Late this past Friday, Mediator Gerry McGuckin scheduled mandatory meetings between the parties for half days on December 11 and 12 in Washington, DC at the National Mediation Board’s building. Present at those meetings for the Company were Doug Caines, Georgia LaBarge and Bridget Brookfield. Present for the IAM were James M. Samuel, General Chairperson, Mike Manzo, Grand Lodge Representative and Reggie Gauthier, JFK Customer Service.
During these meetings, both parties had the opportunity to brief Mediator McGuckin on the history of these talks and their respective positions early on in these negotiations. The Company has made the claim at the table that they have “gone through the contract line by line” searching for ways to again cut cost that would be palatable to you and prevent the need for outsourcing. Your Committee responded to that assertion with items they still have not implemented from the last round of negotiations. The Company still maintains that there is a $10,000,000 gap in labor cost to the nearest GHA competitor. No proposals were exchanged at this meeting.
This Committee is committed to examining every penny of every option before ever acquiescing to the hollow demands that are currently being made by British Airways. You have made it clear that you will except nothing less. The Mediation process, as described to the parties this week by the Mediator McGuckin, can sometimes be “interminable” so please be patient. Additional meeting dates have been tentatively agreed to for the months of February, March and April with 2 days of meetings in each month.
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Sincerely and fraternally,
James M. Samuel