Q. How is it that a JCBA is being put forward for consideration when L-VX was previously represented by TWU and they did not have a contract in place? Doesn’t this mean that they weren’t a “represented carrier” and Section X of the AFA Constitution & Bylaws wouldn’t apply?
A. L-VX Flight Attendants are absolutely AFA-CWA members and Virgin America is an AFA represented carrier. It is correct that L-VX Flight Attendants originally organized under TWU but they became an AFA represented carrier when the National Mediation Board certified AFA as their legal collective bargaining representative in April of 2017 (click here to see the NMB certification determination).
Once the merger was announced, it was obvious that given the disparity in numbers of Flight Attendants, that AFA would be the successor union. Discussions between AFA and TWU confirmed this and TWU agreed that they would not contest the National Mediation Board’s (NMB) certification of AFA as the successor union. Thus it was always clear that both carriers would be AFA carriers.
The reason that AFA did not petition the NMB sooner for a decision on representation is because TWU was just finalizing negotiations on a first Tentative Agreement for the L-VX Flight Attendants and AFA did not want to interfere. After the TA failed, AFA quickly secured representation rights for the L-VX Flight Attendants.
It is important to note that Virgin America became an AFA carrier well before the merger transaction or Single Operating Certificate (SOC) was completed as well as the fact that JCBA negotiations did not commence until both carriers were represented by AFA. Equally important to note is the fact that AAG’s acquisition of VX is not what constitutes the merger; the merger transaction was the legal combination of AS and VX into one company and occurred after AAG’s acquisition.
Per the AFA Constitution and Bylaws, Section X, Merger Policy and Related Employee Protective Provisions the MEC is required to follow the merger policy which stipulates numerous steps including the negotiation of a Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement.
You can view the full Section X, Merger Provisions here -> http://cdn.afacwa.org/docs/afa/afa-cb-2016.pdf
(Section X starts on page 125 of the PDF)
To review the AFA communication on achieving representation of Virgin America see here -> http://afaalaska.org/latest-%20news/afa-now-represents-virgin-america-flight-attendants