Saturday, January 22, 2011

The AMFA/DPA Playbook

The AMFA Playbook

Delle-Femine stated that the members of the AMFA National Executive Council and the representatives of AMFA-MSP "were the only AMFA representatives authorized to implement AMFA policy during the Northwest organizing campaign." According to AMFA, no Northwest employee, other than those named above, served AMFA in a representative capacity during the Northwest organizing campaign or had any authority to originate campaign literature or policy.

During the campaign, the only two authorized sources of AMFA correspondence, campaign literature, and campaign policy were the AMFA national/regional officers and AMFA-MSP. According to Delle-Femine, all campaign literature and policy originating from AMFA-MSP was subject to the unanimous approval of the Committee's officers. AMFA-MSP coordinated the dissemination of its literature system-wide through the cooperation of volunteers at the various bases. Other AMFA organizing committees for the Northwest campaign were set up in Memphis, TN, and Atlanta, GA.

All of the AMFA national officers have organizing responsibilities. Delle-Femine stated that literature on individual carriers originates and is disseminated by the local AMFA committees.

Kevin McCormick is President of the McCormick Advisory Group, a management services company that provides administrative, managerial, and financial services to associations. He was appointed as the National Administrator for AMFA. McCormick had contact with AMFA-MSP. The McCormick Advisory Group collected the mail for AMFA on a daily basis. McCormick had contributed material or posted to the bulletin board at the AMFA-MSP web site.

The main activities of AMFA-MSP consisted of distributing literature. Meetings were held at a local restaurant and were very informal in the beginning. As the campaign advanced, office space was secured in Minneapolis, MN. Literature prepared by the Committee had a line at the bottom which stated "Produced and Distributed by the AMFA-MSP Organizing Committee." The literature also included the Committee's e-mail address and phone number.

Hmmmm. If you replace AFMA with DPA...and why the McCormick guy again?

The IAM asserts that Northwest assisted AMFA by allowing that organization access to company property and equipment and that AMFA supporters were allowed to campaign while on company time.

How about those line check pilots asking you to sign up?

In addition to the sanctioned campaign activity, AMFA representatives did campaign through literature which appeared in employee mailboxes, AMFA stickers and other campaign materials which were displayed on tool boxes and on lunchroom tables on the carrier's property, and in one-on-one discussions with employees.

Sound familiar....?


Monday, January 10, 2011

The B-Scale Plague

American Airlines adopted the benchmark B-scale in November 1983, permanently reducing pay for newly hired pilots by 50 percent. In fact, under the AA system—negotiated while the Seham firm sat on the labor side of the table—pay rates and pensions for new employees would never merge with those of then-current employees.

Martin Seham wrote proudly of this accomplishment in Cleared for Takeoff: Airline Labor Relations Since Deregulation.

As general counsel to the Allied Pilots Association (APA), the independent certified representative of the American Airlines pilots, I was close to the negotiations that resulted, in 1983, in one of the earliest realization[s] of the two-tier system. APA was not faced with an insolvent or failing carrier; it was, however, forced to deal with an economic environment that had changed dramatically because of the effects of deregulation and was, by virtue of its independence, mandated to reach an agreement consistent with the needs and objectives of its constituency. — Martin C. Seham

Although B-scales were not a new concept, their initial format was unique to the airline industry. Following American’s lead, other airlines began to demand similar packages—forcing the entire airline labor movement into a new era of concessions. Good for management; bad for pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and all of the airline industry’s workers.

While ALPA pilots were forced to deal with this blight brought to the industry by APA and the Sehams, not one ALPA pilot group accepted a non-merging two-tier scale. The clearest example of this was the ALPA strike at United in June 1985, when the pilots refused to agree to a non-merging two-tier pay scale.

Ironically, it was ALPA’s success in preventing implementation of the Seham B-scale at UAL that led to the Rakestraw case, where replacement pilots who crossed the picket line attempted to reverse ALPA’s successful efforts to negotiate seniority protection for hundreds of pro-ALPA new-hires who had refused management’s demand to become strikebreakers. DPA’s law firm now misinterprets and misrepresents this case—in which ALPA protected pilots who adhered to union principle and honored picket lines—as somehow giving it carte blanche to change seniority as it sees fit. To read more, click here.

In fact, following ALPA’s win at United, ALPA pilot groups, through their strength at the bargaining table, led the effort to eliminate the B-scale structure. They did it by working together, forging a pattern and sticking to it—the same way ALPA pilots throughout our industry are working to rebuild our contracts after the era of bankruptcy and ATSB constraints.