AFA representatives and Alaska Airlines management met last Thursday, July 14, 2016, to update each other regarding the Alaska Airlines-Virgin America merger and discuss the current situation and next steps. MEC President Jeffrey Peterson, Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) member Lindsey Steele, AFA Senior Staff Attorney Kimberly Chaput, and AFA Senior Staff Negotiator Paula Mastrangelo represented AFA. Vice President of Inflight Services Andy Schneider, Vice President of Labor Relations Greg Mays and Managing Director of Labor Relations Elizabeth Ryan represented management.
The two groups reviewed the merger timeline and discussed the AFA merger policy, seniority integration and other issues that must be negotiated. The parties agreed the merger is still in the early stages, so only preliminary discussion could take place prior to Department of Justice approval and the close of the corporate transaction.
It is important to recognize that the Alaska Airlines pilot discussions have advanced more quickly because both pilot groups at Alaska Airlines and Virgin America (VX) are represented by the same union—the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). Additionally, the Transport Workers Union (TWU), which represents the Virgin America Inflight Team Mates (ITMs), is involved in the end stages of first contract negotiations on behalf of the VX ITMs. AFA supports their efforts to achieve a first contract and we appreciate their focus on that important achievement.
To further communications and good relations between the two Flight Attendant groups, the AFA Alaska JNC and the TWU Virgin America Negotiating Committee will meet in SFO this coming Tuesday, July 25th for an informal “meet and greet” session. A meeting between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America management and TWU and AFA leaders is also in the process of being arranged. We look forward to discussing the impending merger and mutual concerns.
AFA has extensive merger experience and every merger is different. It may seem as though not much is happening, but we are still in the very early stages of the merger. The next several hurdles are the Virgin America shareholder vote, followed by DOJ approval and then completion of the merger transaction. Only after transaction close will the merger be official, and then the actual work may start on integrating the Alaska Airlines and Virgin America Flight Attendant groups.
We will keep you posted on further developments as they happen.
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Yvette Satterlee, Lisa Pinkston, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Tim Green and Brice McGee
Your JNC – MEC President Jeffrey Peterson, Jen Wise MacColl, Lindsey Steele and AFA Senior Staff Negotiator Paula Mastrangelo