Teamsters Union replaces local agent

Air travel down nationwide
Tough times for negotiations

In an announcement this week, the The International Air Transport Association (IATA) projected a loss of US $4.7 billion across the airline industry in 2009. Citing falling demand (particularly dramatic in the premium market that business travel generally falls under) due to the economic downturn, these new (and more dire) loss projections anticipate a downturn in the airline industry that is worse than the period following 9/11. The chief executive of Southwest Airlines, Gary Kelly, said that travel slumped early this month from the sluggish pace of February and that the airline industry had not yet hit bottom amid the worldwide financial crisis.Kelly said in New York on Tuesday that a crucial measure of revenue fell 7 percent in the first week of March. That drop followed a 6 percent slump in traffic during February, which he said was much weaker than January. Business travel in particular has dropped off, Kelly noted, adding that the airline downturn resembled one from 1991 but could be worse. Source.

International's Airline Division takes responsibility for Cape Air Pilots
Concerns over insufficient representation caused move they say

By Walter Brooks

In a statement released Friday, teamsters Airline Division Director David Bourne said that he is replacing Teamsters Local 747 as the bargaining agent for pilots employed by Cape Air, Inc., who are now in mediation.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters' Airline Division in Washington, D.C., has now taken direct responsibility for representing the Hyannis-based Cape Air because of concerns over insufficient representation by the local.

In a letter to the Cape Air pilots, Bourne noted many Cape Air pilots and their local leadership raised concerns that the lack of support they were receiving from Local 747 would compromise their contract talks, now in mediation with the National Mediation Board. The letter signed by David Bourne stated in part:

"I have taken this step in order to place control of your negotiations directly under my authority as the director of the Airline Division," Bourne wrote.

"I will not tolerate any member of the Airline Division being treated with anything less than 100 percent full-time, professional and completely focused support, under any circumstances," Bourne wrote. "And after being apprised of the difficulties your Council has faced in your mediation, I will not allow this to continue and your career expectations to be placed at risk because of unacceptably substandard representation from Local 747."

The move, while not unprecedented, reflects the the hands-on style that Bourne has brought to the Teamsters Airline Division since being named director in July. As the three-term master executive council chairman of the 1000 pilots employed at Atlas Air, Bourne earned a reputation for strong bargaining and direct engagement with crew members, management and the national union to ensure crew members received very high levels of support.

No decision yet on local

No determination has yet been made as to which Teamsters local will eventually be assigned to represent the Cape Air group.

"Right now, our only focus is on providing these pilots with the support they have not been receiving and help them get a good contract," Bourne said. "We'll make that decision about what local they become part of when the time is appropriate."

How this new direction will benefit local union members is uncertain, given the presnt state of the economy.

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