No longer in the Sand Box
- Jul 17, 2002
- Total Time
From the latest VARS
This is Captain Jason Ruszin, MEC Chairman, with an update to the VARS on Thursday October 2nd, 2008.
My apologies for the delay, but I would like to give you a summary of our last negotiating session with the company.
We met in Albuquerque, New Mexico on August 12-15, 2008.
As an overall comment, your negotiating committee continues to be perplexed by the company's unwillingness to want to move
these negotiations along at a faster pace. One would believe that a ratified contract would be in the best interest of
all parties, yet the company continues to play delay games and politics at the bargaining table. This session, like many
others, lacked significant progress. We continue to chip away at what appears to be a petrified redwood tree.
We are now 2 years past our amendable date. It has been more than 2 ½ years since we began negotiations. We completed the
2000 Agreement in 2 years. Even though we have negotiated six months longer than our 2000 negotiations, we still have most
of the major issues on the table. In fact, the company has not yet provided ANY substantial response to ANY major
compensation sections of the Agreement. Just one example of the type of disingenuous delay tactic we hear from the Company
occurred at our last session. Last November when ALPA presented the scheduling section, the company said there wasn’t
much they could do in response to our scheduling proposal without seeing our compensation section. We soon thereafter presented
our compensation section. At our last session in Albuquerque, we asked if the company had a response to our compensation
section. They said no, they couldn’t give us a response to compensation until the scheduling section was finalized! This is
what we face at the table despite the fact that the Company has reported some of the lowest pilot costs and some of the
highest profit margins in the industry for the past 3 years.
As a general rule, at our last session, ALPA would present a proposal, the company would listen politely to our concerns, and at times the
parties engaged in productive dialogue. The problem was, however, that when the company gave us their written response,
there was little if any change to their previous position. In some instances, the company even moved backwards from
their previous position! We were left with the impression that the company was just giving us lip service when we discussed
The specifics of our last session are as follows:
on August 12 ALPA proposed Section 28, Retirement at 12:55. The Company proposed nothing the entire day.
On August 13, the Company responded to our proposal to Section 28, Retirement. However, the Company’s proposal did not
include any of the “money items” in this section, but only dealt with process issues. Furthermore, some of the items we
proposed in this section were minimal to no cost to the company. These items would benefit everyone including those in management
positions by creating more options. While recognizing this is a negotiation, we would be hopeful that improving the contract
without raising costs should not require significant debate on either side. Improving the contract will not only benefit the
pilot group and possible other employee groups but will make Trans States a more attractive company to come and work for. We
see this as a win win for everyone.
In addition, ALPA proposed Section 25, Scheduling (A and B only) at 11:45, responded to
Section 28, Retirement at 17:34, and proposed Section 25, Scheduling (C and D only) at 17:40.
On August 14, ALPA proposed Section 25, Scheduling (E – H) at 14:49. The Company proposed Section 12, Hours of Service at 15:18.
The Company’s proposal contained NO CHANGES EXCEPT THE DATE ON THE PROPOSAL. When asked why the Company would bother to do this,
they stated that they didn’t want the proposal on their side of the table at the end of the week. This represents another example
of why we claim the company is delaying and playing politics. The Company also passed Section 25, Scheduling (A – D) with little
or no change.
On August 15, the Company passed Section 25, Scheduling (E – K) with, as you might have guessed by now, little or no change.
Negotiations will resume next week in St. Louis. The negotiating committee remains committed to negotiating a fair and equitable
contract for this pilot group and will not succumb to the arduous and obstacle laden road the company has put forth. With the
support of this pilot group we will achieve nothing less.
Once again, The Negotiating Committee has decided to conduct a scientific telephone poll of our pilot group in an
effort to track and trend opinions of our pilots. The MEC has hired a professional polling firm by the name of the
Wilson Center for Public Research. They are a not-for-profit organization that specializes in canvassing union member
opinions, especially those of pilots. The date polling is set to begin is still to be determined. Additional announcements
will be made when polling is set to begin.
Thank you for listening; Fly safe and fly your contract!