FLIGHT OPERATIONS STRETCHED TO ITS LIMITS: 23oct20

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FLIGHT OPERATIONS STRETCHED TO ITS LIMITS

October 23, 2020

  • Operational Safety Alerts
  • Company Threat and Intimidation Tactics Regarding Safety
  • CBA Arbitration update
  • Covid MOU – Hong Kong and Bahrain Layovers
  • Bylaws Update
  • Atlas Ordered to Return Cares Act Grants and Loans
 – The huge uptick in demand for airfreight due to the pandemic has Atlas stretched to the limits as far as pilots and aircraft go.  I have had many Captains call to tell me that the aircraft are tired and margins are running thin out on the line.  With the operation stretched to its limits at Atlas, it appears that many corners are being cut.  Whether it be maintenance or flight procedures and thus, safety.  To that point, recently there have been a rash of flights that the company attempted to release that were not safe or with aircraft that were not airworthy for the route.  These instances range from the maintenance issues that we have described in previous messages to faulty flight planning such as flights planned filed direct from Hawaii to the mainland.  In these recent cases there were thousands of miles or so between waypoints which we feel are unsafe in a two engine ETOPS aircraft.  In these instances, alert and assertive captains demanded route changes on these flight plans mitigating potentially hazardous situations.  The route between Hawaii and the US mainland is the longest commercial stretch of ocean in the world with no alternate airport making PIC vigilance in flight planning a vital necessity.  The other concerning fact behind these events is that unqualified personnel from Amazon appear to be directing these operational deviations.  Besides being unsafe, Amazon may be violating the law by exercising operational control over these flights.  Be Alert and Be Aware. 

When the union started raising safety concerns, the company responded quickly, but surprisingly not by fixing the problems or working with the union to fix these serious and dangerous problems.  Instead they lashed out with threats of lawsuits and other intimidating messaging and tactics.  As you all know, unions were formed primarily for safety back when ruthless companies were killing workers by putting them in dangerous situations and when workers were dying on the job.  Atlas has the unfortunate distinction of having the worst safety record of any airline this size in the industry, with three fatalities, two major accidents and a myriad of violations in recent years.  We are even on probation in China due to a pattern of violations and operational problems.  This disregard for safety must stop before another tragic event occurs.  We, the union, however, will never be intimidated or bullied from our main mission which is the safety and well-being of our members. (See the letters below)

 – On the CBA negotiating front, for the past month I have been trying to select and schedule an arbitrator for the upcoming CBA Arbitration.  The company negotiators have now punted it over to their lawyers at O’Melveny and Myers.  We are waiting for their response to our inquiries with them yet. I hope this is not a new delay tactic from the company.  I will keep you posted.

– We are seeing crewmembers not get the proper protections from the coronavirus MOU.  Use the union COVID19 Task Force for your questions regarding the ongoing pandemic to get the full protections afforded in the MOU. Beware that company personnel are giving out false information regarding the MOU and in particular OX days.  Also, there is no change regarding Bahrain and Hong Kong, which are still categorized as NO LAYOVER stations due to invasive testing and unsafe and unsanitary consequences if someone in crew tests positive.

 – The recently ratified Local 2750 Bylaws have cleared IBT legal and are now being reviewed by IBT General President’s Office.  We will update you as things progress.  Atlas ExCo members Captain Chris Grable and Captain John Hutelin are the Local 2750 representatives handling the ByLaw process.  Captain Grable is the contact person with the IBT and is in direct contact with IBT Airline Division Director Captain David Bourne.

– This week, the United States House of Representatives Congressional Oversight Committee, which oversees the coronavirus relief efforts demanded that 4 airlines return $630 Million in Cares Act Grants and Loan money.  Chairman of the Select Committee on the Corona Virus, Representative James E. Clyburn, wrote a letter asking the CEOs of the 4 airlines why these airlines that are thriving and hiring took this money that was meant to keep other airline workers employed.  (See the letter below)  For months your union has been also asking how was this money being spent.  As you may remember the money was supposed to be used for employee compensation and to keep employees from being furloughed.  Atlas, which took the bulk of the money in question (over $400 Million) responded to congress that it had given its pilots a 10% raise.  The truth, as we have reported before, is that the 10% raise was part of a 25% proposal from Local 2750 to attempt to compensate our members for the dangers and hardships that all of you and your families are incurring on the line every day due to the pandemic.  It was in the works before the Cares Act grants or loans were awarded.

As usual we will keep you updated.

Fraternally,

Bob Kirchner

Local 2750 Trustee