George Miranda speaks at Teamster convention
New York Teamster leader George Miranda spoke before a packed house at the 29th International Brotherhood of Teamsters Convention in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Miranda announced numerous victories that the Teamsters Union is winning for airline workers across the country.
Miranda is chairman of the Teamsters Airline Division, in addition to being Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 210 – New York’s airline local – and President of Teamsters Joint Council 16.
Miranda reported that last year, passenger service workers with American Airlines voted to ratify a groundbreaking five-year agreement. The contract covers nearly 15,000 workers and provides for initial average wage increases of 30 percent and improved benefits and other industry-leading gains.
“We fought for this contract for a long time and we won,” said Miranda.
In another victory, after a five-year battle, the Teamsters reached a five-year tentative agreement for flight dispatchers at NetJets. This is their first contract and they’ll be receiving wage increases of over 18 percent, signing bonuses over $10,000 and technological furloughs will now be illegal under the contract language.
“We fought through a ton of challenges to get these workers to this point, but we succeeded every time we were tested,” said Miranda. “That’s Teamster power.”
Miranda also announced victories for pilots at Flexjet, Flight Options, GoJet Airlines, and Allegiant Airlines. And its not just pilots that are winning. Flight attendants at Trans States Airlines and mechanics at Piedmont Airlines also won collective bargaining agreements to raise standards.
The victories come admidst record profits for the airline industry. This would be a good thing if airlines were reinvesting this money into the union workforce behind their success, but too often it takes a concerted Teamster campaign for workers to see the benefits of their hard work.
United Airlines has become the post child for corporate greed in this industry.
“When United was in trouble, workers made concessions on the promise of profit sharing when the company recovered,” said Miranda. “Now that United is back in the black, bringing in billions in profits, the company wants to reduce profit sharing and use those profits to enrich executives instead.”
Teamsters at United are fighting back. Members voted down the latest contract offer and picketed the company across the country.
“We are sending a message to United and the whole industry that the Teamsters won’t settle for less than our members deserve,” said Miranda.
These victories are a team effort. Airline Teamsters are standing together in solidarity and have supported each other during negotiations, job actions, and organizing drives.
“We’re going to stick together and we’re going to win all of these battles,” Miranda told the convention.