Airline Division Week in Review — April 27, 2018

Teamster Pilots File For Mediation at Flexjet, Flight Options

On Wednesday, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division filed for mediation with the National Mediation Board (NMB) following six months of negotiations with management over a new collective bargaining agreement for Flexjet and Flight Options pilots.

Flexjet and Flight Options are luxury business jet carriers that serve wealthy individuals and large corporations and operate under the umbrella of aviation parent company One Sky Flight, LLC.

The combined Flexjet and Flight Options pilot groups are working under a single labor contract that was awarded by an arbitrator on October 10, 2017 to address the merger of the two carriers. The parties are currently negotiating over changes to that interim contract. The union is seeking pay increases, benefit improvements and more favorable work rules for pilots.

"In order for Flexjet and Flight Options to retain and recruit high-quality pilots in a tight labor market, we need a collective bargaining agreement that recognizes and rewards the hard work and dedication of our flight crews," said Capt. Efrem Vojta, President of Teamsters Local 1108. "We filed for mediation because we believe the involvement of the National Mediation Board will help us reach an agreement that works for the benefit of pilots, the carrier and customers."

In March, union negotiators proposed a framework for reaching a new labor agreement within nine months. That proposal included non-adversarial bargaining and a joint effort to identify industry-leading pay, benefits and scheduling provisions at other carriers for possible inclusion in a new contract. Management rejected the union's proposal. Hiding behind constant propaganda blaming the IBT for lack of progress, management has sponsored a decertification campaign among anti-union Flexjet pilots who have applied to the National Mediation Board (“NMB”) for a representational election.

"The Airline Division and Local 1108 want to secure a strong contract for our members to vote on without any delays or distractions," said Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division. "By filing for mediation, we are once again demonstrating our commitment to the One Sky pilots—many of whom have other employment options due to the pilot shortage—as well as to the success of the carrier, which needs an industry-leading labor agreement in order to attract the pilots it will take to dominate the unique market it serves."

Airline Division Joins Other Unions and Groups to Blast Drone Cargo Aircraft Study

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division joined with the cargo pilots of Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, the Independent Pilots Association to vehemently oppose a proposal to begin studies that could lead to single pilot drone operated cargo aircraft in the skies over America.

The groups issued the following statement concerning the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 4) introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday:

“While we applaud Members of Congress on their efforts regarding the release of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, we are deeply concerned with the language contained in Section 744 - a provision that would introduce significant aviation safety and security risks for cargo aircraft. Specifically, this provision establishes a research and development program in support of single-piloted cargo aircraft assisted with remote piloting and computer piloting.

“The professional cargo pilots of our collective airlines strongly oppose Section 744 and implore Congress to reject this provision without delay. By endorsing language that promotes single-operator commercial cargo aircraft, Congress will undermine years of safety and security measures currently in place and put lives at risk.

“The desire by some in the industry to pursue single-piloted or autonomously piloted cargo aircraft seriously places the American public and the flight crews of these aircraft in a tenuous position. For many years, aviation has been the safest form of transportation in the United States. This is by no means an accident; it is the result of a strong regulatory framework built over time, paired with an ongoing airline system safety culture that is one of the most ambitious in our nation’s history. Attempts to roll back safety regulations in such a way are counterproductive, and unacceptable to the common good. With the increasing frequency and severity of reports regarding computer hacking, accidents in current military and civilian drone operations, and mounting reports of autonomous vehicle accidents, we think any serious consideration of this technology is premature at best.”

ABX Crew Members to Picket ATSG Shareholder Meeting

Pilots of ABX, owned by ATSG will conduct informational picketing Thursday, May 10, outside of the ATSG Shareholder meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio. In a show of unity and resolve to achieve a fair contract, they will be joined by fellow member pilots of Local 1224.  The evening prior to the picketing event, they will also be hosting a crew gathering at the Holiday Inn CVG.  All pilots are welcome to join them for the crew gathering, even if they are unable to join the show of solidarity on the picket line.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP as soon as possible to give them an estimate of participation.  Maximum turnout is encouraged.  Click the following link to confirm your participation:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DVBYMJ8

Action Alert: Write Congress to Oppose Section 744 of HR 4

Teamsters Local 1224 is an active member in the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA), a trade organization which addresses safety, security, legislative and regulatory issues affecting the aviation industry. CAPA represents more than 30,000 pilots from Teamsters Local 1224 & 357, American Airlines and UPS. 

The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) is calling on Congress to oppose Section 744 of the FAA Reauthorization Bill (H.R. 4).  

Congress is now debating legislation to renew funding for the Federal Aviation Administration. The recent version of the FAA reauthorization bill (H.R. 4) currently in the House of Representatives includes language (Section 744) that is deeply concerning; it will undermine safety for our fellow pilots and the traveling public. 

Section 744 directs a study by NASA on "single-piloted commercial cargo aircraft."  This provision will impact the safety for our national airspace system, and undo decades of effort by Congress and regulators to enhance commercial airline safety. 

Technology has its place on the flight deck, however, it will never fully replace a coordinated crew that rely on human skill drawing upon years of experience flying aircraft in all types of weather over vastly different topography.  As demonstrated during last week's event involving Southwest Airlines flight 1380, and the subsequent emergency landing in Philadelphia, "the most important safety equipment onboard any commercial passenger or cargo aircraft is a well-trained, experienced professional aircrew.” 

Attempting to omit a member of the flight crew could have potentially led to a vastly different outcome.  Moreover, this legislation is an attempt by industry to undermine our profession and relegate our skills as professional airmen/airwomen as antiquated and unnecessary. 

Nothing about the current state of this technology or our experiences with remotely-piloted aircraft, indicates a mature system that is ready for introduction into our national airspace system, or widely embraced by the American public. 

Write Congress Today! 

Your participation in this letter writing campaign is extremely important.

Ask Congress to oppose this language - a single-pilot in the cockpit is not safe commercial airline operations - and vote against Sec. 744 in H.R. 4

CLICK HERE to take action or copy/paste the following URL into your web browser: http://cqrcengage.com/capapilots/app/onestep-write-a-letter?8&engagementId=466793

Airline Division Attends STEM

 International Representative Chris Moore and Deputy Division Director Allynn Allen manning the Airline Division Booth at STEM

International Representative Chris Moore and Deputy Division Director Allynn Allen manning the Airline Division Booth at STEM

On April 6th, Airline Division Deputy Director Allynn Allen, International Representatives Chris Moore, and Bob Fisher, along with Joyce Fisher, manned a booth at Washington D.C. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Festival.

The largest festival of its kind in the U.S.; DC STEM featured over 3,000 hands-on exhibits from the world's leading scientific and engineering societies, universities, government agencies, high-tech corporations and STEM organizations.

On Saturday and Sunday, a representative from United Airlines Talent Recruitment Office  joined with the Airline Division in this effort to educate students on future roles in aviation.

The Festival was held in the Washington D.C. Convention Center with the expected attendance of over 350,000 students. The Airline Division booth attracted much attention with students having an opportunity to fly a drone simulation and talk about the various aircraft parts displayed, courtesy of the UAL Dulles Tech Ops department, who graciously loaned the items to the Airline Division for the festival.

Airline Division attends Aviation Week MRO Conference

Once again this year, the Airline Division attended and participated in the Aviation Week MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) conference in Orlando, Florida. Designed to highlight the MRO industry; the Airline Division was represented by National Coordinator for Technicians and Related, Vincent (Vinnie) Graziano and Division Director David Bourne.

A building theme at these annual events is the looming technician shortage. North America is forecast to have a shortage of over 9000 mechanics by 2022. MRO’s are concerned with the wage rates paid as yield is continuing to be squeezed. Look for further consolidation in the MRO industry as wage rates increase, with the possibility of several of these companies going out of business. The trend continues to be work is being repatriated to the United States as the economics of overseas outsourcing becomes less advantageous to the airlines. All of these factors make for a favorable environment for negotiating technician contracts for the foreseeable future.

Airline Division attends Aviation Week MRO Conference

 The winning team at this years MRO Competition, from UAL (CLE)

The winning team at this years MRO Competition, from UAL (CLE)

Once again this year, the Airline Division attended and participated in the Aviation Week MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) conference in Orlando, Florida. Designed to highlight the MRO industry; the Airline Division was represented by National Coordinator for Technicians and Related, Vincent (Vinnie) Graziano and Division Director David Bourne.

A building theme at these annual events is the looming technician shortage. North America is forecast to have a shortage of over 9000 mechanics by 2022. MRO’s are concerned with the wage rates paid as yield is continuing to be squeezed. Look for further consolidation in the MRO industry as wage rates increase, with the possibility of several of these companies going out of business. The trend continues to be work is being repatriated to the United States as the economics of overseas outsourcing becomes less advantageous to the airlines. All of these factors make for a favorable environment for negotiating technician contracts for the foreseeable future.

Airline Division and TAMC Sponsor Skills Competition at MRO Conference

The Airline Division and TAMC were sponsors of the Aerospace Maintenance Skills Competition again this year at the MRO Conference.  With a much larger presence than last year, the Teamsters visibility and reputation for excellence continue to grow throughout the industry. Sixty six teams from around the world and from all sectors of the industry competing in 28 events. There were six teams comprised of Teamster represented mechanics from UPS, Horizon, UAL (HOU), UAL (MCO), UAL (CLE) and in a first; a Teamster represented all female team called “Chix-Fix,” made up of UAL female mechanics from around the system. 

The UAL Team (CLE) won the William F. (Bill) O’Brien Award for Aviation Maintenance Excellence Award as winner of the overall competition for the second year in a row.

The Airline Division and TAMC raffled a set of tools that brought many students and military mechanics to our table which allowed us to have great conversations about the Teamsters Airline Division and the TAMC.

Our Facebook page presence also continues to gain attention. The number of followers has more than doubled since last summer. For more information on the TAMC, go to: http://teamsterair.org/tamc or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theaviationmechanicscoalition/

 International Representative Chris Moore presents a set of Snap-on tools to the winner of the student raffle at the MRO Convention

International Representative Chris Moore presents a set of Snap-on tools to the winner of the student raffle at the MRO Convention

UAL “Chix Fix” Team Highlights Skills and Opportunities for Women in Maintenance

This year, the MRO Maintenance competition also highlighted three all female maintenance teams, including one comprised of UAL female mechanics.

The Chix-Fix team is composed of:

DEN Line Technician Janelle Bendt, O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Aircraft Inspector Polly Delaney, (DEN), Aircraft Maintenance Supervisor and Team Coach Dana Eads, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Avionics Line, Technician Joanne Mulherin, SFO San Francisco International Airport (SFO) Base, Technician Katrina Oyer, Orlando International Airport (MCO) Aircraft Maintenance, Supervisor and Team Coach Laura Spolar, (SFO), Aircraft Interior Repair Technician Natalie Vo and LAX Line Technician Zoe Wainwright.

 UAL "Chix Fix," one of the three all female teams competing at the MRO Competition

UAL "Chix Fix," one of the three all female teams competing at the MRO Competition

Born from an idea at the Women in Aviation International, the team was led by Bonnie Turner, who is the SFO Airframe Repair and Overhaul Managing Director and coached by MCO Supervisor Laura Spolar and DEN Senior Supervisor Dana Eads.

Commenting on the team, Sister Spolar said, “One of the best reasons to field a team of women is to encourage more women to join us in this field. Someday we hope to have enough women technicians in every hub to field an all-local all-women’s team.”

“It’s been a little different for our team, since we don’t always work in the same station,” said LAX Avionics Line Technician Joanne Mulherin about the Chix Fix team. “The guys, on the other hand, are always in the same place. That’s OK with us, though; it just means we have to work harder, and we have been.”

Airline Industry News
Governmental and Regulatory

Volga-Dnepr is to cease providing AN-124 capacity for EU and NATO states under the Strategic Airlift Interim Solution (Salis) contract it shares with Antonov Airlines.

US House Transportation Committee chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania) has submitted an amendment to proposed FAA reauthorization legislation that would require a “call to action” review of airline engine safety in the wake of the Southwest Airlines flight 1380 engine failure. The amendment to HR 4, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, calls on FAA to initiate the review process within 90 days of the bill’s enactment.

The FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) late April 20 issued emergency airworthiness directives (AD) calling for inspections of fan blades on CFM56-7B engines that power Boeing 737NGs.

Airlines, Industry and Labor

 (L to R) International Representative Paul Alves, USMC Veteran and Avionics Technician Joanne Mulherin (SFO-31 years) , Division Director David Bourne, Dana Eads (DEN MX Supervisor and Team Coach) and Deputy Division Director Allynn Allen at the MRO Competition.

(L to R) International Representative Paul Alves, USMC Veteran and Avionics Technician Joanne Mulherin (SFO-31 years) , Division Director David Bourne, Dana Eads (DEN MX Supervisor and Team Coach) and Deputy Division Director Allynn Allen at the MRO Competition.

Fort Lauderdale-based regional carrier Silver Airways finalized its purchase of San Juan, Puerto Rico-based Seaborne Airlines April 23, creating a combined fleet of 31 aircraft serving Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean. Financial details of the transaction were not released.

International profits are up for UPS however, domestic profits are in a slump.

Michael L. Ducker, president and CEO of FedEx Freight since 2014, will retire on Aug. 15. Ducker joined FedEx Express in 1975, rising through the ranks and taking on the role of chief operating officer of FedEx Express in 2009.

The American Airlines Cadet Academy will train prospective pilots  for 18 months at the carrier's partner flight schools, removing financial roadblocks to encourage more to become professional aviators. Once training is complete, students can interview for a position with the airline's regional carriers Envoy, Piedmont and PSA.

FedEx will give its pilots  a hybrid system of smart glasses and oxygen masks called Smoke Assured Vision Enhanced Display, or SAVED. The system is designed to help with emergency landings by providing pilots with data from the aircraft's instrument panel and external cameras.