This message is for pre-merger Alaska Flight Attendants
What is “Back to Book”?
The “Back to Book” Open Time system is the trading system outlined in the 2006-2010 Flight Attendant Agreement as modified by the 2011 AFA Arbitration Award No. 6-99-2-18-11 “Withholding Open Time.” This modified trading system was in place 2012-2015. The contractual language associated with this system is found in CBA §12.F [Exchange of Sequences – Back to Book: Open Time Trading]. The “Back to Book” Section 12 Exchange of Sequences follows the regular Section 12 and precedes Section 13 Uniforms in your contract. The arbitration award follows LOA 6 Contract Implementation Schedule and precedes the index.
What is the Status of “Back to Book”?
It has been three months since our last Open Time update (“Open Time Negotiations Update – June 1, 2017”), so it is not a surprise that Flight Attendants have been inquiring about the “Back to Book” Open Time system. As indicated in the last update, AFA filed a grievance earlier in the summer disputing management’s failure to to provide sufficient IT resources for reverting Back to Book. That grievance was subsequently sustained by management, which essentially means management agrees with AFA’s position. Management further agreed to remedy the situation by contracting with Jeppesen to program Back to Book.
It is ridiculous that a whole year has passed after ending the Open Time Trial, yet very little progress has been made toward actually programming Back to Book into the new Jeppesen Crew Access (JCA) crew tracking and trip trading system. Management has been citing “IT limitations” as the reason why reverting Back to Book is still so delayed. (“If reverting, the timeline for rolling back will be dictated by IT limitations” per §12.F.9.a [Exchange of Sequences: Open Time Trial]). Management and Jeppesen claim that all available resources have been allocated to implementation of JCA.
Representatives from the Master Executive Council (MEC) and Alaska Airlines management have met several times recently to have frank discussions about the entire situation. Some of these meetings have included representatives from Jeppesen. The MEC’s goal in these meetings has been to achieve implementation guarantees for programming the new Open Time Tentative Agreement (TA) reached back in May and/or programming Back to Book. As you may recall, the MEC unanimously voted against releasing the Open Time TA due to a lack of implementation guarantees. Unfortunately, the meetings have been depressing.
Management is not inclined to agree to implementation guarantees without confident estimates about when the work would be completed. Further complicating the programming of a replacement Open Time system is the reality that Jeppesen and Alaska management have limited resources. Those resources are stretched even more thinly due to merger-related projects that have aggressive deadlines and several key staffing changes at Jeppesen and in Inflight management.
Finally, the eMaestro system is totally and irrevocably gone. Jeppesen cannot simply ‘flip a switch’ and resurrect eMaestro and/or Back to Book Open Time. Going Back to Book requires Jeppesen to completely replicate the Back to Book trading rules in JCA. Even if implementation were seamless, the “new” Back to Book system would have a significantly different look and feel than in eMaestro.
The very preliminary estimate for programming Back to Book is late summer next year. Based on our recent and ongoing experience with JCA implementation, let’s just say that the MEC does not have confidence that Back to Book—or a completely new Open Time system—will be implemented on time or without glitches.
AFA and management are meeting again early next week to discuss our options. The MEC will provide another update after that meeting. After all the disappointments with extremely delayed implementation timelines and a disastrously executed transition to the new trip trading system, you deserve better!
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Linda Christou, Lisa Pinkston, Terry Taylor, Mario de’Medici, Melissa Osborne, Tim Green and Brice McGee