United Airlines Attendance Policy
The Company officially introduced its new attendance policy this week. We would like to give you the Union’s perspective on this new policy.
First, some history. The Company approached the Union during negotiations and asked if we would consider including an attendance policy that was based on a ‘point system’ in our Collective Bargaining Agreement. As you can imagine, it was a very short conversation that began with ‘No’ and ended with ‘No’. The Negotiating Committee did not believe that including a Point System in our contract was in the best interest of the membership so we refused. Now that the Company’s policy has been introduced, you can all see why that was the correct decision.
While the Union recognizes that the Company has the right to implement policy, we feel that any such policy that would, on its face, threaten to discipline our members in a manner that is unfair and unreasonable, violates the CBA’s just cause protection. As such, we intend to use the grievance process to challenge this policy at every turn.
On Monday, May 1st, on the official day of its implementation, the SFO Committee submitted grievances to the Company against the policy as-a whole. Additionally, We intend to continue filing grievances against individual portions of the policy as they are instituted whenever our member’s rights are violated. We will keep you posted as things unfold.
Article 19 – Grievance Procedure
In light of the current situation regarding the attendance policy and in the spirit of our continuing efforts to inform and educate our members on the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, we will now discuss Article 19 as it pertains to the submittal of grievances and the movement of those grievances forward through the various steps in the grievance process.
The first thing that should happen in any case where one of our members feels that the contract has been violated is that they should immediately contact a Shop Steward. It will be the Stewards responsibility, with assistance from the Chief Steward, if necessary, to gather all the facts related to the issue in order to determine if a grievance has actually occurred.
As it is stated in Article 19.A, “It is the intent of the parties to settle complaints and grievances at the lowest possible level in the procedure based upon the facts and common sense”. So once a grievance has been verified, the Shop Steward should immediately contact the Supervisor responsible to try and get the issue resolved. It is important to note that the CBA allows for 30 days from when the grievance occurred or from when the grievant or the Union became aware of the grievance to present the complaint to management (Article 19.B.1).
Now, in a situation where the facts are disputed by the Company, or in cases where there appears to be an unwillingness to resolve the grievance despite the facts, the Shop Steward will help the member fill out a grievance form. This should occur within 10 calendar days from when the discussion with management was first initiated (Article 19.B.2)
This is known as a First Step Grievance. The grievance form will include the contact information of the grievant, any Articles of the contract that have been violated, date(s) of said violations, description of the facts, remedy sought, name of Supervisor contacted, and the date of the Supervisor’s oral answer in regards to the complaint. The Steward should also make sure to gather any supporting documentation, such as Overtime Lists and Signup Sheets, and attach copies to the grievance form prior to submittal. Three copies of every First Step Grievance, along with supporting documents, should always be made by the Shop Steward. One for the grievant, one for the Steward’s own records, and one for the Chief Steward. Once the grievance is submitted, the Company will have 10 days to answer in writing (Article 19.B.3).
If the Chief Steward has not yet been contacted by the Steward, it is important to do so once it has been put to paper and submitted to the Company so that the Chief Steward can start tracking the time on the grievance and so that they can initiate further dialogue with the Company with the intent of getting the grievance resolved. Additionally, it is important to note that if you are a newer Steward or you are not yet comfortable with researching or writing grievances, we suggest reaching out to a more experienced Steward or the Chief Steward at the very beginning so that you can get guidance researching and writing the grievance prior to submittal. We believe that every grievance provides a potential learning opportunity. And because this is the most crucial part of the process we want all our Stewards to be comfortable with researching and writing grievances as well as other important facets of being a Steward such as communicating with management, understanding the CBA, knowing your rights as a Steward, and knowing the rights of our members both in general as well as during interactions and/or interviews with management. We also want to make sure that we develop very consistent practices so that our memberships best interests are always being served throughout the grievance process.
If the Grievance is denied by the Company, the Grievance Committee will then review the grievance to further verify that the grievance has merit. If so, a 2nd Step Grievance will be generated. This 2nd Step appeal must be submitted within 10 days of receipt of the Company’s written answer (Article 19.B.4). If upon review, the Grievance Committee finds that the grievance, for whatever reason, lacks merit, the grievance will be immediately withdrawn.
After a grievance is pushed to the 2nd Step, the Grievance Committee Secretary will coordinate with the Company to schedule a 2nd Step hearing, with the Managing Director (or designee) serving as the hearing officer. The purpose of this hearing will be to allow the Union to “…present relevant testimony and information.” Afterwards, the hearing officer will have 10 days to render a decision in writing (Article 19.B.5).
After reviewing the decision, the Grievance Committee will have 14 days to appeal the decision to the 3rd Step. At this point, a 3rd Step Grievance will be generated and forwarded to the Business Agents (Article 19.B.6). It will then be the Business Agent’s responsibility to further engage the Company in an effort to resolve the issue. If there is no resolution, the grievance will be scheduled for a System Board of Adjustment Hearing (SBA) within 30 days (Article 19.D.1).
The System Board of Adjustment is composed of two members from the Company and two members from the Union. During the hearing, the Business Agents and Company Representatives from the area where the grievance occurred will each present their arguments, which may or may not include interviewing witnesses, and submit evidence to the Board. Afterwards, the Board shall render a decision “… no later than thirty (30) calendar days after it has closed record in the hearing of the case.” (Article 19.D.2)
There are three possible outcomes from a System Board hearing in a case where a grievance is presented by the Union. The four-member Board can rule in favor of the Union (sustain the grievance), in favor of the Company (deny the grievance) or they can split the vote (deadlock). If the Board denies the grievance or deadlocks, the Business Agents will consult with outside legal counsel to review the case and help determine whether the decision will be accepted or the case will be appealed to the Board of Arbitration (Article 20).
Keeping in mind the desire to resolve issues at the lowest level, there may be circumstances throughout the process that will require a mutual agreement with the Company for time-limit extensions beyond the given contractual deadlines in order to facilitate continued dialogue, provide time for document requests, submit for attorney review or to move the discussion up the Company’s chain of command in pursuit of a resolution. Procedural rules with regard to time-limits are outlined in Article 19.E.5. Also mentioned is the fact that, “In cases where the Company does not comply with the time limits, the grievance will be deemed automatically appealed to the next step.”
The last item that we will mention is that, after a grievance has been advanced to the 2nd Step, once it is settled, sustained, denied and/or lacks sufficient merit to proceed to the next step in the process, a Closeout Letter will be issued by the Union informing the grievant of the outcome. We hope that you have found this explanation of the Grievance Procedure helpful.
HRA Account Automatic Reimbursements
During a conference call last week with the Company’s Benefits folks we were able to verify unequivocally that the default condition for all of our members with HRA accounts was to have the ‘Automatic Reimbursements’ feature enabled. This means that eligible medical expenses would be automatically deducted from the HRA accounts as they are submitted regardless of whether the member has chosen to be reimbursed for premiums from the account. As of now, the only way to turn off this feature is to call the Benefits Service Center and request that it be disabled. We do not know why this feature was enabled and we are hoping to get it corrected but, in the meantime, we urge you to call and have the feature disabled on your account if you do not want the HRA money in your account deducted for eligible medical expenses.
Teamsters JC7 Day at the Ballpark
There will be a raffle held at the May Dayshift Craft Meeting for tickets to the June 17th A’s/Yankees game at the Oakland Coliseum. It’s all part of the Teamsters Joint Council 7 Day at the Ballpark and includes a huge tailgate party before the game. Tickets for the tailgate party will be provided with the game tickets. Last year, over 3200 Teamster members and their families attended the event. Tickets for the raffle are $5 each or 3 for $10. Please see your Chief Steward to purchase. May Craft Meetings will occur on May 25th.
Teamsters JC42 fights against RTW legislation
Joint Council 42 has begun a campaign to fight the so-called Right-To-Work legislation that is currently making its way through Congress. Please go to weareonebigunion.com to find out more information how to join the fight against this corporate sponsored anti-union legislation that threatens us all. Ultimately, the real meaning of this proposed legislation is Reduced Teamster Wages.
Local 856 launches Anti-Outsourcing Campaign
Local 856 has launched a campaign to fight outsourcing. The purpose of the campaign is to educate the public and employers about negative impact of outsourcing. Please visit standwith856.com for more information. The site has very cool stories of Local 856 members that highlight the dedication, quality, and difference they bring to the job.
Labor History for the Month of April
April 6th, 1905 - Teamsters in Chicago begin a sympathy strike in support of locked out Montgomery Ward & Co. workers who were on strike to protest the company’s use of nonunion subcontractors. When other businesses rallied to the company’s defense, the dispute spread quickly. Workers battled strikebreakers, police, and scabs for 105 days; 21 people died.
November 7th, 1945 - Machinists in Stamford, Connecticut, go on strike when the Yale and Towne lock company terminates its contractual obligations and withdraws recognition of their union. The company’s union-busting effort was met with a city-wide general strike on January 3 in which 10,000 people marched and rallied in support of the workers. By early April, the company conceded.
April 9th, 1970 - Defying a law prohibiting them from striking, public school teachers in Minneapolis walk out over wages and the right to bargain collectively. A year after the strike was settled, the Minnesota legislature passed the Public Employment Labor Relations Act (PERLA), strengthening collective bargaining rights for public employees.
We must never forget!
I can be a patient man with stupidity, but not with those who are proud of it - Ed Asner
Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will - Frederick Douglass
The communication process is an extremely important part of what we do to represent our folks here at SFO and, as we have been outlining for quite some time, we have been blasting out the BA Report along with any other communication we get from the Airline Division or the International to anyone who registers at the TeamstersSFO website. Additionally, there are weekly meetings held with the Shop Stewards to pass on any important informational items that may come up during the month. It is crucial to our process that every area on every shift have Shop Steward representation and that the Shop Steward give, at a minimum, weekly briefings to his/her crew so that all the information gets to our members. We feel that it is essential for all of our members to be engaged and informed at all times. Therefore, we encourage all of you to spread the word to your fellow technicians to go to the TeamstersSFO website and click on the ‘email signup’ tab to get on the list. And, most importantly, we urge you to also consider getting more involved. Every month, on the last Thursday, we hold Craft Meetings at Local 856. At these meetings, the membership hears reports from the Business Agents and other members of the SFO Committee on Grievances, Safety, Member Assistance, and TSAP. Additionally, all members have an opportunity to ask questions and to bring up topics for discussion. Check your IBT Bulletin Board for dates and times and make it a point to stop by.
As always, stay informed!
Mark DesAngles Javier Lectora
Business Agent Business Agent
Local 986 Local 856