Dear Legacy Alaska and Virgin America Flight Attendants:
Your Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) has completed the Merger Agreement roadshows in all domiciles. During the course of the roadshows the committee realized that two clarifications were necessary. The Committee is committed to setting the record straight. Listed below are two points which need clarification.
Block or Better by Segment for L-VX Flight Attendants
The Letters of Agreement and the L-VX JCBA Implementation Timetable all correctly state that the provision is retroactive to April 1, 2018.
The Block or Better by Segment retroactive date is incorrectly stated on the Alaska Airlines-Virgin America Merger Agreement summary which was mailed with the ballot instructions, on p.8.
Vacation Coordination Bank Provision
Regarding the Vacation Coordination Bank provision for continued medical insurance at the active employee rate while on a medical leave of absence, the language and examples provided in the following documents are correct:
- Alaska Airlines – Virgin America Merger Tentative Agreement Road Show Packet (p.6 [Section 15: Leaves of Absence] and p. 18 [Benefits])
- Alaska Airlines-Virgin America Merger Agreement -summary which was mailed with the ballot instructions (p.4 [Benefits])
However, during the roadshows in ANC, SEA and PDX, an unclear example was used which may have indicated that if a Flight Attendant qualified for full paid vacation and took all of her/his paid vacation in the beginning of the year and subsequently went on a medical leave of absence and had no accrued sick leave, then that Flight Attendant would have an unpaid bank of vacation days with which to coordinate for medical insurance. That is not the correct application of the provision. The Vacation Coordination Bank was created to protect Flight Attendants who did not qualify for paid vacation (i.e. did not achieve 480 Worked TFP in the previous year) in the event that they went on a medical leave of absence.
In addition, if a Flight Attendant is eligible for Longevity PTO and did not achieve it in the previous year, s/he would have 7 days in the Vacation Coordination Bank to utilize.
It is important to note that in addition to the above provision in the TA, the Alaska Flight Attendant CBA provides considerable provisions which combine to ensure that Flight Attendants retain health insurance:
Section 16.G – SICK LEAVE ACCRUAL ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE UTILIZING SICK LEAVE
During a leave of absence of thirty (30) days or more granted to a Flight Attendant the following will apply:
1. Sick leave will continue to accrue at a rate of seven (7.0) TFP per calendar month for a period not to exceed ninety (90) days.
Section 15.M – LEAVES WITH COORDINATION OF SICK LEAVE OR VACATION / LONGEVITY PTO
1. Coordination of Sick Leave:
a. Minimum Coordination: A Flight Attendant may choose to coordinate the use of sick leave in conjunction with medical, maternity or parental leave, FMLA, Workers’ Compensation, STD or LTD in order to maintain insurance benefits for her-/himself and her/his eligible dependents, if applicable, at the active employee contribution rate. Sick leave coordination will be allowed during any full or partial bid month on such a leave. S/he may draw three-tenths (0.3) TFP sick leave per day (nine (9.0) TFP in a thirty (30) day bid month or nine and three-tenths (9.3) TFP in a thirty-one (31) day bid month) from the sick leave until depleted. If a Flight Attendant does not have enough sick leave in her/his sick leave bank to maintain continuous health care coverage during the LTD benefits waiting period, the Company will work with the Flight Attendant to allow her/him to draw sick leave at an appropriate rate that will allow the Flight Attendant to maintain coverage throughout this period. In no circumstances will a Flight Attendant be provided a less favorable application of this practice than is extended to the Alaska Airlines pilots.
If a Flight Attendant is going on a medical leave of absence, it is important to contact AFA to obtain guidance on managing the medical leave and to contact the Alaska leave analysts to ensure that medical insurance is continued. Being proactive is the best course of action to take.
Voting and Additional Information
The JNC urges everyone to VOTE. Polls close on April 3 at 9 AM Pacific Time. Due to a U.S. Department of Labor rule change, once cast, a VOTE CANNOT BE CHANGED. Any questions about the Merger TA can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and the JNC will respond.
The JNC has recorded “webinar” topic videos on the Merger Tentative Agreement (TA). You can view all the Merger TA videos at http://afaalaska.org/merger/jnc/ta/webinar.
Your JNC – MEC President Jeffrey Peterson, Jennifer Wise MacColl, Jamie Cogen, Lindsey Steele and AFA Senior Staff Negotiator Paula Mastrangelo