A week ago the judge in the American Airlines case against its mechanics ordered the mechanics to achieve an overnight productivity level equal to 2018.
The mechanics responded by:
- Asking the FAA to assign inspectors “to all maintenance locations sufficient to ensure that the use of targeted productivity levels does not compromise the public safety or compliance with FAR regulations.”
- Requesting that the judge modify the ruling, suggesting that it would compromise safety.
The judge denied this request suggesting that American’s mechanics “have provided nothing in support of that position that would cause the court to believe that the members of defendants do not have good enough judgement to know when they are doing something that would adversely affect the travelling public.”
The FAA, which previously expressed concern to all parties over the breakdown between the airline and its mechanics, isn’t commenting on what additional oversight steps it may be taking.
Meanwhile negotiations involving a federal mediator were supposed to re-commence this week but have been cancelled. At this point the company’s position should be that it will meet anywhere, any time, and for however long is necessary to bring reolution to the drag on its operation.
At the halfway point in the summer, American is still failing to meet its (modest) performance goals and indeed has slipped somewhat week-over-week.
To be sure, this is a difficult negotiation. American is dealing with two different unions in an association with each other, each representing different groups (legacy American and US Airways) of employees with different interests. Mechanics have some unreasonable demands, such as resisting American Airlines (non-union) employees in Brazil from doing work on aircraft while planes sit during the day, insisting that union fleet service workers deliver catering (instead of the catering companies), and demanding that de-icing be done by union employees. American says they are offering terms more generous than either United or Delta.
However American’s scope rules are already more tilted towards the union mechanics than either Delta or United. American employees more people while other airlines outsource more, so of course the deal will be more costly. American does want more outsourcing, but isn’t offering enough new money to entice mechanics to agree. Part of that problem is the company already unilaterally offered employees raises without a new contract. Now the amount of additional money on the table available to grease a deal is less than it would have been.
With negotiations being cancelled, with the company back in court, with mechanics under court order to perform and the FAA expressing heightened sensitivity, as with most things it all comes back to Patrick Swayze in Road House.