Trustee Update : 20200403

Trustee Update : 20200403


April 3, 2020

Dear Local 2750 Members,

Many of you have been asking what is being done to protect me, my fellow pilots and my family during the COVID-19 pandemic? I will devote most of this message to answering those questions.

Back in mid-January, our union began to demand that the company start dealing with the spread of the corona virus both within and coming out of China. By early February, the company had agreed to not force crewmembers into China against their will and to sanitize and equip aircraft going in and out of mainland China with safety materials, such as, masks, sanitizers, gloves, etc. (We have been a big proponent of masks from the start). The data coming out now validates our early assessment of the need for masks as it is now clear that the mask wearing societies in Asia have a much lower transmission rate and death toll than non-mask wearing societies. The company had quite a bit of difficulty sourcing these items and had pushback from customers like DHL who were slow and resistant to act.

Weeks of prodding and negotiations culminated in the China MOU on February 14, 2020. Almost immediately, it became apparent that more was needed as the virus began to spread outside of China.

Our union stewards began to answer many calls from crewmembers and it was apparent on many fronts that more was needed. Our union then formed the COVID-19 Task Force to answer calls, participate in company briefings regarding the virus and give guidance and direction to all of our members. In fact, many committees became involved in the ongoing efforts to help keep all of you safe and informed. At the same time, your union leadership began engaging management to broaden the China MOU as well as to begin implementing stricter and more comprehensive safety and hygienic procedures, on the line, in the training center and at the hubs.

To date, our union has proposed many different versions of MOUs, an LOA and many safety ideas to keep our crewmembers safe and healthy. 

Here is a sample of what we have suggested from management to keep all of you and your families safe:

IMMEDIATE ACTION ITEMS – CDC Guidelines (Social distancing)

Training Center Guidelines

  • Hotels must have kitchenettes if a stay is more than 5 days
  • Vans less than 5 people in it. Large buses 1 person/row
  • Masks provide for all. Used at all events.
  • Classrooms/sim/sit sanitized before each class
  • Breaks staggered, no more than 4 on break at a time.
  • Health check done on each person upon entering the building each day. (symptoms, temperature if able)
  • Minimum of 6 feet apart at all times.
  • Anyone showing any symptoms (fever, frequent coughing, headache, etc.) will be immediately sent for evaluation & quarantined.
  • People with the common cold or determined not to have the virus must wear masks to remain in the train center.
  • No congregating in hallways or other common areas. 

Operational Guidelines

  • All aircraft sanitized before each flight. Fogging preferred.
  • Masks for all crews and ground personnel. Used by crew when on the ground and by ground personnel on the flight deck or on the aircraft crew areas.
  • Proper alcohol wipes provided for all crew members before every flight.
  • Ground personnel stay out of the flight deck area until crew is done with post flight and out of their seats
  • Minimum personnel in crew areas of the flight. Enforced by the GSC.
  • Paperwork at set location. Minimal or no personal contact.
  • Health screening of all personnel upon reporting to work.
  • Vans less than 5 people in it. Large buses 1 person/row.
  • Anyone showing any symptoms (fever, frequent coughing, headache, etc.) will be immediately sent for evaluation & quarantined.
  • Captain interviews crew. * GSC interviews all ground personnel.

Failure to execute on all or most of these may hamper the ability of the airline to operate and reduces crew willingness to assume the dangers presented by the pandemic. 

After nearly a month of proposals on Monday March 30th we received an MOU proposal from the company. After review by all of us in the negotiating process, we returned a proposal which we felt was fair and properly addressed the issues and health risks our members are facing every day. Indeed, what is going on now is not in anyone’s job description or career expectations. Yesterday, the company responded and rejected all of the comprehensive pay proposals, except for the few flights that operate in CDC Red zones. In addition, they rejected pay and per diem proposal for pilots who may not get home at the end of a trip. The company flatly stated that …any increase in pay would put them out of business. As of the writing of this message, we have no response from the company on our COVID-19 MOU proposal.

Finally, we will resume negotiations next week and the negotiating committee will report on any developments regarding a new CBA. We also will be refining and adjusting our strategy as we head into arbitrations and seniority integration.

In Solidarity,

Bob Kirchner
Local 2750 Trustee