October 28, 2018
It has been brought to my attention that some of our Members have been required to do fingerprinting and drug screens. This requirement presents concerns not only for those effected Members but all of the Membership. There are a lot of rumors going around regarding a “random drug test”, I will do my best to explain what I know about the situation and your “rights”.
I was surprised on Thursday when I found out that fingerprinting and drug screenings had happened at SFO. Some of the other Locals had been reporting over the last week or two that some of their Members were being subjected to drug testing under the guise of some USPS issue. This matter was discussed on my weekly Presidents Conference call. At that time the advice from the International was for to have our Memberships to comply if “directed” to drug screenings and not put any Member at risk of being insubordinate. The International was investigating as to the legality of these drug screenings, and the reason for such.
Not knowing that SFO was going to part of this “dragnet”, I wasn’t too worried that we would even be affected at that time. I was confident that if something of this importance was to happen in SFO the Local would be notified in advance as that is standard practice in the Union – Management relationship. That did not happen, Management never notified me or any other Officer of the 505 that there were Members in SFO that needed to be re-cleared by the USPS. In hindsight, I realize of course Faith Ikeda and her Team wouldn’t even consider they need to follow any business practice involving employees, their rights under a Collective Bargaining Agreement, or even give us any head’s up on anything. Remember, we no longer work for American Airlines we work for US Airways under the “American” brand.
So that you can fully understand the depth of this change of Company culture and disregard of any collective past relationship. Let me explain a few facts.
We work under a bargaining agreement which American Airlines agreed to, it is a joint document. The fact that the new Management style is LUS, does not negate our agreement – American has to abide by the CBA until which time we ratify the JCBA between the Association and American Airlines. Article 29 “representation” makes perfectly clear that you the Member have a right to have a Shop Steward or other Officer of the Union with you for any matter which could eventuate in discipline. Furthermore, Management is required to offer you this representation. Also, under Article 29 any drug screen for cause or post-accident this same offer of Union representation is to be made. It’s very clear.
The fact is that in both cases of this “drug screening”, neither of those offers were made. This is the reason that I was not aware until after the fact that this was going on. To further disrespect us the “directive” to do this fingerprinting and drug screen was given to the Members by a “Staff Assistant” when it should have come from a member of Management.
What is the Union doing about this? Rest assured that I have reached out to Faith and expressed my disappointment in her failure to be a good business partner with the Union. I have point blank asked her why, and she’s had multiple opportunities over the past two weeks, she did not give me a “heads up” that this was coming down. I informed her that the Membership should be able to trust that Management knows and follows our CBA, we should not have to Police her or her Team. Not only have I brought this to Faith but to American Airlines Labor Relations, our International Rep. Andre Sutton, and to International Vice President Gary Peterson. She has not responded to me.
As I stated earlier, the International has begun a look into the legality of these “drug screens” and is taking a very firm position that legal or not there most likely is a Contract violation present which is also being explored. The International, and I too, advises that if you are given a “directive” by Management comply – but please let a Shop Steward or Officer know as soon as possible when it happens so that we may document it.
We as a collective Membership and Local must pull our heads out of the sand and see this Company for what it has become - a greed driven machine that sees no value in us, our loyalty, or our professionalism. Look around, they remind us of it daily. Work smart, work safe......