May 4, 2011 Notes of Meeting of the Labor Committee of The Board Of Directors
His presentations showed that fuel costs remain highly volatile and that recent fare increases are largely offsetting the fuel issue but are becoming more difficult to implement. The industry is focused on raising fares, maintaining capacity discipline and balance sheet repair.
Looking ahead, the 2011 industry capacity is anticipated to be up approx. 2%. Wall Street is very concerned about economic recovery and volatile fuel prices.
Total Liquidity Position; While we have the lowest relative liquidity, it we also have the least amount of cash obligations over the next 2 years.
Doug Parker stated “We are running a great airline.” The mainline performance is improving upon the record 2010 performance. We are facing a challenging 2011 express performance. They have completed the refurbishment of the MESA CRJ-900 aircraft and showed us the slides of the improved and refreshed interiors.
The company has enhanced the in flight products and is adding first class on US Airways express flights as well.
US Airways ad the industry have responded well to the rapid increase in fuel with the fare increases and additional capacity cuts. Fuel volatility is challenging, but so far, it NOT 2008. The economy is on better footing, the industry capacity situation is vastly different and we are seeing revenues increase with our A la carte products.
He closed by saying our employees must continue to focus on customers, costs and cash. We will continue to keep doing what we do best-run a safe and reliable operation and take care of our customers.
The Association posed the following questions and issues to the leadership;;
The Union feels that the HR department in most locations is ineffective. Many times our members are fearful of retaliation when they would like to report harassment, discrimination, or intimidation in the workplace, either from management or customers. We would like to see this addressed immediately, we feel it is very serious. Daniel Pon, VP of Human Resources assured us that they are working to change that outlook among the workers and will work with us on any specific locations where this is happening. We are seeking investigations in some of our locations, including MIA, SJU and PHL. We already have a tentative meeting; we are waiting on dates for the visit to MIA for a thorough investigation by HR.
We discussed the problem with obtaining our SIDA badges in a timely manner in CLT, the PHX rep for the IBT said they are not having similar problems. Donna Paladini, Senior VP of operations told us she will be working with us to see what can be done to fix this problem.
The Union also asked Kerry Hester if she was getting bombarded by letters from the agents about the new non-rev bag limitations. She did acknowledge that she was indeed getting letters. We asked that the company reconsider and possibly make exceptions for people who do commute for work due to displacements. The answer Robert Isom gave is that we get 75% off on cargo and we should utilize that option. Kerry Hester felt that the excess bags and heavier luggage could cause potential injuries for the ramp and counter agents who handle the bags. We reminded them that the job requires we lift 70Lbs unassisted.
The Association Chairperson, Andy Marshall, requested that Al Hemenway, VP of Labor Relations send us dates to start negotiations as soon as possible. We would like to begin sometime this summer.
It should be noted that Doug Parker introduced Jerry Glass to us in the meeting saying he was an invited guest and would be helping out in some of the group’s negotiations. Many of the newer employees may not know who he is, but this is a sign that the company plans on using him, an outside contractor, for aggressive bargaining tactics. He was involved in the previous bankruptcy negotiations for all of the bargaining units at US Airways.
There was a Pre-Meeting that morning at 8:00 AM on May 4th, 2011
Present for Management; Donna Paladini, Suzanne Boda, Kerry Hester, and Tim Lindemann.
Present for the IBT/CWA Association- Andy Marshall, IBT Chairperson, Velvet Hawthorne, CWA Co-Chair and Kim Barbaro, IBT Business Agent.
Donna discussed the work brain issues we raised in the meeting we had with the company back in March. She was concerned with the comments we made about the problems with members being afraid to punch in for fear their clock ins are not always registering and people are being given ECR’s and placed on levels for no-clocks. After doing a review of the amount of members that have had ECR’s and about 10% on levels, the company has decided to relax the no-clock rules. They are now going to have 2 discussions on the first to no-clocks, an ECR on the 3rd one and a level for the 4th one. She assured us that local admin managers would work with us to determine if there are any other means to prove the member clocked in or had a witness to support they were on time.
Kim raised an issue about $0 dollar ACO’s and getting discrepancies on agents forgetting to close out ACO’s that had no money involved all day. The company is going to see if there is a way to auto-close any $0 ACO’s.
We raised the issue with understaffing in CHS and SRQ where the managers are using mandatory overtime for staffing issues. Donna is going to follow up with Camille Soto about this.
The recognition program is being sent for approval for funding, Kerry and Tim said that they have a vendor lined up and are waiting for this approval. It will start in Reservations and then the ATO’s will be included down the road.
We discussed the single agent boarding problem in some locations where TSA is doing testing and getting through the gates and writing up the agents or fining the company. The TSA agent in CHS said he did not want to report the incident because he watched the agent struggle to keep an eye on the door while gate checking bags. He felt that the one agent per gate could potentially lead to security issues in some airports based on the design of the gate podiums and how they are not set up to allow the agents to always keep an eye on the jetway door. Donna and Suzanne said they would look into this as well. There have not been any reports from TSA or fines they are aware of.
We asked if there were any plans to have a 360 evaluation of our managers since there was a program that was started years ago to do this but it was never followed through. Donna said it was a cost issue but they would get back to us about this.
Kim and I advised Kerry and Tim that the new averaging of AHT, ATT and CWT numbers are misleading to the RES agents. If they meet the average goal for all 3 they are still being told they need their CWT to be in single digits. Both INT and PHX agents feel that they do not get adequate coaching and development, the input they get from supervisors is not given in a positive way and we want to see this changed. Kerry and Tim said they are in the process of training the Sups and managers in RES to try to be more positive while still motivating the agents to meet the goals set up for them.
Tim said the new hires are usually around a 3 second CWT and we pointed out that they are only taking service calls right now. He responded that they are trained to do all of their work while the customer is on the line and that we need the senior agents to work on doing the same.
The survey line has been turned off so agents will not be transferring the customer to take the survey right now. The survey line will not work with the new IVR system; they hope to get this to work by the end of the year. The new IVR system should be rolled out sometime in July. We asked if the agents are still supposed to release the caller and Tim said yes.
We also asked that the DOT rules be applied correctly to the monitoring reviews because we were told by Tim that the express flight advisement is only required on new sales and reissues. We asked about this because the new IVR system example they showed us did not mention DOT advisements and we were curious if this would become a violation with the DOT. They were not sure and said they would get back to us. We felt their reply was vague since our members are being disciplined for not advising the DOT regs on all conversations, including recaps and non-rev bookings.
We asked if the company would take another look at the attendance policy. We feel it is very restrictive and folks should not be put on levels when using their paid sick time they have accrued. Donna said that the West side has seen an increase in FMLA claims, she said the East employees have always had high numbers on FMLA claims. We told them that many people utilize FMLA to avoid being disciplined and terminated for illnesses that normally they would not apply for FMLA for, but feel they need to now. Management said they would review it again but that they felt their policy was generally fair.
Our meeting lasted about 1 hour and 15 minutes. We attended the Board of director/labor meeting immediately following this meeting
Velvet Hawthorne CWA Staff Representative/Co-Chairperson of the IBT/CWA Association