Hello Sisters and Brothers of Local 568,
As most of you are aware of the ongoing issue with the Coronavirus or COVID-19, demand for flights has collapsed across the globe amid growing fears about the outbreak, and President Trump has just declared a National Emergency. The health and wellbeing of our members and their families are extremely important to us.
Your local leadership, in conjunction with the TWU International and the MIA V.P. J.C. Liscano, have been working together to minimize membership exposure. We have been and will continue to be proactive as we request that the Company continue to make the necessary adjustments needed to prevent and limit any exposure to the virus. We asked to have Lysol wipes available at the equipment rooms and to have hand sanitizers replaced at a much faster rate than usual. We have also explained the importance to the Company and the county about stepping up their plans to disinfect areas and maintaining cleanliness throughout the Ramp and Cargo.
As of today, we spoke to J.C. Liscano, MIA's V.P., and he has assured us numerous times that there will be no layoffs. The lost time policy has been adjusted for the time being, and members that show early symptoms of the virus are encouraged to stay home and will not be penalized. Also, any member that has been instructed by a medical professional to stay home due to the Coronavirus will be given two weeks of paid leave with no effect on their sick, vacation, or lost time record to be able to recover before returning to work.
We expressed our concerns with the use of the finger-scan system for badging in and out of work, as of now the TWU International is also involved in this process, and we should expect an answer by tomorrow afternoon. As soon as we get more information on this issue, we will share it with the membership. We are also working with J.C. Liscano and the county to increase bus capacity during peak hours to minimize bus crowding and the chances of coming into contact with the Covid-19.
Nothing is more important than your safety, and as a preventive measure, we have decided to postpone our Annual Family Picnic, which was planned to happen next month. In addition, we are exploring the option of canceling the March 19th membership meeting. We also had contract roadshows and special meetings designed to explain and answer questions about the JCBA planned for the 23rd and 25th of this month. We have decided to cancel those, and instead, your Local Leadership will be walking the Field and Cargo throughout March 16th, 17th, 18th, and 20th answering any questions about the contract. In addition to there will be a new podcast released from the TWU International explaining other pressing issues regarding the JCBA.
As you can see, we have taken measures to limit the exposure of our members to the virus. Postponing events was not an easy decision, but collectively we know it's the right decision to ensure the safety of our members.
As of now, our contract voting day is still March 26th, 2020, and we are in full force to finalize this lengthy process on a positive note. The bid is still in place to be effective on March 28th, but it's subject to change depending on load factors.
The Company has approximately 7.3 billion dollars in cash and a credit line of 1.3 billion dollars plus low fuel prices. This will surely have a positive impact on the operating costs of the airline, based on those details and remarks made recently by CEO Doug Parker American Airlines is in a strong financial position. Yet it's important to mention that they will look for measures to cut costs systemwide. One way is by offering a Voluntary Leave of Absence for up to a year to any members that wish to take it. The employee would still be considered as active; therefore, medical insurances and seniority would not be affected (more details on this will be released soon).
I will not have all the answers, I am not a CDC expert, but I can assure you, my team and I are working extremely hard through this situation with every single one of you and your families on our minds. I will do everything in my power to make sure our members are well taken care of even through these difficult times.
We suggest everyone visit the CDC and the World Health Organization websites for references and preventive measures, and we encourage all of our members to protect themselves as much as possible and take reasonable precautions to protect others.
The CDC and the WHO recommends:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds or use alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your face, including eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Try to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces as much as possible.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and immediately make sure to wash your hands.
Miami is in an extraordinary situation because of the market we serve; Latin America has not been affected the way the European and Asian market has. While other stations are stopping flights to South and Central America and the Caribbean, so all the traffic going to those areas will be funneled through MIA, and we have to be grateful for that. I ask all of you to unite and work together for a common goal of overcoming these tough times for our industry.
We will be sharing more details on our website and social media platforms as they become available and are hoping for a fast recovery of the industry and, more importantly, the people that have gotten affected by the virus. Our lines of communication are and always will be open for the members; please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
TWU Local 568