Q: Why couldn’t VX just come in under our contract? Since we acquired them, did that mean the contract had to be opened for negotiations, therefore giving AFA a chance to improve our contract? Were the negotiations basically to make improvements on our existing contract while we had the this opportunity, or was it more of a full blown contract negotiations, and how long were the company and AFA in negotiations?
A: There really is no specific roadmap for merger negotiations. Management wanted to negotiate only transition items that would bring the L-VX FAs over to the L-AS CBA. Management maintained that the AS CBA was closed and because AFA Alaska does not the same language as the pilots, there would be no improvements negotiated for the L-AS FAs. The JNC pushed back and strongly advocated for pay raises and other improvements for the L-AS FAs, which also accrue to L-VX FAs.
The parties entered merger negotiations in June 2017 and reached a TA in February 2018.
Q: Why were certain provisions negotiated and not others?
A: The final TA does not indicate the scope of all provisions that the JNC proposed. We brought forward several items that management rejected. For example, we especially pushed on retiree medical insurance, improving the 480 provisions and securing pay improvements targeted towards senior FAs (in addition to the general pay raises for all FAs). However, management was adamantly opposed to agreeing to these proposals.
Q: Who decided on what provisions to seek improvements on and which ones to not even try to address right now?
A: The JNC went to the bargaining table with a limited number of issues based on membership feedback from the merger negotiations survey and in consultation with the MEC. It was a different approach than regular Section 6 negotiations in which the entire CBA is potentially open.