June 4, 2021
Dear TWU-IAM Association member,
The National Mediation Board (NMB) is still in the process of determining if a representation dispute exists among the Mechanic and Related class and craft at American Airlines, based on the AMFA filing representational cards. We have also been asked if the NMB determines a representation dispute does exist, who will be on the ballot. If the NMB does conduct a representation election, the options will be the TWU-IAM Association, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, no-union, and write in.
We understand that many American Airlines Mechanic and Related workers signed AMFA authorization cards because they were extremely frustrated with the pace of joint contract negotiations between the Association and American Airlines management. However, even with the AMFA trying to divide us during such a critical time, our unity and solidarity endured and we were able to negotiate and ratify the best Mechanic and Related contract ever negotiated in the airline industry. And, through that unity and solidarity we are poised to make future gains, which will benefit us, our families and our communities.
Not only were we able to negotiate industry top wages and cash compensation, we also fought for and achieved industry-leading benefit, retirement and work/job protections. That’s the hard stuff and the issues that American management pushed back on with all its might. It became so adversarial that a Federal District Court in Texas slapped a bogus injunction on us and threatened us with hundreds of millions of dollars in fines. Through all of it, we stuck together, engaged in concerted actions to make our voices heard and won the best contract ever negotiated in the airline industry. We should be proud.
However, during this time, AMFA began to prey on the frustrations of Association members, during our negotiations, often telling members we could never achieve the contractual gains our membership eventually ratified. At the same time, AMFA achieved almost nothing, other than backpay, after nearly seven years of negotiations at Southwest. In true AMFA fashion, AMFA organizers bought into company propaganda telling members to demand a vote on American management’s proposal, seeking to divide and dilute our collective strength. That’s not what a real union does.
There are serious risks to AMFA representation based on its representation model and its history. Simply, the AMFA sells work for wages because it does not have the resources to fight for everything. Currently, AMFA contracts at Southwest and Alaska Airlines, allow for the most outsourcing of aircraft maintenance and related work in the airline industry. The AMFA allows for so much maintenance and related outsourcing that at Southwest and Alaska Airlines, there are only 3 and 4 mechanics per aircraft, respectively. By contrast, because we fought American tooth and nail to protect our work, we have about 16 mechanics per aircraft employed. That’s a lot of work and jobs protected.
The AMFA’s history also tells us that under AMFA representation, jobs will be lost. After their membership raids at Northwest over 9,000 jobs lost, United about 3,300 jobs lost, and at Alaska Airlines AMFA agreed to allow the contracting out of ALL heavy maintenance work for a loss of nearly 500 jobs. All of these examples are due to the AMFA’s lack of power to protect work. Click here to read more about the AMFA’s historical failures.
Also, let’s just look at the last year. With the largest decline in air travel ever in the airline industry due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, TWU and IAM members mobilized and led the way, with other AFL-CIO affiliated unions, to achieve the Payroll Support Program (PSP), which has kept every single airline worker employed during the worst crisis in aviation history. We didn’t just write a letter, we mobilized. We met with the US President, US Senators and US Representatives and ensured we achieved job protection for all airline workers. The AMFA didn’t lift a finger to make that happen.
The bottom line is, all American Airlines Mechanic and Related workers face great risks to our future if the AMFA is our representative.
Let’s continue to strengthen our unity and solidarity and get ready for the fights that will undoubtedly come in the future. Together we have already demonstrated the power and resolve to achieve our worth and value we rightly deserve.