Presidents of four Transport Workers Union locals have made a two-part video urging members to vote against American Airlines’ “last, best” offer.

Speaking on the video were John T. Ruiz, Local 564, western United States; Bob Owens, Local 562 president, New York and northeastern United States; Jorge Rojas, Local 561 president, Miami and Florida; and Gary Peterson, Local 565, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport maintenance base.

The speakers said that the president of the Chicago local that represents mechanics and related employees, Local 563, backed their positions, as did the president of Local 567, which represents the Alliance maintenance base in Fort Worth.

We note, without any conclusions, that the largest base, Tulsa, did not participate.

Among the comments were those from D/FW’s Gary Peterson who said the TWU offered a variety of ways to improve American’s operations:

“The company didn’t entertain anything. … The company turned around and said, ‘We’re not interested in helping you. What we’re interested in doing is running our business the way we want to run our business.’ And we’ve seen what that’s gotten us over the last several years.

“So for those of you that are considering voting yes, I ask you to really think about your career, your livelihood and if you might get laid off, what you’re going to come back to. Just voting yes isn’t going to save this. We need to stand up, we need to stand together and we need to fight our way through this. And if that means going through the process and an abrogation and going back to negotiations, if we stick together there’s a good chance we’ll come out better on the other side.

“If we agree to accept this, we accept it, and the company’s answer going forward is going to be, ‘Hey, you guys voted for it. This is your deal. This is what you guys said you wanted.’ This is unacceptable. Nobody should be considering this deal.”

We also have a video from TWU international president Jim Little in which he explains why the TWU is sending out a proposal that it doesn’t like.

“We’re not recommending a position. The decision to vote yes or no is yours and yours alone,” Little tells members.

Of course, he warns them of the potential consequences of a no vote:

“Our members have the final say. So you will decide whether we are going to accept the company’s last, best and final offer, or accept the risk of the bankruptcy court judge rejecting our contract. Even though the judge may reject our contracts, we remain the bargaining agent.

“However, we no longer have a collective bargaining agreement at American Airlines and will begin contract negotiations. At that point, the company has stated and we expected that we will work under the original terms demanded by the company when they filed the 1113 motion to reject our contracts before the bankruptcy court.”

According to the TWU, members can begin voting at 12:01 a.m. Central Daylight Time on Thursday, May 10, with voting ending at 11:59 p.m. Monday, May 14.

American has asked U.S. Bankrupty Judge Sean Lane to let American reject its contracts with the TWU, the Allied Pilots Association and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

American presented its case April 23-27. On Monday, May 14, the unions begin presenting their arguments about why Judge Lane should turn down American’s request. The TWU’s degree of participation will depend to a great deal on whether TWU members approve or vote against American’s last offer.

UPDATE: For an extended view from the TWU’s side, keep reading a piece submitted to us by Peterson, the Local 565 president:

The Aviation Maintenance Technician at American Airlines, the untold bankruptcy story

“Historically, many at American Airlines (AA) have considered the Transport Workers Union (TWU) the most passive labor union on the property, and once again the TWU has attempted to negotiate a labor agreement for its Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMT) to meet AA’s financial demands before making arguments before Judge Lane in the Bankruptcy Court. This time, even the TWU was unable to meet AMR’s over reaching and onerous demands. Instead of working in good faith towards a ‘consensual agreement,’ AMR executives decided to go for the jugular in their ‘final- offer.’ It is unfortunate that most of the media coverage, so far, has been reluctant to tell the employees side of the story. Over the last couple weeks, most news media outlets commented on AMR’s version of the story but none has asked labor to provide a candid response. I want to convey the side of the story and for the Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMT’s) and to inform the public of the truth surrounding this bankruptcy and AA’s far-reaching and unnecessary demands.

“The AMT story of being an American Airlines must be told, because they are the one group Judge Lane needs to absolutely consider when he hears the reasons to abrogate our labor agreement. According to AA’s ‘final-offer,’ the AMT’s are the eighth out of eight to comparison airlines in the industry for pay and benefits – not to mention a whopping 25% behind the cross-town low cost carrier; Southwest Airlines in pay alone. American Airlines AMT’s are the lowest paid in the industry and if the final-offer is ratified they will be for another six years. AMT’s are being pressured to ratify the six year ‘final-offer’ by way of fear in additional job losses, however these same employees will continue to slide further behind the rest of their counterparts in the airline industry, including AMT’s at many ‘non-union’ carriers. My statements are not to take anything from the other workgroups at American Airlines; it is simply to bring this information to light, because the press and the public are more than likely not aware of these facts, about the AMT’s at American Airlines, who they rely on to maintain the aircraft they fly on business and pleasure any time they book a flight.

“The ‘final-offer’ AMR has presented, changes work-rules that the union was willing to modify, but AA management it appears had no intention of working towards a consensual agreement. In fact, these newly rewritten ‘work rules’ have been done without any consideration for why the old rules had existed in the first place. These drastic changes are not going to save AA any money; rather they will further degrade the already strained employee/employer relationship and increase overall costs. Unfortunately, this continued degradation of the management/union relationship, which in turn will only lead to further dissatisfaction from the customers that we all need to keep the airline flying. Now AA and the media, in what appears to be a concerted effort at times, have continually pointed the finger at the unions for the obvious morale issues that are prevalent throughout the company, but one must ask, how does the management team at the most heavily unionized airline in the United States (Southwest Airlines) keep their employees so engaged in making their company, keeping the airlines so strong? It is easy, at Southwest they, the executive team recognizes the importance of treating all their employees with dignity and respect, along with good pay and benefits. Most importantly, Southwest never forgets that it is the passengers and the front-line employees are who make the airline successful and profitable.

“There is no mention of dignity or respect in AA’s ‘final-offer,’ or what I would call the plan for ‘demoralizing and wreaking six more years of havoc on employee’s lives.’ This offer calls for the closing of an important part of our Fort Worth community, the Alliance Fort Worth Maintenance Aircraft Overhaul facility. The Alliance facility is home for AA’s Boeing 767 & 777 fleet and the honorary facility of the ‘Fort Worth Airpower Foundation (FWAPF) SkyBall’, which, since 2003, has recognized and provided millions of dollars in voluntary donations to the areas most deserving and important neighbors, our local military veterans. AA Alliance employees have won many charitable awards including donating the most blood for local residents to Carter Blood Care, involvement in Junior Achievement, Not to mention the community program Alliance employees have been involve with at local area schools, Junior Achievement, Carter Blood Care, the Steve Harvey mentorship program, and the list goes on and on. Instead AA intends to outsource most of this work, along with up to 35% of its current fleets to the lowest bidder; including facilities in many foreign countries. The offer gets even worse since AA executives have removed the AMT’s job security provisions and replaced it with contract language that will allow 100% outsourcing of all next generation aircraft; that AA has ordered but not yet taken delivery of. This includes all soon to be acquired Airbus and the Boeing 787 aircraft; nowhere in the final-offer will you find that any American Airlines AMT’s will work on these aircraft. For an AMT at American, a vote for AA’s ‘final-offer,’ is an agreement to allow for the elimination of their career. In the end, all this ‘final-offer’ provides for is, work on the Boeing 737 & 777 in line-maintenance stations like DFW and only the Boeing 737 in aircraft overhaul. 100% of the passenger favorite Boeing 777, for overhaul maintenance, will be outsourced to potentially the lowest bidder abroad. What is worse is the American Airlines ‘final-offer’ and fleet replacement plan of MD-80′s, 757′s, and 767′s allows for the elimination of thousands more of these highly skilled aircraft maintenance technician jobs in the future; more than likely at to foreign maintenance facilities in places like South America and China.

“It is important to note, and rarely stated, in the media that these are good jobs, the kind of jobs that require tremendous skill sets and we are giving them away to countries like China; where the FAA has limited oversight. These types of jobs going to foreign countries should make not only the residents and the politicians of the DFW area angry, but also every one of us who live in these United States of America. The shame of it all is that you hear barely a whimper out anyone, especially from our politicians. When these jobs do leave our community and head to countries like China, neither the airplanes nor the mechanics working on them will be subject to the intense scrutiny that they are when they are worked on here, on US soil. On any given day or time at DFW Airport, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector has the right to oversight and investigation of any aircraft maintenance procedure conducted in a hangar or at the terminal, an AMT performs, in the United States. This element of surprise and ongoing understanding for FAA inspection goes away, like the AMT jobs, in foreign countries; especially in overhaul maintenance where the FAA is required to announce any visit, in advance before arriving for inspection. The flying public needs to ask itself, what makes them feel more comfortable when they are flying at speeds over 500 MPH; surprise inspections or the making of an appointment for inspection? This is not to scare the flying public, but rather to point out the reality of what has become of aircraft maintenance at most of our countries airlines. It’s not just aircraft maintenance; almost every industry in our country has been outsourced to the lowest bidder, which is indicative of the fact that nearly all the products we buy have a label that says ‘made in China,’ or some other country. Do you really want to add the stamp of ‘maintained in China’ to the fuselage of an American Airlines airplane?

“In closing, I ask for the media to tell the entire story, not AA’s side of it. For it is the employees who made American Airlines a great place to work, and the bond and relationship between the ‘front line employees’ remains stronger now than ever. All of the front line employees want the airline that we once had back; unfortunately the executives refuse to recognize who made this airline #1 in performance in years past. It was the front line employees; the men and women of American Airlines working on the front lines for this company day and night, 24 hours a day – 365 days a year, and proud to do so that you can spend time wherever American Airlines takes you. The employees are proud of the work we do, the careers we have established, and the company we literally built from the ground up. Here a little industry secret for those in the executive office, your heart has to be with the front line employees and the airlines can’t run an airline from behind a desk. Representing the Aircraft Maintenance Technicians and Stock Clerks at DFW

“Gary Peterson President, TWU Local 565″

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