AFA and the Virgin America (VX) leadership team (management) met in Seattle, WA yesterday to discuss VX Flight Attendant wages, work rules and other concerns. AFA started out the conversation by requesting that the leadership team match the AFA Alaska pay rates. Disappointingly, the leadership team was unwilling to match the AFA Alaska pay rates without a fully merged agreement and an integrated seniority list (ISL). (More on those two points shortly.)
After negotiating into the late evening, the parties reached agreements on several interim improvements to pay and work rules. This communication will focus on the improvements to pay, and the following will focus on work rules.
Virgin America agreed to make up half the difference between the current VX InFlight Teammate (ITM) pay rates and the AFA Alaska Flight Attendant pay rates (converted to block-hours), effective immediately. Resulting increases to the base rate ranges between 8-17%. The parties also agreed to establish three new steps above Step 10. InFlight Team Leaders (ITLs) will continue to receive an additional 15% on top of the ITM base rate.
These new wage rates will be applied retroactively to the first of this year (January 1, 2017). The new pay rates and the retroactive credit will appear on the May 31st paycheck.
AFA believes the VX Flight Attendants are extremely deserving of the AFA Alaska rates, so we are obviously disheartened that Virgin America will not match the rates at this time. However, we are appreciative that the Virgin America leadership team worked with us to provide some immediate relief and to make the new rates retroactive through this year.
Virgin America has clearly stated the AFA Alaska rates are contingent on achieving a merged agreement and an Integrated Seniority List. Although AFA is not satisfied with that position, we are going to make this process as swift as possible so that we can achieve equal pay rates as soon as possible. Consequently, AFA will post vacancies for two VX Merger Representatives and one Joint Negotiating Committee member tomorrow morning; the Master Executive Council (MEC) plans to fill those positions during our MEC meeting in just three weeks. Once those positions are filled, the journey towards a merged agreement and an ISL will continue in earnest.
AFA would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the efforts of our sisters and brothers on the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) negotiating team. Although the improvements that AFA achieved this week are not directly connected to that committee’s negotiations, their foundational work is recognized and appreciated. AFA sincerely thanks the TWU negotiators for their service.
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Linda Christou, Lisa Pinkston, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Melissa Osborne, Tim Green and Brice McGee