Published 17 Dec, 2013
On December 11, TWU International President Harry Lombardo and International Secretary-Treasurer Alex Garcia went to Miami International Airport to talk face-to-face with members in the ATD, speaking at membership meetings and answering members’ questions in break rooms and at gate houses on the ramp.
“For the first time, you have top leadership getting out there and engaging with the locals on the ground—traveling to the shops, and seeking out the opinions of membership,” said COPE Political Field Staff Member Terry Daniels. “Rather than sending out a letter, they are taking the time to go out and talk with the members, and explain to them right then and there in concrete terms what the International is doing.”
The top officers talked to large groups of Local 568 members, American Airlines Fleet Service Clerks, starting at 8:30 am with the first of five membership meeting sections. “Harry and Alex talked about how we need to operate on more common ground and put the infighting and our differences behind us,” said Local 568 President Tom Lee. “Their message was about unity and how important it is to be engaged as a union member. I observed the room as Harry was speaking, and everyone seemed to be very focused on his comments, and I believe they took what he said to heart.”
Local 570 Vice President Andrew Rangolan brought the union leaders to the American Eagle ramp, where they joined our American Eagle Airlines Fleet Service Clerks and Aircraft Maintenance Techs on the job. Speaking with members at several gates on the ramp, Lombardo and Garcia built on the momentum of that day’s COPE drive to give our brothers and sisters a picture of how COPE contributions boost TWU’s impact.
“This is the first time in history that an International President or an International Secretary-Treasurer has even been on the property, let alone in the break room,” said Andrew. “We were very excited about it; there were a few guys who wanted to take pictures of Harry. It gave us all the sense that coming into 2014, TWU is a totally different ballgame. I brought Harry and Alex on a walk-through of the bag room, and showed them the catering and cleaning of the aircraft — what we do on a daily basis. Harry talked with members about their concerns about the contract and the equity distribution, and one of our Fleet Service Clerks was able to show him how to push the aircraft off the gate.”
“The members and local officers were very impressed to see the President and Treasurer from the International actually showing up on the ramp where they work, crawling through the baggage areas, and wanting to learn from them about the specifics of their work,” said Terry. “And the membership did not hold back. There were questions for Harry and Alex, and the two of them answered on the spot. The response was overwhelming. It’s one thing to read something in a newsletter, but it’s another to hear about the changes being made at the International from the people making those changes. It was completely new. But that’s what Harry and Alex are all about—a bottom-up approach to leadership; learning from the locals and finding solutions together.”