United Negotiations Update: United Management Not Listening

United Negotiations Update: United Management Not Listening

United Management Not Listening; No Progress Made

 

21 May 2022

IAM District 141 and United Airlines management this week continued expedited negotiations in Chicago. Unfortunately, no progress was made towards reaching the industry-best contract that IAM members at United Airlines deserve.

As we reported in our last negotiations update, United management was to present to the negotiations committee what it characterized as a “comprehensive proposal.” They presented their “comprehensive framework” and it fell wildly short of addressing IAM members’ priorities. Your negotiations committee let United management know that their “comprehensive framework” was wholly unacceptable.

IAM members at United Airlines indicated in our contract survey and proposal process that our top priority is job security/scope of work. Sadly, the only component of this top priority in which United was specific was management’s desire to claw back work that is now protected and outsource it. Clearly, United management is not listening. And, with the current state of inflation, United management thinks it’s acceptable for us to take a cut in our real wages.

United CEO Kirby has stated publicly that our carrier will generate record breaking revenue for the second quarter and it is crystal clear that the US airline industry is experiencing a strong recovery. Either United management has no respect for us and does not value our past sacrifices and our current contributions, or they have no desire to reach an agreement.

Negotiations will continue next week.    

In Solidarity,

Your District 141 Negotiating Committee

Olu Ajetomobi
Joe Bartz
Victor Hernandez
Barb Martin
Andrea’ Myers
Terry Stansbury

Faysal Silwany
Erik Stenberg
Sue Weisner

Michael G. Klemm

President & Directing General Chair,
IAMAW District 141
#LGR

Recording Secretaries: Please print and post on all IAMAW bulletin boards.

We Want Your Incredible Pics!

We Want Your Incredible Pics!

Send Us Your Amazing Photography!

Activism and Media
Summer, 2022

Machinists Union Members at our Nation’s Airlines are some of the most talented workers in the world! We want to put those talents in focus for everyone to see!

We are always looking for high-quality photos on all our media platforms! Your pictures could appear in our print, online and social media, showcasing your talent and workplace pride. Select images will be proudly displayed at our District Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois!

Images should be high-quality, but we’re not looking for perfection – newer cellphone shots are great! Pics of Machinists Union Members in action, loving our work and doing it better than anyone else are precisely the images we’re looking for.

Remember to tell us your name, work area, and local lodge so we can give you the credit you deserve!

SEND YOUR HIGH-QUALITY ACTION SHOTS TO US WITH THE FORM BELOW! (Or email them to us at IAM141.org. Whichever’s easier.)

 

 

Photography Submission Form

Remember to follow all applicable workplace and privacy rules. SAFETY FIRST!

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.
Having trouble with this uploader? Just email your shots to us at INFO@IAM141.org
I attest that these images were captured in accordance with any applicable laws, regulations, policies, or rules. I attest that I am sending the image(s) in my capacity as an individual, and am not portraying myself to be an agent of any company, business or enterprise that may be depicted. As far as I am aware, all persons depicted are 18 years of age or older, or are not shown in a reckless or scandalous manner that might bring any disrepute to them or their guardians.

I hereby grant the IAMAW District 141, its directors, officers, employees, agents, and designees (collectively “The Union, The District, the IAM, The IAMAW, etc.”) non-revocable permission to use my image and likeness in videotapes, motion pictures, recordings, or any other media (collectively “Images”). I acknowledge that District 141 will own such Images and further grant the District 141 permission to copyright, display, publish, distribute, use, modify, print and reprint such Images in any manner whatsoever related to Union business, including without limitation, publications, advertisements, brochures, web site images, or other electronic displays and transmissions thereof. I further waive any right to inspect or approve the use of the Image by District 141 prior to its use. I forever release and hold District 141 harmless from any and all liability arising out of the use of the Images in any manner or media whatsoever, and waive any and all claims and causes of action relating to use of the Images, including without limitation, claims for invasion of privacy rights or publicity.

I hereby warrant that I am eighteen (18) years old or more and competent to contract in my own name or, if I am less than eighteen years old, that my parent or guardian has signed this release form below. This release is binding on me and my heirs, assignees and personal representatives.

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GoIAM.org
Statement

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2022 – Robert Martinez Jr., International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), released the following statement on the mass shooting at the Buffalo Tops Supermarket:

“The Machinists Union is deeply saddened by the horrific act of domestic terrorism this past weekend at the Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, NY. We want to express our deepest condolences to the victims’ families, including our union sisters and brothers at the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), affected by this hate crime. The IAM represents hundreds of members in the Buffalo community who stand united in condemning this horrific mass shooting. The IAM will always speak out against hate and racism in our society and embrace solidarity and inclusion. We must always stand together to fight against the scourge of discrimination and intolerance.”

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is one of the largest and most diverse industrial trade unions in North America, representing approximately 600,000 active and retired members in the aerospace, defense, airlines, railroad, transit, healthcare, automotive, and other industries.

 

goIAM.org | @MachinistsUnion

 

 

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JetBlue Launches Hostile Takeover Bid for Spirit

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JetBlue is Launching a Hostile Takeover of Spirit

Justice at JetBlue
21 April 2022

Earlier this month, Spirit Airlines rejected an offer by JetBlue to purchase the airline in a $33 per share, all-cash bid, preferring a merger with Frontier instead. On Monday, JetBlue announced a counteroffer: to launch a hostile takeover of Spirit.

The escalating tensions are pitting multiple sides against one another. On one side is the Board of Directors at JetBlue, who has thrown its total weight behind a link-up with Frontier. Another faction is made up of shareholders, who stand to see shares take a sharp spike in the event of an outright buyout. Yet another litigant is the government, which must decide if passengers would get fleeced by the new airline.

Lost so far in the discussions are the workers at JetBlue. For all the apparent urgency to strike a deal with Spirit as soon as possible, the company has yet to explain how a merger will impact the carriers’ non-union employees. They lack explicit legally-binding merger protections and face a tense, uncertain future at JetBlue. A condition the company seems in no hurry to remedy.

However, the union that represents ramp workers at Spirit has not been so silent. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (District 141), reassured members at Spirit in February that their jobs and contractual rights would remain intact in a merger. “First and foremost, I want you to know that our newly-ratified contract with Spirit remains in full force,” said District President, Mike Klemm in a message to union members following speculation that Spirit might merge with Frontier. These rights include, “essential provisions that protect ramp workers’ jobs, seniority, and wages, among other vital protections, during a merger,” Klemm said at the time.

The plan to merge Spirit and Frontier became public in February of this year. The Spirit Board of Directors is still pushing for a merger with Frontier, while JetBlue is working to merge with Spirit, hoping to block the Spirit / Frontier tie-up.

Federal law requires companies like JetBlue to honor agreements made to unionized employees, even if those agreements originated with the company they are buying out. According to Federal labor rules, a company that takes over another business becomes more than just the new owner of that company’s assets. They also own the business’s liabilities. In other words, if JetBlue buys Spirit Airlines outright, they also pick up the union contracts and other agreements currently in place at Spirit.

Ground Operations workers at Spirit’s Fort Lauderdale station are unionized with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (District 141). As part of their agreement with Spirit, these employees have vital contractual protections. Notably, they cannot be lawfully laid off or contracted out in the event of a buyout or merger with another airline. If Spirit’s union workers have to combine with JetBlue workers in the new airline, the unionized workforce has legally-binding seniority rules that companies must follow.

JetBlue management has a wide range of options that it can consider imposing on non-union workers in a merger. Among these options; requiring existing employees to re-apply for their jobs. Such a move could allow JetBlue to purge “underperforming” employees and those with attendance or health issues.

At airlines, an employee’s seniority is critical. Typically, airline workers determine their work hours and work area, days off, and other factors based on how long they’ve worked at the company or in their current position. For this reason, seniority rules are a vital area of focus for union contracts in the aviation industry, with very clearly laid out language.

Tragically, no such legal agreements exist for Ground Operations workers at JetBlue. These are the workers that load and unload the aircraft, guide them to and from gates, and oversee aircraft handling while on the ground and at gates. JetBlue Ground Operations workers have been trying to organize with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the same union representing similar workgroups at Spirit, American, and United, among other airlines.

JetBlue management has a wide range of options that it can consider imposing on non-union workers. Among these options; requiring existing employees to re-apply for their jobs. Such a move could allow JetBlue to purge “underperforming” employees and those with attendance or health issues.

Jetblue released a statement to investors saying that, long-term, a merger of some kind is necessary for the carrier. According to the airline, a buyout of Spirit would grant access to a large fleet of compatible Airbus planes, lucrative routes and help reduce an increasingly-critical pilot shortage. A merger with Spirit would make JetBlue the fourth-largest airline in America. For its part, Spirit rejected an opening offer to merge with JetBlue in early May, saying that Frontier was a better option

Jilted by Spirits’ Board of Directors, JetBlue turned to shareholders with a $30 / share deal and asked them to vote down the merger with Frontier. In response, Spirit’s Board has chosen to withhold critical information from JetBlue, which would usually be made available before a merger. This move prompted JetBlue to reduce its offer from $33 a share to $30, but the airline said it would still pay the higher price if Spirit changed its mind and opened the carrier’s books to JetBlue auditors.

Shares of Spirit closed on Friday at $16.98.

“If the Spirit shareholders vote against the transaction with Frontier and compel the Spirit Board to negotiate with us in good faith, we will work towards a consensual transaction at $33 per share, subject to receiving the information to support it,” JetBlue said.

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said in a memo, “we’re also offering to buy their shares, now at a price slightly lower than our original offer because the Spirit Board didn’t follow a fair process or allow us to look ‘under the hood’ like they allowed Frontier to do.”

 

The memo did not spell out what kind of future non-union employees at the new airline would be facing.

An interesting plot twist involves Bill Franke, the former Chairman of Spirit, who is now the Chairman at none other than Frontier Airlines. It’s easy to speculate that his involvement could be part of Spirit rejecting JetBlue in favor of Frontier. However, Franke has not confirmed that he is pushing a Frontier-Spirit merger personally. Nevertheless, Robin Hayes seems eager to connect the two, alluding to the plot in his statement to employees.

“Our guess is that there are a lot of historical ties and personal relationships between the controlling shareholder of Frontier and some of the Spirit Board members who agreed to the Frontier deal.”

Spirit hasn’t directly denied the allegations but has insisted that its rejection of the JetBlue offer was based on the expectation that Federal regulators wouldn’t allow the deal on antitrust grounds. JetBlue is involved in a de facto merger with American Airlines called the “Northest Partnership,” centered in the Boston – New York markets. Last year, the Justice Department sued to stop that arrangement.

“I’ve heard all this before, said Frank Giannola. “I’ve been through three mergers myself with USAir. “I’ve been in this business for a long time,” he said. “And, in my opinion, this only ends in a merger.”

However, Spirit also rejected an offer by JetBlue to divest assets in Florida, New York, and Boston, which would have eased regulatory concerns. Additionally, JetBlue offered a $200 million contingency fee if regulators end up blocking a JetBlue / Spirit deal. The Spirit Board of Directors refused to agree to any of the proposals by JetBlue.

Employees at JetBlue should expect an eventual merger, no matter how the deal with Spirit shakes out, according to Frank Giannola. Giannola is Director of Membership Services at the Machinists and Aerospace Union, where he frequently helps non-union workers learn more about joining a union.

“This isn’t the first time that JetBlue has tried to hook up with another airline,” Giannola said. “Ground Operations workers at JetBlue have had to worry about partnerships with American, Frontier, and now Spirit,” he went on. “Spirit is just the latest. It’s obvious to anybody who’s looking that JetBlue is desperate to get a deal done with just about anyone that will take them,” he said. “The long-term health of this airline is not sustainable, and this is according to JetBlue, who keeps saying that they need these partnerships in order to compete,” he continued.

“I’ve heard all this before,” Giannola said. “I’ve been through three mergers myself with USAir. It’s clear that Jetblue has lost its identity, and is no longer a low-cost carrier. Today’s JetBlue is trying to compete with the Big Four airlines rather than get left behind. The Jetblue story almost reminds me of USAir – when it lost its identity and tried to merge with United twice, then wanted to merge with Delta, and then finally the airline took over American. That was also a hostile takeover. It’s the exact same thing today with JetBlue.”

“Nobody who works at a company like JetBlue should trust their managers to choose what’s best for employees and their families over what’s best for investors,” he went on. “Merger protections are critical in the modern airline workplace. Especially if it looks like a merger is more likely than not.”

“I’ve been in this business for a long time,” he said. “And, in my opinion, this only ends in a merger.”

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Lufthansa Technik Workers in Puerto Rico Vote to Join the Machinists Union

GoIAM.org
Organizing

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2022 –More than 200 mechanics and related who work in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, at Lufthansa Technik, Puerto Rico, LLC. voted to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the largest airline and transportation union in North America.

“This election is the voice and feeling of all of our co-workers who desire to progress here on the island without the need to abandon our families.,” said Lufthansa Technik Senior Aircraft Mechanic Jonathan Diaz. “It is very important for those who in the beginning and after so much training to try and reach their dream to feel proud of working in the aviation industry. A dream of many but at the same time so few attain it in the country. We will demonstrate that in Puerto Rico we do good and be better not only as humans but as workers.”

“We congratulate the Lufthansa mechanics and related work for choosing to join the Machinists Union,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “This victory is a win not just for the Lufthansa workers, but for all workers in Puerto Rico who are trying to make their lives better. We urge Lufthansa to respect the decisions its workers have made and come to the negotiating table in good faith. I want to thank the amazing IAM team on the ground, including Javier Almazan, José “Lole” Rodríguez-Báez, and Juan Negron, for their dedication to getting the Lufthansa workers an opportunity for union representation.”

The National Mediation Board (NMB) election results come months after aggressive tactics and appeal to stop Lufthansa Technik workers’ right to join the IAM. Last year, Lufthansa mechanics and related sought IAM representation due to various workplace issues, including reduced work hours, irregular work rules, and inadequate wages and benefits. 

“The highly skilled aircraft mechanics and related at Lufthansa Technik have overcome many challenges over the past two years,” said Juan Negron, IAM Special Assistant to the International President. “I am proud of their courage and strength. It is time to sit down at the table and get a first contract to benefit the workers and their families. We will utilize the IAM’s full resources to ensure the workers at Lufthansa get what they deserve with a voice in the workplace and respect and dignity on the shop floor.”

“The Lufthansa Technik workers have spoken loud and clear,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Rickey Wallace. “They now have the legal right to negotiate a contract that will improve their quality of life and give them respect and dignity. The IAM is fully committed to achieving a first contract at Lufthansa Technik.” 

Lufthansa Technik mechanics and related provided service for United Airlines, Allegiant, Spirit, Avianca, and JetBlue until recently. 

“Today we are full of hope because finally after overcoming so many obstacles, the day is here that we the Lufthansa Technik employees in Puerto Rico are united in one voice,” said Lufthansa Technik Aircraft Mechanic Carlos Santiago. “With this victory, all the employees working at Lufthansa will gain better working conditions.”

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America and represents nearly 600,000 active and retired members in the manufacturing, aerospace, defense, airline, railroad, transportation, shipbuilding, woodworking, health care, and other industries.

goIAM.org | @MachinistsUnion

 

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Machinists Union Recaptures $3.7 Million for Airline Workers

Machinists Union Recaptures $3.7 Million for Airlines Workers

IAMAW District 141
11 May 2022

Recapturing back pay for unionized airline workers was the centerpiece of its grievance activity in the first quarter of 2022, according to a recent Grievance Activity Report issued by District 141 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

The quarterly statistics are compiled by the unions’ District 141, which represents approximately 33,000 workers in the commercial aviation industry. 

According to the report, $42,000 in wages were returned to union members from January through March. This figure includes money won by the union in settlements, back pay, improperly applied overtime pay, and shift premium pay that managers had wrongly withheld from workers. Leaders elected to serve on Grievance Committees by union members are often tasked with enforcing contractual agreements made between workers and employers. Occasionally, companies can make payroll mistakes that take money out of the pockets of their employees. Elected Grievance Committees can step in and require that money be returned in a timely manner.

In some cases, companies intentionally deny earned income to workers. In those cases, unions may need to take court action. At non-union companies, the time and expenses required to win back lost wages in court can add up to more money than was lost in the first place. The challenges involved in taking an employer to court allow many non-union companies to steal and shortchange their employees as a regular part of doing business. 

In the final quarter of 2021, the union had secured an astounding $908,000 in lost pay, owing partly to pandemic-related retirement income that the airline workers successfully protected. 

“This is the power of collective action,” said Mike Quartuccio, an Assistance General Chairman with District 141 who has experience dealing with paycheck and wage issues. “Companies don’t make decisions to give millions of dollars in back pay to their employees out of the goodness of their wallets,” he said. “It might be a struggle and it might be frustrating, but at least, as a union, we have the power to protect what we’ve earned.”

The report also recorded 19 union members who returned to work after being wrongly terminated by their airlines. These 19 workers add to the  49 union airline employees who won back their jobs in the fourth quarter following action by the unions’ Grievance Committees at the tail end of the pandemic. 

Since 2008, Machinists and Aerospace Workers in the airline industry have won back more than $3.7 million in back pay and lost wages and returned more than 1,200 union members to work.

 
 

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