Alaska Airlines management is a “go” to implement the new crew tracking system on January 30th
Alaska Airlines management held a “Go/No-Go” meeting earlier today to determine whether or not the new crew tracking system will be implemented on January 30th. Stakeholders from multiple divisions and labor groups indicated if they were “go” or “no-go” for cutover. Unfortunately, management made the decision to proceed with implementation despite AFA’s objections. This means eMaestro will be turned off at 8pm Pacific Time on January 30th for up to 78 hours in order to be replaced by Jeppesen Crew Exchange (JCE).
AFA recommended “no-go”
Master Executive Council (MEC) Scheduling Chairperson Jake Jones recommended “no-go” on behalf of AFA:
AFA does not support the implementation of a product that does not meet our current user functionality or better and is not contractually compliant with our 2014 agreement. While we appreciate the dedication and hard work of Alaska management and Jeppesen, we represent the contractual compliance of our collective bargaining agreement for nearly 4000 flight attendants. We still have a lot of work ahead to meet the minimum requirements AFA needs in order to support implementing the product.
Inflight executive management recommended “go” despite concerns within the division
Director of Inflight Crew Scheduling Kieran Whitney recommended “no-go” based on concerns the system has not received enough testing to ensure acceptable functionality—particularly with regard to Open Time trading. The manager of Inflight Crew Pay also expressed concern, citing that there are 25 identified bugs and no additional automation with the new payroll system; however, ultimately she recommended “go.” Despite these concerns within her own division, Vice President of Inflight Services Andy Schneider recommended “go.”
Inflight executive management’s explanation
When AFA asked Andy for an explanation, she wrote:
I truly understand the on-going concerns held by both AFA and Kieran. I based my “Go” decision on a few key pieces of information. First, Jeppesen (the company responsible for the system) has committed to us that all critical system issues will be fully addressed before January 30th. Secondly, at the beginning of this project AFA comprised a list of must-have issues and all of these have been successfully addressed. I would like to make it clear that if critical items are not corrected by the 30th or any new critical issues are identified then we will certainly reevaluate.
While any launch of this scale has some level of risk, I feel strongly that we are at greater risk every day we remain on eMaestro. I do not doubt that this transition will have its bumps and I thank you in advance for your patience. I’m confident that the new system will be a great improvement for all of our Flight Attendants. Based on everything I heard from our IT team, system engineers, Flt Ops partners and project team members, I am optimistic that we will be ready to deliver a new, mobile and modern system to our Flight Attendants on January 30th.
While it is true that all “must-have” issues brought forward by AFA have been addressed, JCE currently lacks many “extremely desirable to have” items. Despite many months of best effort by the Scheduling Committee to help debug JCE, in AFA’s opinion there was not enough time to adequately test a final version prior to the decision date. Consequently, the AFA Scheduling Committee and the MEC are gravely concerned about the JCE cutover—not only with regard to Flight Attendant perception and satisfaction but with overall system functionality as well. We all agree that eMaestro needs to be replaced, but AFA strongly believes the new system needs to be put through additional development and testing prior to live launch.
AFA recommends Flight Attendants prepare themselves for the inevitable. The next MEC membership release to be published tomorrow will address how to get ready for the January 30th cutover. We also have an update regarding the upcoming trip-trading freeze (see “Trip Trading Freeze Part 1” and “Trip Trading Freeze Part 2”) and the associated contractual grievance. In the meantime, be assured that AFA will actively monitor the cutover and is prepared to take appropriate action should any contractual obligations not be fulfilled.
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Linda Christou, Lisa Pinkston, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Tim Green, Brice McGee; MEC Scheduling Committee Chairperson Jake Jones and MEC Grievance Committee Chairperson Stephanie Adams