The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Union is a craft union which means that it is an independent union that only benefits a specific craft or profession. The AMFA represents all the Mechanics, men and female in the business of aircraft and is a success in doing so. It tries to help all technicians in their wages, working conditions, and benefits like health care, which can be expensive if purchased by one. By joining this specific union, members are represented and are helped greatly through their work. Unions like the AMFA use methods of collective bargaining and lobbying to get their point across. The purpose of all Unions of course is to make sure that all members are treated like trained employees should be. Unions can establish a sense of job security because they have the right to go on strike, and fight for their positions on the job.
The AMFA specifically was established in 1962; however it did not represent any airlines. In 1964, the union represented such companies as Pacific Airlines, Airlift International, Hughes Airwest, and Southern Airways. All of these companies do not exist anymore because the bankruptcy or steady decline. However the AMFA now represents Northwest Airlines, in which it has been negotiating for many months now, and represents Alaska, America Trans Air, and Horizon technicians. The goal of the union though is to represent all of the airline companies to have the union be an overwhelming majority, so that they can accomplish more. The more people in a union, the more and easier the decision making is.
If one is a member at AMFA, it is very likely to expect strong knowledge in contract negotiations. By hiring special experts for each particular part of a contract negotiation, AMFA can achieve the highest of quality and best success rate in their contracts. For examples, they may hire a special financial adviser for one part of negotiations, and a mechanics specialty negotiator for the other part. This is very successful because each negotiator has a specific topic he or she must know. This particular craft union also lets their members observe company negotiations to see the status of accomplishment. When a contract is completed, it is then submitted to the members of the union and a vote is made on the sufficiency of achievement.
In order to join this union though, a membership due is required. There are requirements to be in the AMFA. One must be an airline mechanic or technician and must pay two times what their base pay salary is. For example, if an employee receives 25 dollars per hour, the monthly pay will be 50 dollars. It is a small price to pay for full representation by lawyers if in arbitration. AMFA also has a $500 fine protection program to counteract the cost of a fine.
Overall the union does exactly what they say. AMFA has proven to be the only democratic organization for airline mechanics. Through union independence, the members control all aspects of their union. All officers are elected through a secret ballot which is important in electing honest officials. Currently, the AMFA is fighting for a better salary for the mechanics of Northwest Airlines. After a very bad financial year for Northwest, Northwest now wants to make pay-cuts up to fifty-percent to all the airline technicians. The AMFA is now bargaining in order to protect the employees from what would be a very dramatic pay-cut. Even though Norwest West Airlines is filing for bankruptcy, the AMFA will do all it can to get the mechanics back their jobs.
Members of the AMFA have been on strike in order to get their salaries back to their regular amount. Northwest is known for giving pay-cuts to those who are not important executives of their company. The actions that they are trying to pursue now at this current strike are to bust the union so that the company does not lose more money. In the first quarter of 2005, the company’s labor costs went up 1.9%, while fuel costs rose 40%, a rise that figures largely in Northwest’s arguments for labor cuts. But rather than find other ways to offset fuel costs, Northwest continues to place the burden of rising gas prices on its unionized labor. Northwest is also trying to hire not unionized workers so that there are no discrepancies, but this will cost much more for the companies, including hiring people in order to hire new mechanics. Northwest isn’t the only airline with this problem. Delta had to file for bankruptcy and if Northwest does not negotiate a deal with any of the labor unions, the final demise of their company will be foreshadowed. The President and CEO says that it is a very difficult thing to control high oil prices, but it is inevitable. Other companies like Lufthansa have been hiring their mechanics and giving them better benefits to compensate for the loss of pay. Northwest however does not seem to be doing anything for the good of their employees. One of the main reasons that the AMFA is successful in finding solutions is that it is one of the biggest airline technician unions. It is not unheard of that other unions are trying to work together and help their members. The problem is that all unions cannot get by corporations. Many of the workers don’t even care about the money, but showing the companies that it’s a matter of principle. Most of the members of AMFA said they wouldn’t return to work, even if a better deal was offered. “The money isn’t important,” said the AMFA rep, “I mean, no one wants to take a 25 percent cut in pay, but to help a company that was actually gonna continue as a viable company, we’d bite the bullet. But they made it so bitter, they never wanted to settle.” Another comment from a union representative was, “I couldn’t vote yes on an agreement that would put them out on the street.” This proves that the union has not only helps with the salary issues, but they truly care about their members. The future of Northwest is yet to be determined, but it is clear the AMFA is still striving to help and unionize their members to bargain for better deals and futures for all the mechanics that are represented.
A union, not only the AMFA is a way of stabilizing work and fairness for all people represented. A union can establish reasonable function for a person in their workplace. By belonging to a union, more than 25% of the Michigan population has had success in maintaining their jobs and feeling safe when dealing with big businesses and corporations. When people come together in order to fight for the same cause, it brings a more aggressive outlook to business. In politics right now, with the upcoming election, unions are important in dealing with jobs, and while new policies are established, the unions help hold together old policies and slowly dispense bestow the new for the future.
The importance of the union in the world today is to protect all the people that belong to the mechanics field of business. According to the motives of the AMFA, it is specifically declared that the goal of the union for the future is to “To have all airline technicians and related employees under the AMFA “umbrella,” and to raise all standards for the specific work for airline technicians and mechanics.
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