Dear Flight Attendants,
To say that this week was frustrating and disappointing is an understatement. We came to this fifth mediation session in San Diego with the intent of working hard and getting very close on the remaining short list of items now on the bargaining table.
In an effort to secure industry-leading trip and duty rigs, we proposed a limited application of a duty day of up to 12 ½ hours and not to exceed 25% of pairings at each domicile. #shutthefrontdoor! #saywhaaat?! #whosesideareyouonanyway?! (#dontworrycuzitsoffthetable!)
The Negotiating Committee knows there are many strong feelings about increasing the duty day and this was a very difficult position for your committee to even consider. Rest assured that we would have never gone there unless we were confident the overall package would have strongly benefited from this move and we could address the implications of a longer day.
We can’t disclose exact numbers but here are some facts to consider. According to survey results, some Flight Attendants might be willing to fly an extended duty day under very specific circumstances if there were guarantees that the pairings would be extremely productive. However, the vast majority of Flight Attendants are adamantly opposed to a longer duty day under any circumstances. At the same time, all Flight Attendants are interested in the efficiencies guaranteed by rigs. This move was a calculated effort to achieve all objectives as much as possible.
Of course management was interested in the longer duty day and asked for some time to do analysis through the pairing optimizer. We agreed.
Initially, management reportedly ran the analysis without their or our proposed rigs and with no 25% cap on pairings over 10 ½ duty hours. Unsurprisingly, management said the results were inconclusive and unhelpful in figuring out the effect of any of the rigs or duty days. We spent the entire session waiting for additional results. It was a creeping delay that tied us to our caucus room. Two hours dragged into four then into six then overnight…….it turned into another one of management’s “productivity sits.” (Note to Negotiating Committee: don’t forget to submit for stranded pay!)
We did have discussions with management’s team regarding rigs and it quickly became apparent that management was entertaining below industry-standard rigs. Duty and trip rigs in the industry are based on hourly pay (“block hours”), except for Southwest Airlines’ TFP rigs. We proposed rigs based on TFP, but management refused to consider our intended application which recognized that there is an average of 1.13 TFP in every block hour.
In order to make a fair conversion to a TFP environment, a conversion factor (1.13) must be applied. In our caucus-room discussions, management refused to convert the hourly rate to TFP for the trip and duty rigs. This resulted in below standard rigs. We went through many examples and in the end, management’s team said they understood; however, they were firm in their position—even though their application resulted in a 13% reduction in the rig compared to industry standard.
Our frustration mounted over the week and it became obvious that management would only consider mediocre rigs and was looking for more than 25% of pairings to contain duty days in excess of 10 ½ hours. This was a deal that we did not want to pursue.
Therefore, we have taken the duty day in excess of 10 ½ hours off the table and gone back to book on that provision. Know that management is adamantly opposed to any type of duty or trip rig on a 10 ½ hour duty day restriction; however, your committee is still actively looking into solutions to reduce long sit time, inefficient pairings and long layovers with no pay.
As we mentioned in the last update, for those of you interested in ratcheting up the heat, contact your LEC president regarding volunteer opportunities.
Council 30 ANC: Melanie Buker – firstname.lastname@example.org
Council 19 SEA: Laura Masserant – email@example.com
Council 39 PDX: Cathy Gwynn – firstname.lastname@example.org
Council 18 LAX/SAN: Sandra Morrow – email@example.com
We have our sixth mediation session in Seattle, WA, December 10th -12th.
Your AFA Negotiating Committee – MEC President Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Tracy, Karina Cameron-Fetters, Jake Jones and AFA Staff Negotiator Paula Mastrangelo
“Five Bases, One Voice”