What ALPA' s silence tells you...
The following is the text of a posting on the ALPA Eagle MEC Forum Board that appeared today, February 5, 2012 under the heading What ALPA's silence tells you... by former MEC Chairman Captain Cevin Kehm.
The AEPA is reposting this statement by Captain Kehm because it is important for the American Eagle pilots that were hired after the year 1997 to understand that this was the last time any ALPA Eagle MEC leadership stood up to management and rejected management's outrageous demands. As per the Pilot Agreement (Section 30) the failed (failed = because the MEC would not bend over and willingly accept management's demands) the TA was submitted to Interest Arbitration and management was forced to justify its stupid demands before three (3) neutral arbitrators.
After 2000, the ALPA Eagle MEC leadership, beginning with Herb Mark and Dave Ryter, and now Tony Gutierrez and Dave Ryter, have not only accepted every management demand but have eagerly accepted the role of Spokesperson for American Eagle Airlines management. Every single message from management has been delivered by Tony Gutierrez or Dave Ryter, so much so the American Eagle Airlines' Jetnet page is worthless as a source of current information.
Now the American Eagle pilots are confronted with bankruptcy, displacement, downgrade and furlough and the management Spokesperson ALPA says "We cannot tell you anything because we signed a confidentiality agreement". ALPA forgets it is paid millions of dollars in pilot dues money to represent the American Eagle pilots and is paid nothing by management to represent American Eagle Airlines.
For the information of the American Eagle pilots, the entire ALPA Eagle MEC and the Negotiating Committee have been relieved from flying the line and have been placed on (SA) Special Assignment (to stay home). Pilots on Special Assignment (SA) are paid by management thus proving the fact that the current ALPA Eagle MEC and Negotiating Committee work directly for management, and not the American Eagle pilots.
"It now appears that - after much criticism from the membership - ALPA has decided to divulge a bit from the "confidential" meeting that the Eagle unions had with management this past week. As a point of interest, NO other labor participant has described the bankruptcy meeting with management as coved by "confidentiality agreements". Not the APA, not the APFA, nor the TWU. In fact, ALPA does not just casually mention confidentiality, they trumpet it throughout multiple useless communications to the membership.
To be clear, NO such "confidentiality" was uniquely required of ALPA by management at these meetings. ALPA is simply using PAST blanket confidentiality agreements, agreements that they eagerly signed again and again, as cover to duck the fact that they are neither requiring information from management, nor receiving any useful information from management.
And why would they receive any information? ALPA has repeatedly prostrated themselves at management's feet and have unreservedly expressed their fealty to management. Management has nothing to fear from ALPA on this property, and therefore NO reason to respect their role as the certified bargaining agent of the professional pilots of American Eagle Airlines.
There were, however, some bits of information that ALPA did reluctantly - and only under pressure - just supply to the pilots via the ALPA EGL MEC Hotline dated February 4, 2012.
Four (4) statements appear in that "hotline" that should greatly concern the American Eagle pilots. These statements speak to ALPA's belief in its own inability to represent American Eagle pilots, as well as portend momentous and negative consequences of the AMR bankruptcy, specifically as they relate to Eagle.
These statements appear in order and are:
1. "Replacing the majority of the regional aircraft fleet."
2. "Right-sizing the aircraft gauge to the market it serves."
3. "Position ourselves to recapture anything lost..."
4. Two (2) LOA's covering furlough mitigation measures.
Let's look at these statements one at a time and see what they may say about what ALPA knows and why ALPA refuses to speak honestly and plainly with the American Eagle pilots.
1. "Replacing the majority of the regional aircraft fleet":
This statement - which does not seem to appear in ANY public statements by management - is a large one. Replacing the " majority" of the regional fleet is an extremely costly endeavor for any airline, much less one that is bankrupt. Further, it requires the APA to succumb to management's "Term Sheet", which was distributed to the APA at last weeks' management briefing.
While there are undoubtedly many Eagle pilots who would like to believe that this management "Dream Sheet" will become a reality, the fact is, it WILL NOT. United, Delta and US Airways have all gone through bankruptcies and no doubt received similar management demands. Those demands were modified by negotiations and the 1113 process, and yielded a final product far different from what management initially demanded. In fact, none of the aforementioned airlines had their "scope" clauses eviscerated to the extent AMR is envisioning in their list of demands to the APA.
If management, however, does succeed in winning more liberal scope language, and if AMR (including American Eagle) is bankrupt, WHO would benefit from the newly expanded feed business?
Most probably a group of independent carriers that either already have the larger equipment or have the liquidity and credit to purchase such new equipment on the open market.
If management does not win a significantly broader ability to expand feeder flying, and if - as ALPA implies by the above quoted statement - Eagle is flying equipment that must be replaced, what then?
It isn't hard to deduce that the ALPA-represented pilots of American Eagle Airlines will lose in either of the two eventualities described above.
No Eagle pilots should be comforted by the above-quoted statement by ALPA.
What does ALPA really know, and what are they hiding from the American Eagle pilots?
2. "Right-sizing the aircraft gauge to the market it serves":
See the following definitions of "right-sizing" and then you will understand the real meaning of the phrase that ALPA used in its recent hotline:
Merriam-Webster's Learners Dictionary:
right·siz·es; right·sized; right·siz·ing
: to make a company smaller and more efficient by reducing the number of workers : downsize [no obj] ? The company plans to rightsize. [+ obj] ? The company has rightsized [=downsize its staff.
Merriam Webster Dictionary
: to reduce (as a workforce) to an optimal size
: to undergo a reduction to an optimal size [i]
if a company rightsizes, it gets rid of some workers in order to save money or become more effective. This word is often used [b]to avoid saying that people will lose their jobs.
> [I or T] HR, MANAGEMENT to become or to make a company or organization become a more effective size, especially by reducing the number of people working for it:
As the market share eroded, we had to right-size.
The new management team is trying to right-size the company rather than looking for revenue growth.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
right?size [intransitive and transitive
if a company or organization rightsizes, or if it rightsizes its operations, it reduces the number of people it employs in order to reduce costs - used especially by companies to make the reduction in the number of workers sound good and sensible [? downsize]:
Do you see any reference to expansion, up-gauging or growth in the above definitions?
What does ALPA really know and why are they hiding it from the pilots?
3. "Position ourselves to recapture anything lost":
This stunning statement by EGL-ALPA MEC Chairman Gutierrez speaks for itself. It is evident that ALPA does not believe it can do anything to PROTECT what the pilots currently have because of management''s requested 16-year, no-strike, pay-indexed and industry averaged contract. ALPA apparently does not believe that it can explain to the bankruptcy judge how our contract came about and how management has benefitted from this contract (which management requested from the Eagle pilots in 1997) and how management is guaranteed that every four (4) years the Agreement is amended, but always management is protected by the requirement that anything arbitrated MUST be awarded based upon the industry average, thus protecting management from EVER being forced to provide provisions that are above the industry average.
Re-read the above so that you fully understand what I am stating: Our 16-year contract was designed to PROTECT MANAGEMENT, and it has performed admirably.
Neither, apparently, does ALPA feel that it can mount any 1113 defense based upon the fact that American Eagle Airlines is PROFITABLE.
At a recent meeting with the Domicile Chief Pilots, it is reported that Dan Garton told those present (in the context of a reported 20-25% pilot pay cut being discussed with ALPA): "...don't misunderstand, American Eagle IS profitable, we just want to make it MORE profitable..."
No, ALPA does not believe that it can do anything other than beg on your behalf later to get back what ALPA apparently believes is about to be lost.
What kind of representation is this?
What does ALPA really know and why are they hiding it from the pilots?
4. Letters Of Agreement regarding "furlough mitigation procedures":
This announcement, provided by the MEC Negotiating Chairman Douglas Gibbs, is probably the the most definitive piece of information yet that proves ALPA is lying to the pilots and withholding crucial information that pilots need in order to plan the next stages of their life and career.
It is apparent from reading the "Negotiators (sic) Update" in the ALPA hotline of February 4, 2012 that MANAGEMENT has REQUESTED these two Letters of Agreement.
Is it not reasonable to assume that ALPA did ask why (assuming they didn't already know)? And just what representational purpose does withholding the answer to this question serve?
You do not need "furlough mitigation procedures" unless there are going to be furloughs.
How many pilots out there heed ALPA's advice to stick their heads in the sand and ignore all but the accurate, detailed and complete information provided by their union? Information that, not for nothing, pilots pay quite a lot of money for?
How many pilots believe that IF there were going to be any significant furloughs, down-sizing or elimination of bases, seats or equipment, management and ALPA would be forthright and tell them - as professionals - what is in store so that the affected pilots could plan accordingly?
How many pilots, then, are currently obligating themselves to situations, circumstances and expenses that THEY WOULD NOT HAVE OTHERWISE DONE IF THEY HAD BEEN GIVEN ACCURATE INFORMATION THAT THEY MAY BE ABOUT TO LOSE THEIR JOBS?
What does ALPA really know and why are they lying about it to the American Eagle pilots?
The four (4) statements from the recent ALPA hotline that are discussed above are very telling and ominous.
It should be clear to every American Eagle pilot that ALPA is lying to them about "confidentiality". ALPA's representational rationale of doing management's bidding and hoping for a few crumbs for the pilots has failed. ALPA cannot now undo the damage they have wrought with their laissez-faire representational style, and they don't now wish to own up to this failure. It is far easier to alternatively lie, say nothing and shrug their shoulders as American Eagle pilots lose their jobs than it is for them to admit failure.
To be sure, probably not all jobs at Eagle could be saved in a bankruptcy, but it IS ALPA's JOB to fight for YOUR JOB, not to promise to try to pick up the pieces after Humpty has fallen off the wall.
Check out the recent hotlines of the APFA, the TWU and even the APA to see how professional unions are responding to management's outrageous demands. Then, notice how timid ALPA seems by comparison.
Why is this, do you think?
YOU CAN STOP ALPA before they do any more permanent damage to your career. Write, e-mail or call your elected representatives and DEMAND that ALPA cease capitulating to management. Tell ALPA that no amount of management appeasing is going to cause AMR to "make nice" with the Eagle pilots during this bankruptcy. Advise ALPA that the only thing that management will respond to is principled, tough and fair negotiations based upon strength and resolve.
Tell ALPA to stop cowering at management's feet hoping for a crumb or a favor, and demand that they begin properly informing the pilots of this airline as to their future.
There can be no strength or unity through ignorance, only through information.
Tell ALPA to change course immediately, or admit failure and step out of the way.
The above statements and information from ALPA put the lie to the claim of confidentiality, and - in any event - the release of the information above obviates ALPA's bogus claims of maintaining confidentiality. As such, there is no further reason for ALPA to sit silently protecting management's prerogatives to the detriment of the very people ALPA purports to represent.
ALPA needs to lead, follow or get the hell out of the way."
The AEPA believes that this message from Captain Kehm is extremely important and insightful and requests that you foreward it to other American Eagle pilots (aka the 99%) who do not participate on the ALPA Eagle MEC Forum Board.
Demand NOTHING and you cannot complain when that IS ALL YOU ARE GIVEN!
Posted on Monday, February 06, 2012