Q: Why are the furlough protections only for one year?
A: The furlough protections actually will remain in place for over a year and a half (April, 2018 – December 2019). This will carry the Flight Attendant group through Full Integration. The JNC advocated for a longer period of time for this protection, but management was unwilling to extend the protection past December 2019.
Q: If the date of the furlough protections ends in 2019 does that mean they can furlough after that for the remainder of the extension?
A: The term of the furlough protection is separate from the duration of the mid-term JCBA. Today, management can furlough at any time, but must use the protective provisions in Section 18 Reduction in Force of the current CBA. The same would be true for a JCBA, except that management would be prohibited from furloughing Flight Attendants during the period of the furlough protection (through December, 2019).
Q: I was asked by about 7 different people in the current initial class, “Should I be looking at going to Delta?” by trainees who were offered positions at both. The furlough protection clause is making them think that furlough is being talked about. Many on their training flights were told “I don’t why we are hiring you, we are so over staffed,” so that made them go into panic mode!
A: The Supplemental Reduction in Force Protection LOA for the JCBA was negotiated as a temporary measure to cover the period of Full Integration, and is a not uncommon provision in a merger situation. The design of the furlough protection is to allay fears that, due to the combining of the Flight Attendant workforce, the Company may find itself significantly over-staffed and furlough Flight Attendants while re-allocating network flying. It was in no way intended to signal management’s desire or intent to furlough.
Often in an airline merger situations there exists a staffing imbalance (i.e. overstaffing on one side and understaffing on the other) when the partition separating two work groups is still in force. It is important to remember that once all Flight Attendants are flying on the JCBA work rules, it will require more total Flight Attendants than today to complete the current flight schedule. The 10.5 hour duty day and the increased rest provisions among other things will translate into significantly changed pairings on the L-VX side, which will require a larger workforce in total.
AFA is proud of the work- life balance we have achieved at Alaska Airlines over more than 70 years of bargaining history. We believe Alaska Airlines is a great place to work and would not advocate choosing a non-union carrier over the contractual protections at Alaska Airlines. That said, the choice of a career path is a personal one for each individual and there are many criteria to consider.