Archive for February 2014

Flight Line 02/08/14: Paul Suffoletto is elected President of Teamsters Local 284

On January 1, 2014, I was elected President of Teamsters Local 284. I consider it a great honor to serve the working men and women in this new capacity. Prior to becoming President of Local 284, I served as Secretary-Treasurer for 9 years. Before that I was the Recording-Secretary for 6 years. I also served as Business Representative for 3 years and a Steward for 9 years. During my years in Union leadership, I represented employees in numerous contract negotiations, arbitration hearings, grievance hearings, investigatory meetings and labor-management meetings across a wide spectrum of industries and occupations, including representing the Flight Attendants of NetJets.

As President of Local 284, I will make representing the membership’s daily needs, contract negotiations, membership participation in Local 284, organizing the unorganized and Local 284 involvement in the larger community my highest priorities. With your support and active involvement in our great Union, I am confident that together we can meet every challenge and continue to protect and improve the lives of our members and all working people.

As all of you know, we have entered a new era of labor relations at NetJets. We need a good contract and aggressive contract enforcement efforts to protect Flight Attendants from the backward movement at the Company. At the bargaining table, our hard won gains are under assault as management seeks to replace a portion of our wage increases with a profit sharing scheme and seize control of our insurance and retirement benefits. Now more than ever, we need a strong Union to protect our rights and to advance our interests. Contrary to management propaganda at NetJets, in workplaces across America, on the internet and over the airwaves, strong unions provide employees with the best chance of success in the 21st century economy. That’s why I have dedicated my life to the labor movement and Local 284.

As President of Local 284, I am part of a strong team of union leaders who are committed to serving the membership’s needs. Secretary-Treasurer Don Givens, Vice President Dan Kirk and Recording Secretary Don Mann bring decades of experienced leadership and sound judgment to Local 284. They work hard every day defending members’ rights and fighting for necessary contract improvements. The officers of the Union are supported by Local 284 Trustees Carl Rollins, Tom Becker and Gary Schoenian. Our Trustees provide a valuable service to Local 284 and have been representing members at their own workplaces for many years with skill and dedication. Finally, your elected Flight Attendant Executive Council (Michael Zois, JoDelle Burwell, Jill Mawdsley and Darcey Jameson), your Flight Attendant Negotiating Committee (Shannon Saxe, Michelle Dufield, Michelle Lueck, Andrew Collis, Michael Zois, JoDelle Burwell), as well as numerous other Flight Attendant volunteers and committee members work around the clock in the service of their fellow Flight Attendants. Their jobs never truly end and I know that all of you appreciate their efforts as much as I do. It is a privilege to be associated with such a fine group of dedicated men and women. But you are also a critical part of the team.

There is an old labor saying: “A union is only as strong as its membership.” I believe that one hundred percent. When union members pull together to fight for the greater good of all, we are stronger as a group and as individuals. As union members, we not only look out for ourselves and our own well-being, we stand up for our co-workers and their family members, too. We also care deeply that employees who don’t have a union are far too often denied even a living wage or are under constant threat of losing the wages and benefits they do have while the richest 1% of Americans have taken a larger share of national income for themselves than at any time since the 1920s. As Local 284 members, we are committed to bringing the benefits of unions to all employees in every industry and occupation because we recognize that unions are the only institution in American society dedicated exclusively to improving the wages, benefits and working conditions of all working people.

As 2014 begins, Local 284 and your Union leadership are there for you and your families whenever you need us, but we need your help. Get involved in your Union. Review your contract and know it well. Bring contract violations to the attention of your FAEC. Stick up for your fellow Flight Attendants. When the Union calls upon you, volunteer your time for committees and other Union work. You can count on Local 284 and we know we can count on you.

I wish you and your family and friends a Happy New Year. If you have questions or need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact Local 284 or your FAEC.

Fraternally,

 

 

Paul Suffoletto

President, Teamsters Local 284

Flight Line 02/07/14: Paul Suffoletto Addresses the Challenger 350 Program

February 7, 2014

 

Dear NJA Flight Attendant,
You may have noticed a reference to an alleged dispute between NJASAP and the Company regarding the Challenger 350 Program in CEO Jordan Hansell’s recent 2013 year-in-review letter. Like you, I become very concerned when I hear of any activity that could potentially inhibit the Company’s growth, so I contacted NJASAP President John Malmborg to discuss the situation.

By way of background, senior management approached NJASAP leadership last fall with a proposal to use aircraft not on the NetJets certificate and pilots not on the seniority list to perform Challenger 350 aircraft demonstration flights. Management also wanted to exclude the proposed demonstration flights from the selloff provisions contained within the scope clause of the pilot’s contract. In Hansell’s letter, he wrote, in part, “I was dismayed to learn that our pilots’ union leadership in the U.S. is refusing to permit us to use without penalty the demonstrator Challenger 350 flight hours that Bombardier agreed to provide to us to help presell the aircraft.”  My conversation with President Malmborg has lead me to believe that this statement is misleading because management failed to disclose to you that NJASAP presented the Company with reasonable options to conduct the demo flights.

NJASAP responded to senior management’s request for scope relief with a very reasonable proposal that management could have easily accommodated. However, management refused, informing NJASAP that they did not believe a quid pro quo was necessary for the scope relief sought by the Company. In other words, Hansell wanted something for nothing from the pilots – scope relief with nothing in return – and when he did not get it, he attempted to make his case with the employees of the Company without giving us the full story. Unfortunately, he failed to tell you that if the quid pro quo proposal wasn’t unacceptable to him, NetJets could still conduct these flights as it prefers so long as they are included in the number of days on which the Company may selloff flights in a quarter before triggering a recall of furloughed pilots.

President Malmborg acknowledged that the pilots’ union had granted the Company similarly requested relief for the Global 6000 Program in late 2011; however, that decision was made in light of a different set of economic circumstances and was agreed upon prior to the Company entering into the first Bombardier deal. Based on Hansell’s statement, it would appear the deal to use Bombardier’s own demonstrator aircraft and crews was part of the purchase agreement even though it would violate the terms the pilots’ contract. This seems to be another case where talking to the union in advance could have saved a lot of time and frustration.

Scope is the single most important section of a collective bargaining agreement. Without it, the contract is not worth the paper on which it is printed. Without job protection, an employee group can be quickly undermined and its work shifted to other entities. NJASAP made a very reasonable offer and the Company rejected it. As such, there is no dispute. Instead, there is contract in place, and the pilots expect management to abide by its scope provisions.  Local 284 and the NJA Flight Attendants that we represent understand and agree with that sentiment.

 

Fraternally,

 

 

Paul Suffoletto

President, Teamsters Local 284

Flight Line 02/05/14: Paul Suffoletto Responds to Bill Noe’s and Adam Johnson’s Allegations of Work Slowdowns

January 31, 2014

 

Bill Noe, COO

Adam Johnson, President

NetJets Aviation, Inc

4111 Bridgeway Avenue

Columbus, OH 43219

 

Dear AJ and Bill:

 

On January 29, 2014, you sent a message to Teamsters Local 284-represented Flight Attendants, Mechanics, Stock Clerks and Dispatchers in which you raise serious allegations against unidentified employees.  Specifically, you wrote:

 

On a final note, we continue to hear rumblings that, contrary to what one might expect, some team members are feeling pressure from others to unnecessarily sit back and slow down for reasons other than safety or service.  We have studied the data in detail and understand – to the team member level – that almost every team member is 100 percent on board with continuing the sustainable success and growth we have experienced by working together, sticking to the plan and, when necessary, being flexible to adjusting the plan as we go forward. That is not to say that the data does not show there are a handful of individuals that have identified themselves as interested only in themselves, or harming other team members. In the event that you are asked or pressured to do something that you know is counter to serving an Owner or adds unneeded stress to your team, please know there is something you can do about it. You can call either one of us, a member of your Flight Operations, or the NetJets ethics hotline. We are all here to help NetJets succeed in the collective mission to serve NetJets Owners and their guests.

 

Let me be clear, Teamsters Local 284 takes those allegations very seriously.  Indeed, I hope the Company also takes such allegations seriously given the nature of your claim to possess data that shows “there are a handful of individuals that have identified themselves as interested only in themselves, or harming other team members.”

 

Further, it is disturbing to your employees to learn that the Company has been secretly monitoring, analyzing and comparing individual employee performance based upon undisclosed data, standards and metrics to determine whether an employee is “100 percent on board with continuing the sustainable success and growth we have experienced by working together, sticking to the plan and, when necessary, being flexible to adjusting the plan as we go forward.”

 

Based on the nature of your allegations, Teamsters Local 284 intends to thoroughly investigate the claims in your letter and demands that you provide the following information to the Union:

 

 

1.    All information in the Company’s possession, including the names of witnesses and affected employees, that supports the allegation that “… we continue to hear rumblings that, contrary to what one might expect, some team members are feeling pressure from others to unnecessarily sit back and slow down for reasons other than safety or service.”

 

2.     All information in the Company’s possession, including the data source, data, standards, metrics, aggregate analysis performed, individual employee analysis performed and employee names associated with all individual employee analysis, that supports the allegation that “we have studied the data in detail and understand – to the team member level – that almost every team member is 100 percent on board with continuing the sustainable success and growth we have experienced by working together, sticking to the plan and, when necessary, being flexible to adjusting the plan as we go forward.”

 

3.     All information in the Company’s possession, the data source, data, standards, metrics, aggregate analysis performed, individual employee analysis performed, employee names associated with all individual employee analysis and the names of the individual employee(s) identified by the Company, that supports the allegation that there are “… a handful of individuals that have identified themselves as interested only in themselves, or harming other team members”

 

Since your message makes clear that the Company possesses and has already reviewed and analyzed all of the information requested by the Union in this letter, I trust that you will provide it to Teamsters Local 284 without delay.  Please inform me of the date management will make the information available.  Your cooperation in this matter is appreciated and expected.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Paul Suffoletto

President, Teamsters Local 284

Flight Line 2/5/14: Paul Suffoletto, President of Teamsters Local 284, Speaks To Members

January 31, 2014
Dear Local 284 Members,

 

On January 29, 2014, NetJets President Adam Johnson and COO Bill Noe sent a message to Teamsters Local 284-represented Flight Attendants, Mechanics, Stock Clerks and Dispatchers, among other NetJets employees, that contained serious allegations and revelations.  Specifically, they reference Company possession of evidence indicating unnamed NJA employees “are feeling pressure from others to unnecessarily sit back and slow down for reasons other than safety,” and they assert senior management is secretly monitoring, analyzing and comparing individual employee performance based upon undisclosed data, standards and metrics to determine whether an employee is “100 percent on board with continuing the sustainable success and growth we have experienced by working together, sticking to the plan and, when necessary, being flexible to adjusting the plan as we go forward.”

Today, Teamsters Local 284 responded by sending the attached letter (in the following issue of Flight Line) to Johnson and Noe demanding detailed information we will use as part of our own investigation into the matter and to determine what actions, if any, are appropriate.  Understandably, you will have a number of questions about the content of senior management’s message, including who has been pressured by whom and for what purpose, why a Vice President of Sales is communicating directly with Flight Attendants, Mechanics, Stock Clerks and Dispatchers about safety issues, the nature and scope of the Company’s monitoring program, and precisely how the Company determined some of your fellow NJA employees are “interested only in themselves, or harming” other NJA employees.  Your Union shares these questions, and we intend to get answers.

 

The Union’s investigation into this matter, which is being treated with the utmost seriousness and urgency, is just beginning.  We will keep you informed of all developments.  In the interim, Teamsters Local 284 is here for you and, more importantly, all Teamsters at NetJets are there for each other.

 

Fraternally,

 

 

Paul Suffoletto

President, Teamsters Local 284