The Atlas and Southern Negotiating Committees have just concluded another week of negotiations with management. We met this week in Washington D.C. at the headquarters for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Throughout the week, off-the-record supposals on Article 11 â Training, Article 12 â Hours of Service, and Article 13 â Leaves of Absence were passed between both parties. Once again, dialogue this week mainly focused in on Article 12 – Hours of Service where we left off from our last session. Unfortunately, Article 1 – Scope, which provides for the basic job protections of our pilot group, was not discussed at all this week.
The tempo of the talks this week seemed rather slow and the progress was minimal. We could not help but think managementâs main focus still appears to be battling the pilot group in the courtroom rather than at the negotiating table. Our observation at this time is that the newly-hired company negotiator, Doug McKeen, is very talented and capable of finishing negotiations with a great deal for both parties; however, we are not convinced that he has been given the green light to do so by those who employ him.
The determination demonstrated by management in their attempt at obtaining a pilot contract significantly below industry standard and as close to the current contract as possible appears to us as reckless behavior. This approach seems to be especially concerning in the face of the pilot shortage the entire industry is currently confronting. Both the stock market and pilot labor market have determined the path Atlas Air management has taken is a path of failure. Flying in the face of those facts, management still seems myopically focused on trying to prove that they are right in a courtroom rather than focusing on trying to run a successful airline. Management seems completely unfazed by the dilapidated state they have put the company in. That has led us to view the continuation of a career as pilots at Atlas Air as risky and uncertain.
In observing this alarming behavior that seems grossly inconsistent with the current state of our airline, we want to reiterate a warning we conveyed to those who listened in on our most recent crew call.
In looking out for the best interests of our pilot group, we would recommend now is the time to manage personal finances in a very conservative fashion. We also believe it would be wise to become familiar with the current pilot job market by paying close attention to who is hiring and what they are offering. The future of this airline may turn out just fine. But there is also a chance that it may not and we feel compelled to prepare you for such a possible outcome.
Just like when we fly, not only do we plan for flying to the destination, but we also carry extra fuel and plan for flying to an alternate as well. The moves being made by management have us concerned and we think it is important to manage the risk of the uncertainty that has been created here. If our concerns never materialize, the worst-case outcome would be that we are all a little over-prepared for a non-event. The alternative path of no preparation could be personally disastrous for you and your family.
Management has requested the next negotiation session to take place six weeks from now during the week of Monday, March 23rd to Friday, March 27th. We were offered the week of April 6th or the week of April 13th as well. We conveyed we were available both weeks and management only chose the week of Monday, April 13th through Friday, April 17th.
To be clear, we have offered to meet every day until the contract is done. Despite the repeated statements made by management that negotiations are a top priority and they want to get the contract done as soon as possible, they continue their trend of choosing to meet only one condensed week each month.
Your Atlas and Southern Negotiating Committees