Legislative Update

Earlier this month, US DOT updated its drug testing regulations. These changes take effect January 1, 2018 and apply to all transportation workers –aviation, transit, rail – who are already subject to federal DOT drug tests.


With this update, DOT has expanded the types of drugs it tests for. Beginning January 1st, you will be tested for four additional drugs, specifically semi-synthetic opioids: hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone. These semi-synthetic opioids are sold under brand names such as OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet, Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, Dilaudid, and Exalgo, etc. When the changes take effect, DOT drug tests will screen for the use of these drugs:

Marijuana; Hydromorphone; Amphetamine; Cocaine; Oxycodone; Methamphetamine; Codeine; Oxymorphone ; MDMA/MDA; Morphine; 6-Acetylmorphine; Hydrocodone; and Phencyclidine


Under the existing DOT drug testing process, Medical Review Officers (MROs) determine whether there is a legitimate medical explanation for a positive test result, such as taking a legally prescribed drug. With this update, if you test positive for a semi-synthetic opioid, your MRO will downgrade your positive result to negative if you have a legally valid prescription for the drug found in your system.


There are other important things you should know about how this rule impacts you:

  • There is no time limit on the use of a legally valid prescription. DOT recognizes that there could be an unintended hardship on you if a MRO was able to deny a prescription from being a legitimate medical explanation simply because it took you a longer time to finish taking the drug than expected. As a result, there’s no cutoff date after which the prescription for a drug you’re taking can’t serve as an explanation for a positive result.
  • MROs cannot deny your prescription from acting as a legitimate medical explanation for a positive test result simply because they believe your doctor should not have prescribed you that medication. But, MROs must review and take all reasonable steps to verify the authenticity of the records you provide, and may contact your doctor for further information to verify your prescription.
  • Before this rule, MROs were required to report to DOT and employers drug tests results and worker medication information if the MRO believed the information would cause the worker to be medically disqualified or pose a safety risk. Under this rule, before the MRO reports information about your prescription drugs to DOT or employer, the MRO must give you five business days to ask your doctor to call the MRO and determine if the medication can be changed to one that does not pose a significant safety risk. If the MRO determines a medical qualification or safety risk still remains, the MRO will report information about the drugs you’re taking.
  • Remember that while some state laws allow marijuana use, it is still prohibited by US DOT. If you test positive for marijuana, no prescription can downgrade your positive result to negative.
  • You can view the US DOT update here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-11-13/pdf/2017-24397.pdf

Thanksgiving 2017

As we look back at a year full of negotiations, rally's and a constantly changing workplace, it is time for us to look back and reflect on what we should be thankful for. The year has been a trying time for all, especially for our Brothers and Sisters in Puerto Rico, who are slowly rebuilding their lives, and our thoughts and prayers go out to them all.

Take this time to relax, enjoy your family and friends as we look ahead to the future.

On behalf of the Executive Board of Local 501, I would like to thank our members for your patience and continued support and wish you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving.


Anthony Jordan
Recording Secretary


Sisters and Brother's,

This notice is to inform our membership that effective November 30, 2017 our (SJU) Executive 3rd Vice President, Luis R. Valcourt will be resigning from his position. The resignation of Brother Valcourt is due to health issues he has been battling with for the last two years. Luis want's the membership to know that he wishes nothing but the best for his station (SJU) and his TWU Local 501.

As an Executive Board Member for the last five years Luis stated they were the most challenging years at American for him, but the best years of his career. Brother Valcourt can resign with pride as the years he served the membership as the Local Ranking Union Official of SJU helped produce recalls to the Island, the Change of Shift Policy, New Equipment and better Working Conditions with respect and integrity.
Our Administration wishes Luis all the best and thank him for all of the hard work he put into serving the members of Air Transport, Local 501.

With the void that Brother Valcourt leaves behind our Executive Board will have to figure out how to continue to serve the SJU membership with a strong representation team.

Victor J. Gonzalez

Association, AA Executive Session Negotiations Continue

Brothers and Sisters,

The Executive Negotiating Committee met face to face with American Airlines this week in Washington DC.

The Letters of Agreement that were reviewed and designated by the Association subcommittee, were presented to the company. An agreement was reached by the parties on what letters will still need to be discussed and incorporated into the JCBA, what letters will be retained, and what letters will be eliminated that are no longer relevant.

Discussions continued for MLS and MCT on Qualifications, Filling of Vacancies and Overtime procedures. Progress was made.

Agreement was reached to continue the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) and to establish a Ground Safety Action Program (GSAP) program that will apply to Association represented ground personnel. These valuable programs help to promote a safer workplace while creating greater protections for our members.

In depth discussions began on the Scope Article for Fleet Service.

Discussions on Union Security/Dues Check Off for all groups were also held, we are close to a tentative agreement for that article.

In keeping with being productive between negotiation sessions, an Association subcommittee will meet in DFW next week to finalize the Leave of Absence Matrix chart (to be put in the JCBA) that will reflect the previously tentative agreement of the Leave of Absence Article.

Negotiations are scheduled to resume December 11 in Dallas.


Fleet Negotiating Committee:

Mark Baskett, William Fa, Mike Fairbanks ,Tim Hughes, Steve Miller, Tim Murphy, Pat Rezle,r Art Risley, Andre Sutton, Rodney Walker, Bill Wilson.

Mechanic and Related/Stores Committee:

Jason Best,  Mike Bush,  Ken Coley,  John Coveny,  Dale Danker,  Mark Huffman,  Bennie Martino,  Gary Peterson,  Rollie Reaves,  Sean Ryan,  Jay Sleeman,  Mark Strength.