Dear Flight Attendants,
There has been an incredible amount of chatter about Section 14 Vacations and changes to the annual 480 TFP minimum. As a result, your Negotiating Committee feels compelled to address the chatter. Under an agreement we had with management – through the mediator – detailed information like this was not supposed to be communicated until we had a full tentative agreement (TA). At that point you would have been able to consider all provisions, including improved pay, etc., together in one package. Unfortunately, details were spelled out in the latest edition of management’s Grab & Go that left many of you wondering…”What the heck is this?!”
Since then, we have informed management and the mediator that AFA will no longer abide by the “communication blackout.” This cannot be a one-sided effort and it seems to us that after every session, this policy has caused big issues for us. So, NO MORE!
OK, on to explaining Vacation Section Changes:
There were several changes to the S14 Vacations. Please read through the entire communication as the new system is fairly complicated. Why is it so complex? Management is on a serious mission to reduce benefits to those who do not work “sufficiently” in their eyes to earn those benefits. The Negotiating Committee, in turn, had to protect the accruals of those who were not able to earn the benefit due to a leave of absence or other situation beyond their control. Thus the intricate provisions that had to be created.
While we are not in complete agreement with management’s philosophy because of the impact to our group’s scheduling flexibility, we did walk a little way down that road in an effort to beef up the economic package. The economics, of course, continue to be a work in progress. In the end, YOU will decide if the entire TA package is sufficient for ratification.
Now, we will to take this opportunity to share with you the tentatively agreed graduated accruals and seven (7) days of Longevity Paid Time Off (PTO) concept:
BASE VACATION ACCRUALS (no change except addition of longevity PTO):
|Years of service||Days of Vacation|
|< 1 year||1.167 days per month employed|
|1 – 4||14 days|
|5 – 9||21 days|
|10 – 17||28 days|
|18 – 24||35 days|
|(new) 25+ years with 960 Worked TFP, excluding vacation and sick leave.||35 days plus additional 7 days Longevity PTO|
Important Concepts to Understand:
Worked TFP = ALL credited TFP (including premiums, training, etc.), but excluding Sick Leave and Vacation.
Twelve (12) Month Look-Back = The last twelve (12) bid months of full paid activity. Any bid month in which a Flight Attendant coordinates sick leave with short/long term disability or worker’s compensation pay will not count toward the 480 TFP (or 240 TFP) threshold calculation. A full twelve (12) month look back will extend into additional months until twelve (12) full months are included in the determination of the threshold. That is, any bid month in which a Flight Attendant is an a leave of absence (LOA) and is coordinating sick leave will be skipped for the purposes of the 480 TFP. This way, FAs are not penalized for months in which they are on a medical or on the job injury (OJI) leave and coordinating with sick leave.
1.333 TFP Daily Credit on LOAs Not Using Sick Leave = FAs will receive an unpaid credit of 1.333 TFP for each day on which they are on an unpaid personal, military, extended, medical, maternity, FMLA, worker’s compensation or parental leaves of absence or on a furlough (including voluntary furlough) when they are not coordinating w/ sick leave. This credit will count towards the “480.” (This is the same application in the current contract for unpaid LOAs.)
Vacation Accrual Reduction 1/12 for Full Unpaid Bid Month: A Flight Attendant who does not have Worked TFP, vacation pay, or sick leave during a bid month will have her/his vacation entitlement reduced by 1/12. (Same application as today.)
Annual Worked TFP Impact:
|Graduated Accrual for Worked TFP|
|0 – 239 TFP||No accrual/no pay of vacation days for subsequent year.|
|240 – 479 TFP||Accrue half of the vacation days above and vacation days are unpaid.|
|480+ TFP||Full accrual and pay for vacation days.|
New Provision for those with 960+ TFP and at least 25 years seniority:
Longevity PTO: In addition to vacation accruals a Flight Attendant employed twenty five (25) years or longer who at her/his option has greater than or equal to 960 Worked TFP will qualify for an additional seven (7) days of longevity PTO. Although similar, PTO is not to be confused with vacation time. PTO is personal time off rewarded for productivity and working high time. 960 TFP equates to (not including vacation or sick leave credit) an average of 79.5 TFP monthly in addition to the six (6) TFP annual credit for recurrent training. Other required training TFP credit such as Flight Path or computer based training would apply to the formula.
Vacation and Longevity PTO shall be paid at four (4) TFP per day. The Longevity PTO will be bid with your vacation and awarded as split six (6). The maximum number of vacation/PTO periods in any month is increased from three (3) to four (4). Flight Attendants may continue to request early vacation/Longevity PTO pay.
Some Flight Attendants have asked why the vacation credit was not increased above four (4) TFP per day. This is particularly true in light of the Reserve guarantee based on five (5) TFP per day. (“Why should I get paid less on my vacation than a Reserve?”)
Here’s a little background. Our vacations are bid based on a full week (or seven days). True, one can split vacation blocks to less than seven days in “Vacation Open Time” but that is after the fact. Looking at vacation on the basis of a full week, a Flight Attendant is credited 28 TFP for seven days of vacation. In contrast, the Reserve guarantee based on a five day work week (due to 48/7 contractual legalities) is 25 TFP.
We also looked at other carriers and 4 TFP per day vacation credit (or 3.54 block-hours per day when comparing to all other carriers except Southwest) is a very competitive benefit. That is, 4 TFP per day is right there with the highest credit in the industry. The fact is our vacation accruals are also very competitive. Taking all this information under consideration, the Negotiating Committee made the determination to focus more of our bargaining in other areas related to compensation such as rigs, pay rates, 401(k) match, holidays, and other premiums.
Your Negotiating Committee spent countless hours reviewing, discussing and enhancing the provisions of Section 14. In summary, we were successful in negotiating:
- A longevity PTO provision of seven (7) days, and
- A full twelve (12) bid month look-back for the purpose of calculating the 240/480 Worked TFP thresholds so those on LOAs and coordinating sick leave are not “dinged” for doing so.
Some have asked the Negotiating Committee to “reopen” negotiations related to changes in the 480 TFP threshold (i.e. “Hard time” vs “soft time”). This is not likely to happen because the related sections have been TA’d. We can understand the confusion because several provisions have been changed after being TA’d so far. The difference is that the parties mutually agreed to reopen the TA’d sections.
Considering that making changes to minimum flying benefits was one of management’s primary objectives in these negotiations, we do not believe management will be inclined to do so this time. Your Negotiating Committee has done our best to minimize changes to the 480 TFP minimum. Just know that after months of negotiations and heavy consideration, we only agreed to the changes with the expectation that management “make up for it” in the compensation package. Consequently, Flight Attendants will need to consider the changes in Section 14 Vacations in the context of the entire TA once presented.
Thank you for your continued support! It really makes all the difference knowing that you are behind us at the table!
Your Negotiating Committee – MEC President Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Tracy, Karina Cameron-Fetters, Jake Jones and AFA Staff Negotiator Paula Mastrangelo
“Five Bases, One Voice”