TWU-IAM Association Reaches Agreements in Principle for 30,000 Workers at American Airlines

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2020 — The TWU-IAM Association today announced it has reached Agreements in Principle with American Airlines for five new joint collective bargaining agreements (JCBAs) worth $4.2 billion to cover more than 30,000 Mechanic & Related, Fleet Service, Maintenance Control, MLS/Stores and Maintenance Training Specialist members. The tentative deals provide industry top wages, benefits and working conditions.

“The negotiating team had the option of accepting an inferior contract quickly, or doing the hard, time-consuming work of fighting for the best contract possible,” said Association Chair Sito Pantoja and Vice Chair Alex Garcia. “Together, after more than four years, the terms of these agreements are proof that we took the right path and achieved the best contracts in the airline industry. We’d like to thank TWU-IAM Association members for their solidarity and patience.”

The tentative agreements provide industry best protections against outsourcing and iron clad job security. These agreements call for immediate wage increases ranging from 4% to 18%. These raises, combined with the 2016 interim wage adjustment increase pay rates from 23% to 53% since the merger of American Airlines and US Airways. These agreements also provide an industry-best profit sharing formula, signing bonuses ranging from $3,000 to $6,000, increases to premium pay, generous improvements to retirement plans, maintains affordable health insurance options and secures the job of every member in their current location.

Further details of the agreements can be found here. Additional information, including complete contract language, will be available to all members before ratification voting is scheduled.

The TWU-IAM Association was formed after the merger of American Airlines and US Airways in 2012. The union alliance made up of members from the Transport Workers Union and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers represents approximately 30,000 employees at American Airlines, and is the largest union at the carrier. For more information, visit twu-iam.or g .

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Spirit Machinists Vote Yes on Extension

Thousands of Machinists from IAM Local 839 in Wichita, KS used their vote as their voice and by nearly 70 percent, approved a three-year contract extension with Spirit AeroSystems.

“With the grounding of the 737 Max and the recent layoffs, the members of Local 839 have had to endure a lot in the last few months,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Rickey Wallace. “This vote allowed the members to be heard and have a say in their future. We are proud of the work done by the negotiating team to bring this agreement to the membership, which focuses on the priorities of the Machinists on the shop floor at Spirit AeroSystems.”

The three-year agreement addresses a number of worker concerns voiced by the members through surveys and town hall meetings, specifically maintaining affordable health care, which was a priority for Spirit employees. The agreement keeps the current core medical plan for the life of the contract, with the employee share remaining at 20 percent as it has been in the past. Another major advantage is that the contract takes on future health care costs with a negotiated cap on premium increases of 7 percent. What that means is that if health care costs rise more than 7 percent due to inflation, the company will pay the difference and not the workers.

“Our Local 839 membership has been dealing with a lot of uncertainty due to matters outside of their control,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “We are extending every resource available to both our membership and the entire community to deal with the layoffs at Spirit AeroSystems. In the meantime, utilizing their rights as IAM members to shape the course of their futures, our membership has made a decision that restores some level of certainty as to their next steps forward. The entire Machinists Union stands with these Brothers and Sisters and supports their decision.”

Wages were another area of improvement for bargaining unit members. General wage increases totaling 7.5 percent will be seen throughout the three years as will improvements to cost of living (COLA) adjustments. In this extension, workers will see their COLA payments rolled into their wages instead of being paid out in a lump sum, allowing stronger financial growth for workers and their families.

Faced with a current layoff situation due to the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft, which Spirit AeroSystems supplies, the team worked together to put into the extension agreement a voluntary retirement plan (VRP) for senior employees. If you are 55 years old, with ten years of service, or 60 years old with five years of service, you now qualify for voluntary retirement that comes with a one-time, $50k lump sum incentive. Also, when ratified, all IAM employees involuntarily laid off as of January 10, 2020 will receive continual medical coverage for the full months of March and April with the company paying the employee’s premiums for one month.

“In this time of great uncertainty with the 737 Max, the membership of Local 839 voted to discuss an extension with the company. Today, they made their decision to accept. Getting this contract with more than 7 percent in general wage increases, a yearly cost of living increase rolled into base wages, participation in bonus generating programs to achieve additional compensation, maintaining the IAM National Pension Plan, freezing health care cost increases with protection from inflation, as well as maintaining job security and recall language is a big win,” said General Vice President of the Aerospace Department Mark Blondin. “It is one of the better contracts in the aerospace industry and I’m very proud of the negotiating team. This decision by Local 839 members secures a stronger future for all of Spirit employees as well as Machinists Union members. Aerospace remains a strong and vibrant industry, born and bred by union members, past and present, in Wichita. This negotiating team did a journeyman’s job.”

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IAM Pushes For House Passage of PRO ACT

The House is likely to vote on the Protecting the Rights to Organize (PRO) Act next week.

The IAM is advocating for the PRO Act  (H.R. 2474), which would eliminate so-called right to work laws and broaden workers’ rights to strike and organize. The bill, introduced in May by House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA), was approved in committee and now the IAM is pushing for a full House floor vote. U.S. Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) led a strong letter of support , with dozens of his democratic colleagues, for the PRO ACT to the House Democratic leadership team.

The IAM also sent a letter to the House Democratic leadership team urging support for the PRO ACT.

“The PRO Act is a crucially bold piece of legislation that modernizes federal laws and establishes a process for mediation and arbitration to help the parties achieve a first contract”, said Machinists Union International President Robert Martinez Jr. “It protects a workers’ right to organize a union and bargain for higher wages and better benefits.”

Read the entire letter.

TAKE ACTION: Tell your member of Congress to vote “yes” on the PRO Act

Congressional lawmakers say the legislation would drastically improve worker protections. That includes provisions such as:

  • Establish penalties on predatory corporations that violate workers’ rights and combat misclassification of workers as supervisors and independent contractors.
  • Strengthen workers’ right to strike for basic workplace improvements, including higher wages and better working conditions.
  • Create a mediation and arbitration process to ensure corporations and newly formed unions reach a first contract.
  • Authorize unions and employers to negotiate agreements that allow unions to collect fair-share fees that cover the costs of representation.
  • Streamline the National Labor Relation Board’s (NLRB) procedures to secure worker freedoms and effectively prevent violations.
  • Protect the integrity of union elections against coercive captive audience meetings.  

Passage in the House would advance the legislation to the Senate for consideration.

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New Report: China Trade Deficit Has Cost 3.7 Million U.S. Jobs

The growing trade deficit with China has cost 3.7 million U.S. jobs between 2001 and 2018, including 700,000 jobs lost in the first two years of the Trump administration, according to a new Economic Policy Institute (EPI) analysis . The study comes two weeks after the president signed a “phase one” trade deal with China.

Despite tariffs and other restrictions imposed on China trade, the bilateral trade deficit continued to grow between 2016 and 2018 because of the failure to address the fundamental flaws with the U.S.-China trade relationship, the report says.

Job losses occurred in all 50 states and in every industry, with the highest concentration of job loss in manufacturing. A staggering 2.8 million jobs—three-fourths of the total jobs lost in this time period—were in manufacturing.

“A fundamental transformation of the U.S.-China trade relationship is long overdue,” said EPI President Thea Lee. “We need real dialogue with the Chinese government to make progress toward compliance with internationally recognized workers’ rights, ideally in coordination with our allies.”

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Bilingual Speakers are the Bridge to Latino Workforce Outreach

Members of the IAMAW Spanish Leadership Working Group (SLWG) convened last week at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center (W3)  to discuss the direction of the group, improve their visibility, welcome new members, and to review and update the Spanish education materials for the New Year 2020.

2020 is a particularly important year for our nation and our Union. Our IAM Spanish Leadership programs activate and empower our bilingual and Spanish-speaking members to become officers, activists, and leaders in their Union, in their workplace, and in their communities, we need their energy, insight, and activism now more than ever.

As Union leaders, it is essential to understand the cultural differences of our members and to adapt our outreach efforts to the intended audience. By ensuring that we identify participants for the Spanish Leadership program, we will allow our Union to provide outreach to groups of members that are far too often underserved, excluded, or pushed to the margins of society.

The language connection will encourage the participants’ confidence in their ability to be leaders in their Local Lodges or on their shop floors in either language. When the power of the IAM message is delivered to members by members with a shared cultural story and language, the message resonates so much more. If our leaders have the knowledge to converse about labor issues in English and Spanish, we arm them with powerful tools to counter the efforts of employers to divide us further. 

“The programs the IAM offers in Spanish are helping to build and strengthen our union. And like our English leadership programs, are developing future officers, activists, organizers and leaders,” said International President Bob Martinez. “This work aligns with our values of making education broadly available to the membership and equipping member activists with the skills they need to effectively represent and add future members who are a part of the fastest growing demographic segment in our country.”

There is an urgent need to educate our members in their native language to inspire activism; members are more likely to get involved when they see that their union’s issues align with their own concerns. The Spanish programs at W3 are an excellent way of training and inspiring our next generation of IAM leaders as the labor movement develops and the demographics of our country continue to change.

The Spanish Leadership Working Group welcomed three new members to the group, which include Marilyn Soto Steward LL 914 from Perth Amboy, NJ, Laura Ewan, Legal Dept. Grand Lodge staff from Alexandria, VA, and Luis Silvas Business representative from LL 1125 from San Diego, Ca.

The first class, Spanish Leadership I, will take place March 15-20, 2020. However there are several other Spanish programs that target the various levels of union leadership education. There are also staff classes including Collective Bargaining and Organizing I, both offered in Spanish.

Please note that enrollments in any of the Spanish Leadership programs do not count against your lodge’s regular leadership school allotments. 

Click here to download enrollment forms in either Spanish or English directly from the Winpisinger Center’s website.  The Spanish classes for 2020 are as follows:

March            15-20            SPANISH LEADERSHIP I

May                  17-22            ORGANIZING I PROGRAM SPANISH

June                14-19            SPANISH ADVANCED LEADERSHIP

July                  12-17            SPANISH LEADERSHIP II

August            16-21            SPANISH LEADERSHIP I

August            23-28            SPANISH TRAIN-THE-TRAINER

November     08-13           COLLECTIVE BARGAINING in SPANISH

If you have any questions about the Spanish Leadership programs or need any additional information, please contact Edmundo Osorio at (301) 373-8814 or eosorio@iamaw.org

 

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