up to work, do our jobs well, and honor our commitments to this company, then United should be willing to say, in writing, that they will not arbitrarily decide one day to eliminate or outsource our jobs,” he said to roars of applause from the assembled delegates. 

President Klemm also told the Convention that the recent solidarity actions around the nation have been effective. “They got flustered,” he said. “They didn’t expect to see all the “Contract Now’ signs. They didn’t expect to have their inboxes flooded with emails. When they saw that outpouring of solidarity, they got rattled.” Klemm encouraged the union to step up its already impressive email campaign, as company executives can’t miss personal messages in their inboxes. “If you’ve already written to Kirby, do it again,” he said. “Do it every week. If you know someone that normally sits quietly and lets things play out, encourage them not to sit this one out,” he said. “I have seen how those emails have made the company rethink their position with my own eyes.”

 

For pointers, Klemm told the delegates that personal stories are more effective than insults when writing to Kirby and other company executives. “Tell them how inflation is affecting your family. Tell them how important your job is to you,” Klemm said. “We think that 60% of our members at United have yet to send an email to the company. That means we have a lot more in the tank. If they’re already getting nervous, imagine what can happen if thousands more of us join in.”

JetBlue Files For Representation

The Convention is coming to a close as JetBlue organizing begins a new phase; 3000 Ground Operations Crewmembers successfully filed for a union representation vote at the airline, a first for ground crews. On Friday, the Machinists Union announced that it would file for a union representation vote with the National Mediation Board, the Federal agency that oversees labor law for airlines. The efforts to organize ground operations at JetBlue are led by inside committees staffed by current JetBlue workers. Sensing the campaign was reaching a critical stage, these committees opted to skip the Convention and continue their organizing work.

Even without its entire cadre of organizers, union growth was prominent at the Convention. Speaking at the event was Amazon Labor Union activist Tristan Lion Dutchin, whose efforts to organize the first-ever union at the shipping giant led to his unlawful termination from the Staten Island Facility where he had been employed. His story earned international headlines and helped secure an eventual union win at Amazon. Machinist Union delegates at the Convention, moved by his story, raised a little over $2,000, which they awarded to Dutchin in honor of his dedication to the cause of union organizing.

This was just one of the rounds of donations delegates raised for important charities. Guide Dogs of America, which provides service dogs to veterans, children with autism, and visually impaired persons at no cost, was also championed at the Convention. In all, delegates raised approximately $17,000 for charitable organizations and causes.

Held in Orlando, Florida, from September 20-22, the 69th Convention of Machinists Union District 141 drew 224 delegates from Local Lodges around the nation. Also attending were Machinists Union senior leaders, including General Vice President Richard Johnsen. Johnsen is spearheading a range of innovative new programs at the union, including strengthening alliances with other labor organizations, ensuring that new hires are connected to the larger union, and creating a movement-driven mission for labor. The comments fit into the larger vision that Johnsen has painted for unionism as a vital social cause – and more than a set of membership services.

“All around the nation, people are starting to see the value of their labor and wondering where they fit in. We can be that for them; their work has incredible value to unions and working people. At the end of the day, companies only value money. We, as working people, can be so much more. We can help each other spend more time with our families, work in safer environments, and earn better livelihoods in more rewarding careers. We can do that by acting in union, and bringing the power of collective action to bear for working Americans.”

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FAREWELL, OLD FRIEND!
Tony D bid a heartfelt farewell to the many whose lives he’s touched over his long career as District Safety Director today. After an illustrious tenure, he is finally taking a much-deserved retirement. His dedicated service to Machinists Union members was honored with a touching tribute, read formally before the Convention delegates, along with hugs and well-wishes. Congratulations on a truly remarkable career, Brother Tony.

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United – Emirates Codeshare: Labor is Watching

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United – Emirates Codeshare: Labor is Watching

Legislation
16 September 2022

Justice at JetBlue requires Just Cause at JetBlue.

“That’s evidence that they are not focused on profitability. They are just focused on flying the airplane somewhere and having the government subsidize it.” -United CEO Scott Kirby.

“Those airlines aren’t airlines. They’re international branding vehicles for their countries.” -Former United CEO Oscar Munoz.

After years of highlighting the unfair business practices of state-owned enterprises (SOE) such as Emirates, Airlines, and other Middle East carriers, United’s announcement of a new codeshare agreement demands scrutiny.

To protect the jobs of U.S. airline workers, there must be continued financial transparency and improved labor standards that ensure fairness is maintained in all Open Skies and codeshare agreements.

Since the beginning of its existence, Emirates Airlines has been sustained by massive government subsidies, unrelated to the global pandemic, used to expand far beyond what market forces could ever support. Their growth, including the Dubai-Athens-Newark service and Milan service, was only possible because of the enormous Emirati funding the airline received. These subsidies put U.S. airlines at a tremendous economic disadvantage and threaten U.S. airline workers’ jobs. American workers can compete with any foreign airline when on a level playing field. We cannot compete against entire countries.

Although the United States and United Arab Emirates signed an agreement in 2018 regarding these issues, the fact remains that there are currently no independent labor unions in the United Arab Emirates. This has led to a systemic, unacceptable assault on airline workers’ rights, with alarming accounts of unfair labor practices and intimidation by employers.

United Airlines employees and union leadership will be watching closely to ensure our scope provisions are rigorously followed and demand the highest labor standards are adhered to across all partnerships. We will act swiftly if needed to protect our long-term career security.

In Unity,

Ken Diaz MEC President AFA-UAL

Richard Johnsen General V/P IAM-UAL

Mike Hamilton Master Chair ALPA-UAL

Craig Symons President PAFCA-UAL

Joe Ferreira Dir. Airline Div. IBT-UAL

 

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At United, Greed Leads the Way

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At United, Greed Leads the Way

9 August 2022

As you are aware, we did not reach an expedited agreement on a new contract with United management by our self-imposed deadline of August 1, 2022. In the July 18, 2022 negotiations update, I stated that “unless United management changes course, reworks its current proposals, and offers IAM members at United a fair contract that recognizes our value to our airline, it is highly unlikely that we can reach an agreement in the expedited process.”

During the week of July 25, 2022, your Negotiations Committee met and discussed the path forward. After that, our Assistant General Chairpersons fanned out across the system to conduct station visits and update the membership on negotiations. That same week, United management gave us a modified proposal. That proposal was as insulting as their initial “comprehensive framework. Which, as I stated previously, would provide less job security than we have today and wage rates that were wholly unacceptable based on IAM members’ surveys and priorities.

Today, the IAM 141 Negotiations Committee forwarded to United management a set of very fair proposals that, if agreed to, would recognize the value of IAM members to United Airlines’ success. Remember, the Company just recorded record revenue in the second quarter and a return to robust profitability. Once we receive their response, we will report back to you.

Given the Company’s dismissive attitude and outright refusal to accept the new realities in the airline industry regarding wages, job security, scope of work, and other critical issues, I am pessimistic that an agreement can be reached anytime soon.

Because of the dedication, sacrifice, and professionalism of the women and men of United Airlines, our airline produced record revenue for the second quarter and a massive profit of over $300 million. Yet, United management simply says no when it comes to providing us reasonable job security that currently exists at other carriers and wage rates befitting the new airline industry realities. I want to thank our front-line members for their solidarity actions around the nation. Your continued support is absolutely necessary for the success of this effort.

It appears at Scott Kirby’s United, Greed Leads the Way.

Your Negotiating Committee

Olu Ajetomobi
Joe Bartz
Victor Hernandez
Barb Martin
Andrea’ Myers
Terry Stansbury
Faysal Silwany
Erik Stenberg
Sue Weisner

Mike Klemm

President and Directing General Chair,

IAMAW District 141

Recording Secretaries: Please print and post on all Union Bulletin Boards.