Final JCBA Proposals Submitted
February 16, 2021
Late last night, per the Protocol Agreement requirement, the final JCBA (Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement) proposals were exchanged between the union, comprised of Local 2750 representing the Atlas pilots and Local 1224 representing the Southern pilots, and the company Atlas Air. The exchange happened late last night as the company was making final adjustments to their proposal.
Sometime before the scheduled 11-day arbitration hearing, which is set to begin on March 17, 2021, the proposals will be submitted to the Arbitrator, Mr. Dana Eischen. From there, the CBA asks the arbitrator to issue the award 60 days after the beginning of the arbitration hearings, which again is March 17, 2021.
While we are still reviewing the documents, going into arbitration, the company is proposing Kalitta pay rates for the B-747 and below Kalitta pay rates for the B-777, B-767, and B-737. A 1% increase in retirement pay, offset by a reduction in medical benefits and 17 days of work per month. We will have more details as we have time to more thoroughly sort through all the documents we received late last night.
Let me refresh your memory as to how contract negotiations have gone over the past year or so. In a nutshell, while the company constantly spews out lip service on how genuine and committed they are to getting a JCBA, they have not made any real moves at the negotiating table since June of 2020. Their go-to response to our constant efforts to move things along has been, ‘Current Book’ or as of recently ‘No Provision’. On the other hand, the union has constantly made substantive changes during that same period of time to get movement at the negotiating table always with the company responding as above. Therefore, it is now obvious that the company decided to stop negotiating and wait for the arbitration that they have coveted for over 4 years. An anti-employee goal for which they have, by our estimation, wasted over $1 billion dollars to get to this point. It is clear that Atlas values their pilots at a level below what Kalitta values his pilots. Standby for more lip service from them.
On the union side, leading up to negotiations, the Atlas and Southern negotiating committees have operated separately with approximately weekly coordinating meetings to compare notes. As we approached the deadline yesterday to submit the final arbitration proposal, the two negotiating committees had discussions to put the different proposals together into one. As it turns out, both proposals were pretty close in most of the major areas that are still open. In the end, with the assistance of the IBT, the final union proposal was arrived at. I applaud the Southern negotiating committee’s hard work and diligence in their efforts to get the best result .
This arbitration process is one that was never intended to be used the way Atlas has used it over the years. It is a process that we have resisted and one that the company has used in every contract negotiation at Atlas since 2002. Their objective has been not only to keep us at wages and work rules below what we should have in this industry, but also to deny a fair and equitable process to all of us. A process that every airline big and small enjoys and has enjoyed for 2 decades while we have not. It is a process that unjustly denies every crew member at Atlas, Polar and Southern the equitable and just right to ratify the CBA which we will live under. By the way, in the company’s final proposal, they have proposed the same Article 1 we currently have, so they can keep perpetrating the same unjust process over and over again.
Over the next month, the negotiating committee and the union in general will mobilize all of its resources to create the best case going forward in arbitration. We will keep you posted.
IBT Local 2750