Independence Day – and Negotiating!

Hafa Adai Flyers,

Happy Independence Day!  May we each pause today to appreciate the freedom, peace, and security that we enjoy living under the Flag – always remembering that freedom is not free.  God Bless America!

I know that you are all eager for information as changes swirl around us.  Please know that everything is on track and moving forward at warp speed.  There is simply not much to report – until there is MUCH to report!

We have just completed another round of negotiations.  It went well; we made progress and reached agreements on a number of the issues you posed to us.   We will return to the Table on July 16th.

As you recall, CAL is currently in the process of voting for a few improvements to their contract.  That vote will be tallied on July 13th.  Our next round of talks is well timed to take place once their ratification is completed.   We are confident that we will return with a tentative agreement, ready for your vote.   We will set meeting dates as soon as we can secure a room, and be relatively certain your Team will not still be in Chicago.

Last month your negotiators met with AFA International leaders and the Master Executive Councils (MEC) from CAL and UAL.  We are all working in comfortable solidarity to make this merger come together quickly – while protecting what we have.  In preparation for negotiating the biggest contract in the industry, we will be attending a week-long workshop next month along with the negotiators from CAL and UAL.  This will be a time of team-building as we get to know each other better.

Negotiations for the Joint Contract will begin at the end of August.  UAL is compelled to participate.  CAL is deciding, in their current vote, if they are ready to go to that table.  We will be pushed to join them after we agree on the short list of improvements to our current book.    There is almost nothing we can do to delay – or speed – this process.

Joint Contract negotiations promise to be extremely complex as we combine two very different cultures.  A new survey will enable us to ensure that we are bargaining for the best hopes, desires and intentions of the majority.  We will have more information on that shortly.

Meanwhile, I know that things are grim right now.  We continue to suffer with low line values  – the loss of income is painful.  The anticipated transfer of more of our flying this September is causing still more anxiety, causing us to wonder about the future of our base.  You need to know that this anxiety is spread throughout the system as rumors of base closures persist.  CLE, IAH and EWR all will be radically over-staffed this fall.  And, all the smaller UAL bases feel similarly threatened – especially those that have new CAL domestic bases being placed right beside them!

Friends, we are still in an uncomfortable transition period – blowing around in the winds of change – with very little control.  This will pass.  There are going to be great opportunities ahead as we settle into becoming the largest airline in the world; still treasuring the times when we worked for one of the world’s smallest…

On another note – dues increases are due to kick in this month.  You will seen the change in your July 16th paycheck:  $48, up from $43.  This significant increase reflects the times we are entering.  Try thinking of it as a Vente Mocha Latte without caffeine or calories.  It is an investment in your lifestyle and career.  Expect big dividends.

I know, I know….  OUCH!   DAMN!  – and a bunch of other expletives.  But, just stay tuned and see how it all pays out.   Glance around at our uncovered co-workers and remember: union membership doesn’t cost – it pays!

Enjoy your job, and look to the future with hope and happy expectations.
Until next time, fly safely and have some fun!

MEC President
Continental Micronesia