Comair Flight Attendant Negotiations Continue

Negotiations for the Comair Flight Attendants continued this past week with steady progress being reported. “We have been very pleased by managements approach and their working with us to find solutions to issues,” said International Representative Rick Dubinsky. “We have made very steady progress during our discussions and have been able to close out one or more sections with each session.”

NMB Responds to Application for Mediation for CAL and CMI

Responding to the request by UAL management for mediation, this week Lawrence Gibbons, Director of Mediation Services at the NMB replied to the request by the Company to move both Continental and Continental Micronesia into mediation.

In a letter to P. Douglas McKeen, Senior Vice President of Labor Relations at United Continental Holdings; the Board made no ruling at this time but rather requested further comment from the company. In his reply on behalf of the Board, Gibbons wrote:

“Enclosed is a copy of an October 14, 2011 letter from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters stating that Cal-IBT Technicians contract is not yet amendable and believe your application for mediation is not appropriate at this time. Further, the IBT believes your application involving Continental Micronesia is premature.

This letter acknowledges receipt of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters letter and requests comments from the carrier on or before October 31, 2011. The Carrier is also requested to provide the Organization with a copy of its comments.”

United Airlines Announces Insourcing of B757 Landing Gear Work

This week, UAL management notified the united mechanics negotiating committee that previously outsourced Continental Airlines B757 landing gear work will now be insourced to the SFO landing gear shop.

The work is expected to begin starting in January of 2012.

Citation Air Contract Negotiations Set to Begin

Negotiations for the pilots of Citation Air, who voted to be represented by the Airline Division of the Teamsters, are scheduled to begin in White Plains, NY on November 6th. The pilots will be represented by their pilot negotiating team and Airline Division International Representative Rick Dubinsky.

IBT Airline Division Joins UAL and CAL Mechanics at Safety Round Table in Chicago

On October 27th, UAL Safety representatives Vic Austin, Bob Jensky, PT Thomas and CAL Safety representative Matt Mancini were joined IBT Airline Division Representative Chris Moore, at the Quarterly Tech Ops Safety Round Table meeting in Chicago. Flight Safety Chairperson John Fischbach also joined via conference call. The Tech Ops SRT is an integral part of the new United SMS program.

The company outlined plans and components of the SMS, provided a presentation which included injury trends, discussed fall protection training and ergonomic initiatives. Also discussed were aircraft damage trends and prevention strategies, MSAP update and plans for adopting an industry program titled LOSA (Line Ops Safety Assessment). Vic Austin addressed the IBT’s interest in working with the airline in an effort to improve safety and spoke to the concerns from the UAL rank & file on how LOSA will be conducted with a group of AMT peers mutually selected with management.

Discussions on LOSA will continue with sub-CAL and sub-UAL as they move closer to SOC and a single SMS program.

UAL also gave a brief presentation on a new program it is considering called “Move Smart” which includes teaching mechanics how better motion techniques as well as adding engineering controls can help lower OJI’s.

Airline Industry News

Government and Industry

Fearing damage to the Australian economy after a lockout of union employees by management, a court has ordered an end to the strikes and the lockout at Qantas...Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, says Congress needs to pass a four year extension of funding for the Federal Aviation Administration…The aviation industry continues to voice their opposition to two new tax proposals on flights and warn that consumers may be affected by the changes. Ron Ricks, an executive vice president at Southwest Airlines said, "At a certain point we just begin to lose business,"

The Air Transport Association applauded the improvements implemented by the Federal Aviation Association on the U.S. Northeast airspace, noting that the changes reduced flight delays in that sector…Analysts expect United Continental Holdings to report a profit of $2.08 per share for the third quarter…Delta Air Lines plans to repay $200 million in airport bonds this month to the operator of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The payment is for a loan taken out by Northwest Airlines in 1992.

Airlines and Labor

American Airlines and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) have reached tentative agreement on a four year contract for baggage handlers and ramp workers. Continued unprofitability at the Frontier Airlines of Republic Airlines is causing them to consider the sale of aircraft and landing rights to raise $113 million…Columnist Vaughn Cordle says American Airlines should consider merging with another carrier such as US Airways. "A merger with another airline, after or during bankruptcy, would produce valuable cost and revenue synergies, and further increase industry market concentration," writes Cordle…U.S. airlines generated $1.5 billion from ancillary revenue such as fees for checked baggage during the second quarter, according to the Department of Transportation…Despite bankruptcy concerns, travel agents continue to book on American…