What's mediation all about?

Our bargaining team will meet with Envoy negotiators and a mediator from the National Mediation Board (NMB) next week from May 20-22. Members have been asking about the mediation process, so we thought we'd answer your most frequently asked questions.

Why are we in mediation now instead of normal bargaining? Airlines operate under a federal law called the Railway Labor Act (RLA), which says that if a company and workers do not reach an agreement through normal negotiations, they may request assistance from the NMB. Envoy and CWA did that after the tentative agreement was voted down in March.

What role do NMB mediators play? Can they tell the company or the workers what to do? The NMB is an agency of the U.S. government. Its mediators are trained to work with unions and companies to resolve disputes in negotiations by making sure the discussions are productive. The mediator does not have the power to force the company or workers to make any concessions, and there is no formal time limit on negotiations.

What happens if we don't reach a fair agreement in mediation? If the mediator determines that our union and the company cannot come to an agreement, workers may pursue a strike or other actions after the NMB formally releases the parties from mediation and a mandatory “cooling off” period passes.

What are our top priorities during mediation? The results of our survey of Envoy members are guiding us in our negotiations. Our top priorities are higher wages, fairer wage scales and bonuses, part-time vacation, and a shorter term for the contract. In our April bargaining session, the company rejected these demands and refused to even offer a counter proposal. Their position is simply unacceptable and we are committed to continue our fight for a fair contract.

What difference can our involvement as agents make if we're relying on a mediator to help us win a fair contract? The mediator cannot force the company to end poverty wages and reach a fair agreement. Our strength in bargaining comes directly from the unity of workers at every station. For the last few weeks we’ve been gathering signatures on letters to station managers at many stations. On Monday, we'll present copies of those letters to the company in Dallas to demonstrate our unity.

To get the contract we all deserve, we must keep up the pressure. Continue to wear your CWA pins and stickers. And stay informed and ready to take action. We're sending out text messages to make sure you know what's going on in bargaining and mobilization. If you haven't already, join the text message list by texting the word ENVOY to 69866.

In unity,

Pat O'Neil, Chair, CWA Bargaining Committee
Marge Krueger, Director, CWA Airline Passenger Service
De Anna Davis, Envoy Passenger Service Agent, LCH
Chris Haight, Envoy Passenger Service Agent, TVC
James McKnight, Envoy Passenger Service Agent, MIA
Janet Padgett, Envoy Passenger Service Agent, LAX

P.S. Help us make sure every agent is getting our email alerts and text messages by clicking here to invite your co-workers to sign up. If you need more pins and stickers or are interested in joining the Mobilization Team, send a message to [email protected] today.

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