Dear Flight Attendants,
Under the direction of federal mediator Victoria Gray, your AFA Negotiating Committee and Transportation Economist Dan Akins return to the National Mediation Board (NMB) in Washington, DC, October 28-30 for another round of talks with Alaska Airlines management. It is extremely fortunate that the government shutdown was resolved just in time to bring back Mediator Gray from mandatory furlough!
The remaining seven sections of our Contract to be negotiated are Scope, Definitions, Compensation, Expenses, Insurance, Profit Sharing/Retirement and Duration. Before the end of our last mediation session in September, the Negotiating Committee decided that passing multiple economic proposals back and forth with management would simply be a waste of time. That is because we are already aware of the Membership’s expectations in terms of the overall economics.
Therefore we thoughtfully prepared a comprehensive compensation and benefits proposal that cut to the chase. After explaining to management our motive for doing so—Flight Attendants want a deal yesterday and they’re tired of waiting—we presented the package so that they would have something significant to work on during the six week break between sessions. The idea behind this was to give the management negotiating team, the Alaska Air Group (AAG) executive leadership and the AAG Board of Directors plenty of time to consider our respective positions.
It seems in every Company communication and meeting recently we hear from management that the major challenge coming our way is competition from other airlines moving into our territory. In this morning’s communication from CEO Brad Tilden “Alaska’s Q3 Financial Results” Brad was quoted as resonating with a colleague who said, “The best defense (to competition) is … performance.” We couldn’t agree more! What better way to defend against the competition than to deploy an army of proud Flight Attendants who will strengthen the relationship with our loyal customers and win over new ones into our fold?
After all, the Flight Attendants are the front line ambassadors of the “Alaska Airlines product” who by far have the most time spent with our customers compared to any other workgroup in the Company. As such we are the “tip of the spear” in any war with our competitors. Management can ensure this army feels valued and proud by recognizing Flight Attendants with a contract which reflects our contributions to the current and future success of Alaska Airlines!
During this past month the flood of emails to management and your passionate attendance at recent Company meetings have proved that Flight Attendants are now more than ever united and serious about achieving a contract we deserve. We expect management to show up in DC next week having carefully considered our most recent comprehensive proposal, to acknowledge our resolve, and to be prepared and focused to “get ‘er done.” This mediation session should significantly reveal the direction negotiations are heading. (No pressure, management!)
Keep united and stay tuned for more developments next week!
Your Negotiating Committee – MEC President Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Tracy, Karina Cameron-Fetters, Jake Jones and AFA Staff Negotiator Paula Mastrangelo
“Five Bases, One Voice”