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December 05, 2012

TWU launches union drive of Southwest mechanics to decertify AMFA

Southwest Airlines mechanics are being wooed by another union.

The Transport Workers Union has launched a representation campaign to unseat the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, which currently represents the Dallas-based carrier’s 1,800 mechanics.

Frank McCann, TWU national organizer, said the union has received several inquiries over the past six months from Southwest mechanics who are unhappy with AMFA and the lack of progress in contract negotiations. The mechanics contract became amendable in August.

AMFA has lost thousands of members over the past several years as mechanics at United Airlines decertified the union and thousands lost their jobs when Northwest Airlines went bankrupt. The national union, which has about 2,500 members, recently announced it will re-run its national election after several protests over how it was conducted in September. AMFA gained some members this year following Southwest’s purchase of AirTran Airways. AirTran’s mechanics had previously been represented by the Teamsters.

Mailers from the TWU that included a vote authorization card were sent to hundreds of Southwest mechanics this week.

“You don’t have to listen to [Southwest CEO] Gary Kelly’s ‘Message to the Field’ to know that Southwest Airlines has lost some of its ‘LUV’n feeling lately,” the mailer said. “Southwest today is not the same company that Herb Kelleher built. Mechanics will need all the help they can get.”

The TWU already represents about 20,000 Southwest employees, including flight attendants and ramp workers. The union has lost hundreds of members in the American Airlines’ bankruptcy restructuring when the Fort Worth-based carrier decided to outsource maintenance work and cabin-cleaning jobs.

McCann said the union plans to run phone banks and make house calls to gauge the interest of Southwest mechanics. Under a new law passed in February, unions must collect authorization cards from 50 percent of a work group before the National Mediation Board will order a union representation election.

“We have a strong interest at this point and we’ll see what happens when we do the house visits,” McCann said. “Our goal is always to have 70 percent turn in cards when we do a campaign like this.”

-Andrea Ahles

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Comments

M. Clemens

The only thing that the TWU wants is Southwests union dues.Look at the history of the TWU at American..."B"scale wages,we lost the shop work at the maintenance bases to lower paid mechanics(OSM's),concessions and now more concessions and layoffs.
Plus the international officers are not accountable to the membership,they are voted in by their buddies the local presidents. Yea,the TWU is just what the Southwest mechanics need...... ask any AA mechanic what they think about the TWU.

Tom

DON'T DO IT!!!

AMERICAN MECHANICS ARE TRYING TO DECERTIFY THE TWU AND ARE TRYING TO BRING IN THE TEAMSTERS!!!

AMERICAN MECHANICS ARE THE LOWEST PAID IN THE INDUSTRY, GAVE UP SCOPE AND SYSTEM
PROTECTION, HAVE THE WORST MEDICAL PLAN, LOSE ONE WEEK OF VACATION WITH EACH NEW CONTRACT, HAVE ONLY FIVE SICK DAYS A YEAR, AND ONLY FIVE PAID HOLIDAYS A YEAR.

THEY ALSO HAVE THE WORST WORK RULES, OVERTIME RULES AND FIELD TRIP RULES.

THE CONTRACTS THAT THE TWU NEGOTIATES WITH AMERICAN ALWAYS HAVE OPEN-ENDED LANGUAGE, SO YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU ARE ACTUALLY VOTING FOR.

THE ABOVE WAS PUSHED THROUGH BY THE TWU INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT JIM LITTLE AND THE TWU ATD.

AMERICAN PILOTS, WHO WERE ALREADY AT SNAPBACK PRE-CONCESSIONARY WAGES FOUGHT BACK AND HAD AMERICAN BEGGING THEM TO COME BACK TO THE BARGAINING TABLE.

IT'S BETTER TO HAVE NO UNION (LIKE DELTA MECHANICS) THAN THE TWU!

NOW, JIM LITTLE IS TRYING TO CONSOLIDATE HIS POWER AND PUNISH THE LINE MAINTENANCE LOCALS BY ABSORBING THEM INTO ONE LOCAL THAT HE CAN CONTROL AND SILENCE ANY VOICES OF OPPOSITION. HE IS ALSO DOING THIS BECAUSE HE KNOWS THAT HE WILL HAVE OPPOSITION AT THE NEXT TWU INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION AND WANTS TO ELIMINATE THE LINE MAINTENANCE LOCAL PRESIDENTS' POSITIONS SO THAT THEY CANNOT VOTE AGAINST HIM.

THIS IS HOW THE TWU AIR TRANSPORT DIVISION WORKS AT AMERICAN...

steve williams

After 29 years as a TWU member all I can advise is DONT DO IT! Contract amendable since August Wow Try 4 years with the TWU

Vortilon

The comment above from Tom is funny. Only a handful of AA aircraft mechanics support bringing the Teamsters in. Fact of the matter is the TWU invited the Teamsters in - in an attempt to dilute the current AMFA card drive. These TWU organizers have zero chance of getting any cards signed by any SWA aircraft mechanics. How could the TWU organizer convince anyone that they are the better choice. Look what they have achieved at AA. See 2nd paragraph above.

This card drive appears to be nothing more than trying to get back at the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association at SWA for supporting a AMFA card drive at AA. Add to that, the ruse of inviting the Teamsters over to AA to convince some naive AA A/C mechs who are tired of the TWU to sign a Teamsters card - most; if not all, in Tulsa.

casual observer

From my understanding, wasn't AMFA the union in charge when NW mechanics embarked on their disastrous strike? And didn't United dump this union when thousands of jobs were outsourced on AMFA's watch? Do AA folks really believe that AMFA would be that much better than the TWU, especially when the industry darling, SW, could be looking elsewhere?

Mechanics Represented by Rampers?

As an Aircraft Mechanic for AA, I can tell you first hand that TWU is by far the worst representative for skilled labor imaginable. Don't let your A&P licensed career be represented by non skilled high-school dropouts with a only drivers license.

Vortilon

Pretty clear "Casual Observer" isn't that casual at all. As a 27 year line mech at AA, I can say; without a doubt, that over 90% of my co workers here at DFW agree that AMFA is the best union for aircraft mechanics. The TWU is in it for the sake of the the union itself - only members of the international elite are rewarded. AMFA; on the other hand, is in it for the gains of the membership ie. the dues payers. My entire career at AA, only one TWU negotiated contract improved my wages and benefits. Funny thing is, it was the AMFA at NWA that laid the ground work for the gains achieved by aircraft mechanics around the industry at that time. No closed door deals, observers at negotiations - hence no BS rumors. TWU and the Teamsters "all inclusive" type unions always manage to have a parasitic affect on mechanic pay and benefits.

tomslick

AMFA let scabs in after the NWA strike. TWU sucks, but they are better than the IAM, AMFA, Teamsters etc.

Allen

It's your decision people. But make sure that whenever you have decided something, you should have had already weighed down the consequences of such decision.

Wingnut

As a former NWA Mechanic that no longer works in Aviation, I feel that the foundation that AMFA stood upon was a great idea. Having a union dedicated to representing only mechanics and cleaners seemed like a great idea.
However, any union is only as good as its leaders and representatives. Unfortuantely, AMFA's leaders and representatives were terrible. Many of the leaders that held key positions were looking out for their own best interests and not those of the membership.
Also the whole notion of open negotiations, slows down the process and hurts the membership. The negotiating committee is made up of regular aviation mechanics with no real training or education in negotiaiting. Add that to their desire to not appear weak during open negotiations, and you end up with lots of bravado and no progress.
Then AMFA leaders call a strike when they know that NWA was prepared to survive such a strike, and you end up with the disaster at NWA. All of us lost our jobs, and received little or no severance for all of the years of hard work we put into our careers. Our strike was a miserable failure from the start.

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