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Airline Division News, Week Ending November 13, 2010
This week, Airline Division Director David Bourne went to Indianapolis to meet with the newly elected officers of Teamsters Local Union 357, led by Pat Gannon, Republic’s new EXCO and the Strategic Planning Committee led by Zachary Heekin
Division Director and Airline Division Team Visit Newly Chartered Local 357, Offer Support
This week, Airline Division Director David Bourne went to Indianapolis to meet with the newly elected officers of Teamsters Local Union 357, led by Pat Gannon, Republic’s new EXCO and the Strategic Planning Committee led by Zachary Heekin.
Originally formed to represent the pilot group of Republic Airlines; with recent airline acquisitions by RAH Holdings, Local 357 now also includes pilots from MidWest Airlines, Frontier and Lynx.
As a result of a recent election of new officers, Local 357 is in the process of reorganizing, building their local, and focusing on a communications strategy that will best suit their pilot membership. Joined by Assistant Division Director Steven Nagrotsky and Campaign Coordinator Bernadette McCulloch, Director Bourne and his team spent two days in discussions with the Local leadership on many subjects, including membership representation, communications strategies and the services available to them from the Teamsters.
Steve Nagrotsky provided a thorough overview of the Railway Labor Act and how it relates to self help. The group spent time discussing restarting Section 6 contract discussions with RAH management.
“We had a very good meeting,” said Division Director Bourne. “It is apparent that Local President Pat Gannon and his team have already made visible changes and are focused and dedicated in providing strong support and representation to their membership. They have my commitment to provide whatever additional services and support they need to get a good contract and continue strengthening Local 357.”
All Options Being Considered as UAL Negotiations Bog Down
A tenuous week of negotiations with UAL management focused on an attempt to reach agreement over the last remaining and very important work-rule related items at issue in the negotiations ended without success. The Union Bargaining Committee expressed extreme disappointment with the Company’s response and is of the unanimous opinion that any further attempts to bargain directly with the Company over this and the remaining contract issues will not be productive of time.
The two most significant remaining issues relate to classifications; including the Company’s demand to eliminate lead ratios, and hours of service; including the Company’s demand to significantly extend 7-day coverage at the San Francisco Base.
While the Union Bargaining Committee believes that the parties ultimately can still reach an agreement with the Company and remains firmly committed to reaching such an agreement, they are considering all options, including whether it is time to invoke NMB mediation.
In Light of Recent Terrorist Attempts on Cargo Aircraft, Airline Division Renews its Support for CAPA Position, Calls for “One Level of Cargo Security”
The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) has again called for improved screening of cargo carried aboard all-cargo commercial flights for the second time in 3 years. Working with Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA), CAPA was instrumental in the passage of cargo screening bill in 2007; however that legislation did not include “all-cargo” carriers, such as Atlas Air, Polar, UPS, FedEx or others, due to industry lobbying.
In supporting the effort by CAPA; Teamsters Airline Division Director David Bourne said that, “One level of security” is not a new issue. The Airline Division has joined with CAPA and always advocated for a single set of standards for all commercial flights, whether they are cargo or passenger. The recent discovery of explosives found in cargo aboard a UPS aircraft destined for the United States, and the investigation that shows they were timed to explode in flight over the U.S. or Canada prove that our concerns were justified and we again call for the same level of cargo security for all commercial flights.”
According to Captain Paul Onorato, President of CAPA said, “CAPA worked closely with Congressman Markey to get the cargo screening bill passed. Unfortunately the Cargo Airline Association managed to get a carve-out for all-cargo operators and those operations were not included in the legislation that was passed into law. Cargo aircraft pilots are exposed to terrorist explosives and cargo aircraft can be a threat to personnel and materiel on the ground. There must be one level of security for all commercial flights.”
Week In Review News Items
Unable to reach a deal at the negotiating table after 2 ½ years, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants took its case Thursday to Wall Street. Leaders from the American Airlines union told about 15 airline analysts that the carrier's problem is too little revenue, not high labor costs. "Our major focus was to dispel the claims by American and unfortunately perpetuated by some of you that labor is the problem at American," APFA president Laura Glading told reporters on a teleconference afterward…a peace deal between British Airways and cabin crew looks unlikely after union representatives refused to back a new offer. Officials from the British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association joined colleagues in the Amicus union in refusing to recommend the offer to union members…on a more positive note, US Airways said this week it plans to add 500 employees next year by recalling those who are currently on furlough and hiring new crew members.
Legislative, Safety & Regulatory
Singapore Airlines pulled three of its A380 superjumbo jetliners from service on Wednesday after tests revealed oil stains on their engines…Europe’s air safety regulator ordered a new round of inspections Thursday on all A380 jetliners using Rolls-Royce engines after it said an oil fire in the engine of an A380 operated by Qantas may have caused the failure that forced the plane to make an emergency landing last week…Airbus warned on Friday that investigations into an engine blowout could delay deliveries of the plane in 2011 as the plane maker focuses on maintaining the existing fleet…and it's been a bad week for Boeing too as it grounded its test fleet of new 787 passenger jets on Wednesday while it investigates an electrical fire that forced one of the planes to make an emergency landing.
The European Commission this week fined 11 airlines and air carriers a total of €799.5 million for participating in an air cargo cartel. The commission handed Air France the highest fine, €182.9 million, or about $253 million, for its involvement in a cartel that lasted from late 1999 until 2006, and that E.U. officials said raised prices on businesses that shipped goods.
Supporters say it enhances security aboard passenger jets, but critics say it is little more than government-sponsored voyeurism for TSA workers. The dispute is over the new enhanced airport security screening procedures that offer a choice of either a nude, full-body image X-ray scan or a hands-on-all-parts pat-down by a federal agent. And the controversy could be coming to a head…stepped-up security screening at U.S. airports in the wake of foiled terrorism plots has provoked an outcry from airline pilots and passengers, including parents of children who say they are too intrusive. With the busiest holiday travel season nearing, fliers face long security lines and new rigorous pat-down checks begun in recent weeks aimed at discovering hidden explosives. As a result, some travelers are questioning whether to fly at all.
Airline Industry Finances & Structure
Joint ventures are transforming the global aviation industry by creating virtual airline mergers, avoiding the costs and legal challenges inherent to actual consolidation. Empowered by antitrust immunity within the three major airline alliances and emboldened by the growing strength of the first transatlantic and transpacific joint ventures, carriers are now looking for ways to leverage expanded economic relationships to revamp networks, increase traffic and boost revenue…and AirTran Airways and Southwest Airlines announced they each received a request for additional information Monday from the U.S. Dept. of Justice in connection with SWA’s proposed acquisition of AirTran. This action, often referred to as a "second request," is a common part of the regulatory approval process, the carriers asserted.
U.S. airline passengers face a Thanksgiving holiday travel season in which they’ll pay more to squeeze onto planes flying at their fullest since World War II. “It’s like a war zone already,” said Brad Phillips, an Atlanta-based executive who will take a Delta Air Lines Inc. jet to Dallas when he and his wife visit their daughter…Google has inked a deal with three carriers - Delta, AirTran and Virgin America - to offer passengers free Wi-Fi on flights this holiday season…and flight caps at New York-area airports are ineffective and should be re-evaluated, a federal report says.
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Edited By Business Travel Coalition