By Email and USPS Certified Mail
Linda Puchala, Chairman
Elizabeth Dougherty, Member
Harry Hoglander, Member
National Mediation Board
1301 K Street, N.W., Suite 205E
Washington, D. C. 20005-7011
Re: American Airlines and Transport Workers Union of America AFL-CIO Seven Contract Groups
Dear Chairman Puchala and Members Dougherty and Hoglander:
I write on behalf of the Transport Workers Union of America (“TWU”), the certified representative for more than 24,000 bargaining unit employees employed at American Airlines. The TWU appreciates the active participation by the National Mediation Board (“NMB”) in the ongoing seven negotiations between TWU and American pursuant to Section 6, of the Railway Labor Act (“RLA”), 45 U.S.C. § 156.
In that context, I write to request that the NMB now proffer final and binding arbitration to the parties under Section 7 of the Railway Labor Act (“RLA”), 45 U.S.C. § 157, First to resolve all the issues currently subject to the Section 6 process. To be perfectly clear, TWU requests that the NMB take this action not as its “final required action” under Section 5, 45 U.S.C. § 155, First, but as an appropriate part of its efforts to reach quick resolution of these seven collective bargaining disputes during American’s re-organization in bankruptcy. If the NMB proffers such arbitration now, TWU will accept it subject to compliance with our internal governance procedures.
As you know the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and AMR have been involved in collective bargaining, spanning seven (AA) contract groups since June of 2006 to present – including those sessions convened after the bankruptcy filing on November 29, 2011. All efforts to reach voluntary agreements through direct negotiations were exhausted, including facilitated and self imposed “super session” techniques.
TWU filings for Mediation Services straddled the period from April 2008 through January 2009. Once invoked, the parties continued under the direction of your staff, observing “recess sessions” and additional “power or extreme” term sittings, in an effort to produce amicably acceptable terms.
Since 2003, the TWU has promoted and engaged in an open cooperative working relationship with AMR, willingly participating in financial briefings and strategic initiatives all with the mutual goal of producing stronger results and outcomes. At the time of the Airline filing for bankruptcy, we had two tentative agreements out for membership ratification (Fleet Service and Flight Dispatch) which were rescinded by the carrier
Although TWU has and will continue to exert every reasonable effort to reach consensual agreements with AA, we believe that the Section 7 process would offer the advantages of a final and expeditious resolution of the current dispute to enable the quick and successful re-organization of the carrier in bankruptcy. A panel of experienced labor arbitrators is best positioned to weigh the merits of the parties’ negotiating positions and proposals, and to craft a binding settlement. As stated above, TWU stands willing to agree to such Section 7 final and binding arbitration, subject to compliance with our internal governance procedures, and requests a prompt proffer by the NMB.
James C. Little