This week’s negotiations have shown some progress. On Wednesday AMR announced they would accept the TWU Negotiating Teams proposal to “freeze” existing defined benefit pension plans. This is a major move forward in these difficult negotiations, but remains subject to reaching consensual agreements with all TWU represented work groups. The TWU website has posted an explanation of advantages to a pension freeze, rather than termination.
TWU Negotiators continued their work throughout the remainder of the week, reviewing cost outs and analyzing alternatives that will allow them to draft accurate proposals and counters, to company counter proposals. A few of the work groups have completed their reviews with the help of financial and chief labor economist Tom Roth, assisted by TWU strategic advisor John Donnelly and labor attorney’s Kathleen Phillips and Mark Richard.
On Thursday March 8th, TWU International President James C. Little sent a letter to the National Mediation Board requesting that the NMB now proffer final and binding arbitration to the parties under Section 7 of the Railway Labor Act (RLA), 45 U.S.C. § 157. In his letter, President Little went on to say, “As you know the Transport Workers Union and AMR have been involved in collective bargaining, spanning seven separate contract groups since June of 2006 to present – including those sessions convened after the bankruptcy filing on November 29, 2011. All efforts to reach voluntary agreements through direct negotiations were exhausted, including facilitated and self imposed “super session” techniques.” President Little continues to look at other avenues to press for better alternatives to a bankruptcy court determination of our futures.
In the meantime, the TWU continues to pursue negotiating in an effort to come up with the best possible consensual agreement.
TWU Negotiators will convene next week to continue working with our professional team of economists, lawyers and others in an effort to seek alternative values for AMR while mitigating the large ask from the company.