COVID-19 RELIEF BILL SIGNED INTO LAW; AIRLINES TO RECEIVE MUCH NEEDED AID TO AVOID LAYOFFS THROUGH SEPTEMBER
Congress passed and President Biden last week approved a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, which provides much needed aid for the airline industry. IAM members from around the country, as well as the IAM Legislative Department and other AFL-CIO airline unions, were critical in achieving aid for the still ailing air transport sector.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 will provide $14 billion in additional aid to the airline industry, which also includes an extension of the Payroll Support Program (PSP). The PSP mandates that as a condition of accepting tax payer funded aid, air carriers will not be permitted to lay off any workers through September 30, 2021. Republic Airways managment has yet to indicate whether they will see additional aid.
"Congress and the Biden Administration have done the right thing by passing this much needed legislation. IAM members, as well as our AFL-CIO affiliated sisters and brothers in the labor movement, kept up the political pressure to achieve this essential relief package," said General Vice President Sito Pantoja. "The transportation sector is still ailing due to the pandemic, but this relief will keep hundreds of thousands of workers employed, including our non-union sisters and brothers. Our hope is that demand for air travel will continue to rebound as vaccination efforts continue, mitigating the need for future layoffs."
This is the second time the PSP has been extended since the initial passage of the CARES Act in late March, 2020. US airlines have reported over $35 billion in losses in 2020 due to an historic decrease in demand for air travel. The PSP has kept tens of thousands of airline workers employed who would have otherwise been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please sign an IAM election authorization card (a-card) today. You can request one online here. Your right to sign an a-card is protected under federal law. Republic Airways management is prohibited to ever know if you signed an a-card.
SIGN, DATE AND RETURN THE AUTHORIZATION CARD YOU RECENTLY RECEIVED
If the IAM has a valid address for you, you should have recently received an election authorization card (a-card) in the mail. If you did not receive an a-card in the mail, please click here to update your address and request an a-card online.
As you are likely aware, the National Mediation Board (NMB), a federal agency, dismissed our application to hold a union representation vote, as the agency claimed that supervisors and other employees typically not in the “mechanic and related” class and craft should be included in our application. While we vehemently disagree with the Board’s decision, we must adhere to it. Currently, organizers are reaching out to these groups of employees and the response has been positive and encouraging.
The campaign to gain union representation continues, and the first step is to sign an a-card. 50 percent of the group, which we now know the exact size of, must sign an a-card to hold a union representation vote.
Please remember that your right to sign an a-card is protected under federal law. Republic management is prohibited under federal law from ever knowing if you signed an a-card. Click here and learn about your federally protected rights to form a union.
In other news, you may have heard that Amazon workers are attempting to form a union at an Amazon facility in Alabama and are currently voting. President Biden issued a very strong message to workers regarding the benefits of unionization and the federal protection that you have when organizing a union in your workplace.
Click here to view the video.
NMB RULES REPUBLIC SUPERVISORS AND OTHER GROUPS OF WORKERS ELIGIBLE, REPRESENTATION VOTE DELAYED FOR NOW
In a very expansive determination, the National Mediation Board (NMB) has determined that Republic Airways Supervisors and other groups of workers, such as Engineers and other groups listed below, are part of the "mechanic and related class and craft" at Republic Airways and, thus, eligible voters.
The main issue of contention was whether Mechanic Supervisors should be eligible. The IAM argued that they should not be eligible because they exercise managerial authority and, according to federal guidelines, are therefore excluded. Republic argued that Mechanic, Aircraft Auditor and Production Control Supervisors do not possess management authority and therefore should be part of the group. The NMB investigator agreed with Republic, even though that is not what actually happens at Republic Airways or in the airline industry in general.
Given Republic's view of Supervisors not having management authority, and the NMB's agreement, we welcome their inclusion and hope they too will desire the rights and benefits that come with IAM representation.
This determination, which includes the workers below in the mechanic and related class and craft, has inflated the voter eligibility list and reduced our percentage of election authorization cards (a-cards) below the requisite 50 percent. Yesterday, the NMB officially dismissed our application for a union representation vote.
Even though this ruling is a disappointment, it will not stop the IAM from supporting Republic Airways mechanic and related workers from seeking union representation; it will only delay Republic Airways mechanic and related workers from gaining the right to vote in a union representation election for 12 months. We now know that the NMB will include the following workers in the group of eligible voters:
We have loud and clear that Republic workers' desire to organize is stronger than ever and we understand the frustration and disbelief over the NMB's decision. We've heard from the Company that they respect your right to form a union, but, in fact, that was just "lip service" as they worked at every turn to prevent you from gaining the right to vote in a union representation election. the IAM will not abandon you and will continue this campaign. We have already begun to reach out to Republic employees in the aforementioned groups and we have received a very positive response.
THE IAM WILL NOT ABANDON YOU OR THIS CAMPAIGN until ALL Republic Airways workers in the mechanic and related classification, as determined by the NMB, gain a seat at the table and a voice in their future.
IAM Continues to Press NMB, Awaiting a Response
IAM attorneys have contacted the National Mediation Board (NMB) representative assigned to the Republic Airways case and they have yet to receive a response regarding the federal agency's determination regarding the voter eligibility list submitted by Republic Airways management. We are extremely frustrated regarding the slow pace of this process. IAM attorneys are awaiting a response and when one is received it will be immediately relayed to all Republic Airways mechanic and related employees.
It cannot be over emphasized that the delay in this process has not been caused by the Machinists Union. Currently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, NMB employees are working from home, aside from support staff that report to work for only part of the day to perform duties that cannot be performed at home. However, in our case we are at the point in the process in which the NMB has all the information it needs to make a determination regarding the voter eligibility list without reporting to the NMB offices in Washington DC. We have not been informed of anything to the contrary.
We understand that President Biden fired National Relations Board General Counsel, Peter Robb, due to Mr. Robb not resigning his position. Mr. Robb was known to be very pro-management. We have not received any information that a similar move will occur at the NMB. As always, if that changes, all Republic mechanic and related workers will be notified.
We understand that the length of this process is extremely frustrating to everyone, including the IAM. However, please remember why this campaign to gain IAM representation exists in the first place: To get a seat at the table and a voice in our future.
We must remain unified and finished the job we started no matter how long it takes.
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AS WE WAIT FOR NMB’S DECISION ON THE VOTER ELIGIBILITY LIST, LET’S REMEMBER WHY WE NEED A SEAT AT THE TABLE
As of this morning, there has been no update regarding the NMB’s determination regarding who will be eligible to vote in a representation election. As previously reported, Republic management submitted an inflated list, which included supervisors and office and clerical workers, in an attempt to take away our right to vote in a union representation election. The IAM has disputed the list submitted by Republic management’s high priced law firm—Ford and Harrison—and we are waiting for the NMB to make a determination. When we have an update from the NMB, we will report that info immediately to you.
We must remember why having IAM representation is critical, especially during these times of real uncertainty.
Without union representation, company management has all the power to make decisions that affect our profession and our lives. With union representation, we have a right to negotiate with the company regarding our pay, benefits and working conditions, which includes disciplinary action, and vote to accept or reject what we ultimately negotiate.
Currently, supervisors can write us up for anything they want and we have no real recourse or right to appeal. With a union contract, we would have the right to dispute disciplinary action issued by the company, with the final step in the appeal process (arbitration) decided by a neutral arbitrator. This contractual right protects our jobs and careers and our family’s security. It also provides us power and a voice to tell management that they are wrong. That’s important.
It’s important that we stay unified during this process, so we can gain the power that forming a union will provide us and gain the fairness on the job that is sorely needed.
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IAM EXPECTS NMB DECISION ON VOTER ELIGIBILITY LIST SOON
As reported previously, the IAM expects the National Mediation Board (NMB), the federal agency that handles union representation elections in the airline industry, to make a determination on the voter eligibility list submitted by Republic management to the NMB last September.
To refresh everyone’s memory, Republic management, directed by its high-priced anti-worker law firm Ford and Harrison, submitted an inflated voter eligibility list with the hope that doing so would decrease our percentage of signed authorization cards below the federally mandated 50 percent threshold to conduct a representation election under federal law and draw out the process. The list submitted by Republic included supervisors and office and clerical workers that the IAM has objected and challenged the list officially and has argued that these workers are not part of the mechanic and related class and craft and should not be included on the list of eligible voters.
It is important to understand that the NMB is the only entity that controls when this important determination is to be made. The IAM, nor the company, controls the pace in which the NMB conducts its official duties. However, since the IAM has made all evidentiary submissions in challenging the list, the NMB has all that it needs, and barring any other stalling tactics by Republic management, the NMB should deliver a determination soon.
We will immediately notify all Republic mechanic and related workers of any further developments.
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IAM FILES MORE EVIDENCE REGARDING VOTER ELIGIBILITY LIST. EXPECTS NMB DECISION SOON.
Yesterday, the IAM filed further evidence to remove certain Republic employees, like supervisors, from the voter eligibility list. The IAM was forced to submit further evidence to the NMB due to Republic management’s outright mistruths submitted to the NMB. In fact, much of what Ford and Harrison’s high-priced attorneys submitted to the NMB regarding the specific jobs of certain workers on behalf of Republic management is in direct contradiction to Republic’s own policies and job descriptions.
It is vital to understand that these long procedural delays in attaining our right to vote in a representation election is a direct result of Republic’s strategy to exhaust us and hope we lose interest in forming a union with the IAM. Their strategy is flawed and we will not be deterred, and neither will the IAM.
IAM attorneys, experts in federal union organizing laws, have spared no resource to fight back against Republic and Ford and Harrison’s anti-workplace democracy tactics. We are confident that we will ultimately prevail and attain the right to vote. All we want is to have Republic mechanic and related workers to decide for ourselves with the interference from management.
The IAM has pressed the NMB to make a determination on our case as soon as possible. This has gone on long enough. However, we do not control the timeline in which the NMB makes determinations.
We must remain united in our determination to see this through, get the right to vote and form a union with the IAM. Thank you for your patience.
We will advise on further developments when we receive them.
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IAM TO RESPOND TO REPUBLIC’S HIGHLY SUSPECT NMB SUBMISSION REGARDING VOTER ELIGIBILITY LIST
The IAM has requested and has been granted the ability to respond to Republic’s very misleading and outright untrue submission regarding what exactly the jobs are of the different groups of workers the company placed on the list of eligible voters.
The IAM felt the need to respond to the NMB to show the inaccuracies of Republic’s submission. In fact, in some instances, Republic’s submission contradicts the company’s own published policies.
The IAM will not allow such gross inaccuracies to go unanswered.
Companies are required to tell the truth in these types of processes before the federal government and it is clear that Republic has absolutely no regard for the truth. It’s very obvious at this point that Republic will do anything it can to keep us from forming a union.
We will advise when IAM attorneys have submitted the IAM’s response.
Please also review your rights under the law to form a union please click here.
If you feel your rights have been violated, please click here.
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DEADLINE FOR REPUBLIC MANAGEMENT TO RESPOND TO IAM OBJECTIONS TO INFLATED VOTER ELIGIBILITY LIST IS TODAY
As reported previously, today is the deadline for Republic Airways management to respond to the IAM’s previously submitted objections to the voter eligibility list.
On September 1, 2020, Republic management, in consultation with its notoriously anti-worker and high-priced law firm Ford and Harrison, submitted an inflated voter eligibility, which included every supervisor employed by Republic and many clerical workers. This was done to inflate the list of eligible voters in hopes Republic AMT cards would fall below the 50 percent threshold to conduct a representation election and to greatly slow the process down. Both of these actions are an attack on our right to vote and meant to break our efforts to form a union.
By the close of business today, the NMB will have Republic’s response and will then have to review the response. The agency will then issue its determination regarding eligible voters.
It is important to note that there is NO DEADLINE for the NMB to complete its determination. The IAM will press for a timely determination, so a representation vote can be scheduled as soon as possible.
We must remain resolute in our unity and see this campaign through to a successful conclusion. It is clear that Republic will do all that it can for us to remain without a union and without power.
The IAM will provide us an update regarding the upcoming NMB voter eligibility determination when in becomes available.
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