Fellow American Eagle pilots,
Let me begin by congratulating Captain John Glenna and First Officer Chris Murray on their election to the local representative positions in our Chicago domicile. These volunteers will replace Captain Frank Kletecka and First Officer Ryan Nichols when their terms end on February 28, 2013. In addition, I want to congratulate John Dwyer and Erin Holman on their reelection as the local representatives of our SJU domicile. These positions are incredibly demanding and we are continually grateful for the individuals who decide to volunteer their personal time on behalf of their fellow pilots.
As we enter a holiday week, I wanted to update you on a few important things.
First, there is currently a draft Letter of Agreement on assisting our “low time” pilots in achieving the minimum flight time required for an Airline Transport Pilot license prior to the August 2nd deadline. We are fully aware that there is simply no possible way to accomplish this without temporarily affecting someone’s seniority rights. Nonetheless, as with pilots who experience extreme hardships in their personal life, we sometimes make exceptions to seniority in order to assist our fellow pilots who are powerless to fix the problem they are encountering without intervention.
The draft LOA that is now posted on the EGL-ALPA website is the only version that is currently under consideration for a vote. It is unfortunate that an earlier proposal was posted on a public message board, leading pilots to believe that version was attainable. The fact is that management flatly rejected that proposal when it was first made. In addition, that version contained seniority-related issues that were left unaddressed. This is a primary reason that we don’t post mere proposals; because they lead pilots to believe that those proposals are achievable when, in fact, the only thing achievable is the version on which the two parties ultimately agree.
We realize that this is a difficult decision but we ask that you give the current draft your consideration and let your local representative know whether or not it is an acceptable solution.
On a different note, we continue to negotiate with management over AQP and are making solid headway. We believe that it is within reason that we will reach agreement prior to the end of the year and have the language available for your review and consideration. Once an agreement is reached and ratified, management will begin small group trials, which will take approximately 90-days. If successful, the company will begin conducting our recurrent training under AQP. Long-term training will also be converted to AQP once all recurrent training has been moved.
With reference to local issues, management has expressed to us that it is short on ATR pilots in SJU. As a result, it is going to be running monthly TDYs from MIA to SJU between now and when the SJU domicile closes on April 1st. Management is accepting voluntary TDYs, but is filling any remaining spots with involuntary TDY.
We are in discussions with management regarding those displaced MIA ATR pilots who are not TDY’d to SJU for any particular month, since there are no longer any ATR aircraft to fly in MIA. We hope to have more information on this shortly.
In LAX, things are being handled differently. Management has informed us that LAX pilots who displaced into the EMB will have their base-transfer effective for December. For those LAX pilots whose displacement requires training, they will be TDY’d to the domicile that they will ultimately be displaced to once they complete training. The exception to this is those LAX pilots who displaced to SJU. Management recently announced a long-term training course for the first group of LAX pilots who displaced to SJU ATR. This class is currently scheduled to begin on Monday, November 26th. LAX pilots who displaced to SJU but are not scheduled for this Monday’s long-term class will be TDY’d to either New York or Miami.
Lastly, we are still awaiting a final implementation schedule regarding our ratified contract changes. Management continues to work to get PTO up and running by January 1st. Most of the other major contract adjustments require significant software changes or purchases. With all other Eagle and AA labor agreements being changed and implemented simultaneously, we simply do not yet know how quickly all of the new provisions will take effect. As soon as the court approves our ratified agreement and we receive a final implementation schedule, we will pass that along to you.
In closing, I want to wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving, whether at home or on the road. All of us who volunteer for union work are acutely aware of the challenges we have all endured this year. I cannot personally express in words the gratitude I have for all Eagle pilots. Your support over the past year resulted in a historic agreement, preserving the majority of provisions Eagle pilots have spent 30-plus years negotiating for. If you follow U.S. economics, you are aware that there have been a few promising signs in the past few weeks. Improved economic trends, combined with management’s obligations under our new agreement should result in some positive things for all of us in 2013. Stay tuned and please stay connected with your local representatives.
Captain Tony Gutierrez