Atlas Crew Members Win Passenger Scope Arbitration

Fellow Atlas Crew Members,

I am happy to announce to you that today the union received the arbitrator’s decision (award) on grievance 2017-030.  Grievance 2017-030 deals with the company’s illegal subcontracting of passenger flying.  I am happy to report to you that the arbitrator ruled in favor of the union and, as the union had requested, ordered that the company immediately cease and desist from engaging in such illegal activity.  We are heartened that the arbitrator upheld the grievance in its entirety and that he fully agreed with the union’s remedy to correct this career threatening violation of our CBA.  This award marks another landmark day and the union’s second consecutive CBA arbitration win in the fight against Atlas management.  This might explain why the company continues to stall and delay on many other union grievances and arbitrations currently on the calendar.

This award means that going forward the company may not under any circumstance subcontract any passenger flying.  If they want to do passenger subcontracting, management must do one thing that this management group has shown no willingness to do – that is to negotiate.  In the meantime, protecting customers will require the company to have a spare aircraft available.

Let’s review a brief history of this grievance, which dates back to a filing on May 15, 2017.  In 2010 the company had tried to insert subcontracted flying in the current CBA, but because it argued for an amalgamated Atlas/Polar CBA, that provision was denied when the arbitrator issued his interest arbitration award in 2011.  You see, neither the Atlas CBA nor the Polar CBA contained provisions for passenger flying.  Thus, partially by its own underhanded scheme to amalgamate, the company was thwarted from achieving a passenger flying provision.  After the current CBA went into effect, Atlas then intentionally subcontracted passenger flying in defiance of our CBA.  Then, just like it did in the strike language case (CBA Section 26.X), management tried to get through arbitration what is was unable to get in negotiations or even in the arbitrator-imposed Section 1 of the current CBA.  The result was the same in both arbitrations, a loss for the company.  The arbitrator slammed the door in the face of this underhanded and illegal attempt to rewrite our CBA and steal a provision that the company could not obtain even through the interest arbitration that it so badly wanted.  It is both a sad and pitiful conclusion that the company likely spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to dupe an arbitrator into giving it something that it had not secured through negotiations or even interest arbitration.  That money could have been better spent in almost any other way than simply lining the company’s high priced lawyers’ pockets.  In fact, it could have partially paid for a new CBA with one of its most important resources – the pilots.

I want to congratulate the many people on our team that did such a great job on this arbitration.   Our union stewards from both our previous term (2015-2017), as well as the current group of stewards (2018-2020) for their resolve and perseverance throughout this long process and bringing it across the finish line.  Under the direction of ExCo Member Captain John Hutelin and Lead Steward Captain Dave Mason, your stewards have achieved a huge victory for all of us.  ExCo member Captain Matt Sturgis was the union’s arbitration neutral board member and did a terrific job on the board.  Also our legal staff, led by Local 1224 Chief Counsel Mr. Ed Gleason, Ms. Stephanie Spanja and Mr. Josh McInerney brought to bear great legal expertise and strong professional dedication in bringing this case to a successful resolution.  I also want to thank all of you, the Atlas crew members, for your support and your dues that make these successes possible.

Don’t be surprised if the company tries so spin its loss in this case as one in which the union and the pilots are stranding military passengers and their families.  The unfortunate truth is that the company has had plenty of options to avoid its illegal conduct, but is simply unwilling to spend the time or resources to choose any of those options.  Instead, the company gambled that an arbitrator would allow it to continue to violate the contract.  The company lost the gamble and has only itself to blame for its shameful conduct and any resulting service disruptions to our military and their families.

To help us enforce this key victory, we now ask each and every one of you to remain vigilant.  We have heard that the company has arrogantly threatened not to abide by the arbitrator’s award.  We need each and every one of you to report to us any suspected subcontracted revenue flying that you encounter across the globe if you believe it to be Atlas subcontracted revenue flying.

The company is now 0 for 2 with respect to major arbitrated cases and is stalling on many more to deny us justice.  You see the courts and arbitration boards fully recognize that “Justice delayed is Justice denied”, not surprisingly this management group has again proven that there is no depth to which they won’t sink.

I can assure you we will continue to push forward with greater resolve every day and that there is no quit, complacency or lack of resolve in your union leadership.

Remember, always be “ALL-IN”.


Bob Kirchner
Atlas Executive Council Chairman