The AFA Alaska-Virgin America Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) just wrapped up this week’s session of merger negotiations, our sixth so far. We met with management from Tuesday, November 7th through Thursday, November 9th in Seattle, WA. Representing management: Vice President of Labor Relations Greg Mays, Vice President of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America Inflight & Call Center/Guest Services Jeff Butler, Managing Director of Labor Relations-Air Elizabeth Ryan and Virgin America Manager of Labor Emily Kimmel.
This was a mixed session that saw us reaching agreement on three provisions relating to the transition, and we presented management with our proposed improvements to the Alaska Agreement. Earlier in the week, we reached agreement on the transition uniform program for VX and transitioning the VX Flight Attendants to the Alaska Sick Leave policy.
Using your survey responses, the JNC crafted a targeted list of priorities. AFA presented a strong case for why the changes were appropriate and needed. Initially, management’s team asked a lot of questions and for clarification. However, upon returning to the table after their discussions with upper management, their informal response did not leave us overly optimistic about getting a quick deal.
Management requested more time to cost out our proposals and committed to responding with a counterproposal at our next session in December. In the interim, AFA’s finance analyst and the Company’s financial planner will be in communication to ensure that we have vetted management’s costing model and agree on the numbers.
Keep in mind that merger negotiations are a different process than regular negotiations. Discussions are focusing on a limited list of Flight Attendant priorities. All the provisions in the AFA Alaska contract (scheduled pay raises, etc.) will continue in force for pre-merger Alaska Airlines Flight Attendants; all the provisions in the Virgin America work rules will remain in effect for pre-merger Virgin America Flight Attendants unless modified and/or superseded by the AFA Virgin America letters of agreement.
Our next merger negotiations session is scheduled for December 12th-14th.
Your JNC – MEC President Jeffrey Peterson, Jennifer Wise MacColl, Jamie Cogen, Lindsey Steele and AFA Senior Staff Negotiator Paula Mastrangelo