Dear Flight Attendants,
Your AFA Negotiating Committee just finished up a week of mediated talks with Alaska Airlines management at the National Mediation Board (NMB) in Washington, DC. We are continuing our commitment to Mediator Victoria Gray and limiting comments to very general statements on progress at the table. (Well, we’re going to do our best anyway!) Industry economist Dan Akins once again joined the AFA Negotiating Committee as a subject matter expert to assist us in crafting our comprehensive proposals and responding to management.
The week started with Tentative Agreements (TAs) reached on the following items:
- Section 14: Vacation
- Section 16: Sick Leave/On the Job Injury
- Section 32: Attendance Policy
- OT Implementation LOA (and final affirmation of Section 12 TA: Exchange of Sequences)
- Term Sheet for settlement on outstanding issues in the above three sections.
We captured some very important protections for Flight Attendants and feel that the agreements in the above sections reflect our commitment to you to make our work lives better.
OK – we are going to slightly bend our “vow not to spill details…” The following information is really timely and goes a long way toward addressing a lot of your concerns with changes to Open Time.
We heard your concern about the drastic change in Section 12: Exchange of Sequences in regards to Open Time and most specifically to the Quartile System. There are a ton of changes in that section and with so many new interacting provisions neither party could be 100% certain that it would work as planned. Therefore, with mediator Gray’s assistance we worked with management to craft the “Open Time Implementation Letter of Agreement (LOA).” This LOA provides for the following:
- Quartile System: AFA and management can mutually agree to alter the application. AFA can cancel after six months.
- Quartile System: After 12 months, there will be an AFA membership vote on whether or not to keep the Quartile System (similar to how we voted on PBS several years back). If the result is “no,” then the system will revert to what it is today with Open Time opening at the same time for all seniorities in a domicile (but with the new trading rules).
- International Jet Bridge Trades: With at least twelve hours notification, will be approved.
- OT threshold numbers can be changed by mutual agreement. The parties spent several months resolving different interpretations of how the OT threshold number interacted with Open Time trading. The parties agreed that different OT threshold values must be tried. AFA’s interpretation of only “first day of a sequence” will count toward the threshold numbers for closing OT days will be applied. If OT liability is too great, management’s interpretation of “every day of a sequence” will apply toward the threshold will be tried. If that happens, negotiations will automatically begin on the sections specific to Open Time trading.
- Monitoring of Open Time trading satisfaction by monthly surveys conducted by AFA in partnership with management during the trial phase.
- AFA has the ability to cancel this program after a specified time and it will trigger automatic negotiations on the sections specific to Open Time trading.
- An AFA Scheduling Chairperson position will be created with full access to crew systems and Crew Scheduling to monitor a specified set of metrics and work with management to evaluate this new system—as an equal. This position will act as AFA’s liaison with the Company to resolve all issues related to scheduling.
Your Negotiating Committee feels that this agreement is revolutionary and will ensure that Flight Attendant needs are met. The provisions allow for an agile response if an unforeseen problem crops up and for a true monitoring of scheduling issues in partnership with management.
That was the good news…
Compensation: The Negotiating Committee worked very hard to considerably pare down our compensation proposal while preserving the most critical and reasonable elements. We are committed to bringing Alaska Flight Attendants the overall compensation package that they deserve. We presented our proposal to management’s team and were informed that while they appreciated our movement, we are still too far apart on money for them to seriously consider addressing what we have on the table. However, management did vow to thoughtfully consider our proposal in the coming weeks between now and the next session.
Management believes that when combined with the other improvements we have already achieved, accepting our compensation proposal is not a wise long-term business strategy. We find this extremely disappointing in the light of the fact that the past several years have seen us tempering our expectations and accepting below-industry increases to improve the Company’s financial position. Now that Alaska Airlines is well-positioned for the future and making significant profits, we expect recognition for our past sacrifices. Please send the message to management that, “Flight Attendants will be appropriately recognized for their contribution to this Company’s success by achieving the Contract they deserve!”
We meet again in mediation the week of October 28th and will be changing venues from Austin, TX, to Washington, DC.
Your AFA Negotiating Committee – MEC President Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Tracy, Karina Cameron-Fetter, Jake Jones and AFA Staff Negotiator Paula Mastrangelo
“Five Bases, One Voice”