On October 24, a sea of CWA red shirts greeted American Airlines executives including CEO Doug Parker at the company's quarterly State of the Airline meeting in Fort Worth. Members of the CWA-IBT Association, including home-based reservations representatives (HBRs) and office-based agents, spoke out against plans to close the Reno Reservation center in March 2020 and move all HBRs into offices over the next two years.
"It was important for us to be there and make our statements on behalf of our co-workers," said Renee de la Garza, Secretary of CWA Local 6001 in Dallas. "We asked Parker to look at the employees who are being affected and see how devastating the closures will be for our lives."
Later in October, representatives of the CWA-IBT Association met with Doug Parker and other executives to deliver powerful statements from employees. At that meeting, a union representative read a statement by Trish Muir, an American Airlines employee for 24 years, who is based in Tucson. In 2012, American closed the Tucson office and workers there became home-based. They took deep pay and benefits cuts. Many endured personal bankruptcies and left children and spouses behind to relocate. Executives told them, "consider yourselves lucky."
Fast forward seven years. Trish described what it was like when HBRs got notice of the program's termination earlier this year. "We get a 'Dear John' email from a woman we don't know..., many of us while actively speaking to passengers, with no more thought given to us than to a construction update in a terminal."
Since the October meetings, American Airlines Senior Vice President Kerry Philipovitch has agreed to continue to discuss the effects of the HBR changes on employees with the CWA-IBT Association.
A sea of CWA red shirts greeted American Airlines executives including CEO Doug Parker at the company's quarterly State of the Airline meeting in Fort Worth.