American Airlines’ senior vice president for airport services and cargo retired to take over as president of a company that bids for outsourced services for American and other airlines. Will Tom R. Del Valle take more agents’ jobs with him?
Apparently this is AMR’s plan, although they refuse to tell us. Management has stated that it can gain labor cost savings by outsourcing some 25 percent of all agent jobs, and is looking at that option among others. In 1995 the “Long Term Strategy” plan resulted in 30 stations being outsourced. How many will be outsourced this time around? With a union these terms would be negotiated.
Del Valle’s new position is with G2 Secure Staff, which provides “aviation support services at 40 airports,” including with American Airlines, paying little better than minimum wage to its workers. The fact that Del Valle’s retirement was announced Feb. 15 and he assumes his new job on April 2 adds to the suspicion that AMR is preparing to use G2 to outsource jobs.
The top management team at G2 has more than 130 years of experience at American Airlines. For example, the current director of station operations at G2 was responsible for 26 outsourced AA locations. G2 is already doing skycap, ramp, cabin and passenger service work for American Airlines and other carriers. In many of the ski cities, G2 runs the entire operation.
Agents at US Airways, represented by CWA, were able to limit the outsourcing of jobs during bankruptcy by the carrier – and negotiated “snapback” provisions that returned all outsourced jobs. US Airways agents also were able to negotiate with management about what concessions they were willing to accept, minimizing the impact on agents and their families. Since then, they’ve recovered all the concessions they agreed to. These include:
- Benefit and pay cuts of $5 (instead of the $10 demanded by the company), now restored and with pay raises on the most recent contract
- Sick days restored to 12, holidays to 10, plus pay improvements tied to shift/position differentials and customer contact premiums
- A Work-from-Home agent provision with the same benefits as office-based workers, with additional compensation to pay for phone and Internet service
Unionized employees at American Airlines now negotiating with management have fended off many concession demands, including AMR’s proposal to terminate pension plans. Passenger service and reservation agents are the only major employee group not represented by a union.
With the help of CWA, we were able to gain legal standing in bankruptcy court with an Ad Hoc Committee, and the committee is seeking a court injunction to prevent American Airlines from making any changes in agents’ pay and working conditions until after the representation election. A hearing is scheduled for April 25th on the committee’s request.
Still, these are temporary measures until we can negotiate. The company is not legally bound to bargain with us until we vote for CWA in the representation election. The National Mediation Board is expected to rule on our request for an election in the next few weeks.