CSKD is currently JA’ing in Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles
Crew Scheduling is currently utilizing the new Junior Assignment (JA) language in Section 9 Junior Available and Premium Open Time in order to staff flights over the next several days. AFA believes JA is currently limited to the Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles domiciles, but there are no guarantees that other domiciles will remain unaffected.
So what happened to staffing?
Going into this week management believed staffing was more than adequate. However there has been a significant spike in sick leave utilization over the past several days that exceeded staffing resources. Inflight management directed Crew Scheduling to start JA’ing in order to maintain the operation just after 10 AM Pacific Time this morning.
No “premium” (2x or greater) Premium Open Time
Despite the fact that your Negotiating Committee specifically advocated for a tiered Premium Open Time system in order to maximize flexibility for Crew Scheduling and minimize the potential for JA, management has refused to utilize Premium Open Time higher than a 1.5x premium. Why would management want to force flight attendants to fly when they are scheduled to be off duty and pay them a 2.5x premium rather than offering Premium Open Time to eager volunteers at, say, double time (2x premium or listed as $$ in eMaestro)? Or alternatively, if the Company anticipated that it was going to pay the JA premium of 2.5x, but Crew Scheduling could find an eager volunteer through Premium OT at the same premium (2.5x premium or listed as $$$ in eMaestro), wouldn’t it make sense to take the volunteer over the draftee?
We believe Inflight management has been unwilling to offer Premium Open Time any higher than the standard (1.5x premium or listed as $ in eMaestro) because they fear creating an expectation that such premiums will be routinely available around the holidays. There is a certain logic to that line of thinking, but the Master Executive Council (MEC) does not understand how avoiding setting expectations for “premium” Premium OT is better than JA’ing. The Company is going to spend more money JA’ing than if management had sweetened Premium OT to 2x premium prior to JA’ing.
A flight attendant cannot be Junior Assigned on vacation or while off duty—any JA notification must occur while on duty and prior to the conclusion of the scheduled debrief period. The list is comprised of all flight attendants on duty during the JA period in question and who are legal to accept a JA. Assignments are made off that list in reverse seniority (junior) order.
A flight attendant cannot be JA’d into any day that was traded away or dropped from her/his original schedule as long as the day(s) has not been subsequently restored prior to JA. There are several other contractual provisions in Section 9 that govern JA procedures, which are too numerous to detail here. A JA list will be posted after the fact and accessible via the World of Inflight. If you believe that you were JA’d out of order, you will have the ability to review the list yourself or you can seek assistance from AFA.
Under the new contract, Crew Scheduling may JA up to the full calendar day prior to the trip. Unfortunately, Inflight management waited until after 10am this morning to JA, which very likely resulted in artificially inflating the seniority of those who were ultimately JA’d. You see, Crew Scheduling lost the opportunity to potentially JA anybody who returned to domicile prior to 10am this morning. If JA had been initiated earlier, many more flight attendants would have been in the JA pool.
AFA believes management waited so long because they were seeking a contractual waiver from the MEC. Management asked if the MEC would allow Reserves to be assigned earlier than provided by contract, believing this would minimize the need to JA. The MEC declined the waiver, and JA began shortly thereafter.
In our opinion, Inflight management ironically made JA worse by going more senior as a result of the wait. This is extremely unfortunate considering that AFA provided the exact same feedback and recommendations to Inflight management earlier this year. Very similar circumstances occurred during the last and only other time we have JA’d under the new contractual rules.
Trading JA and Pay
Flight Attendants may trade or give away JA assignments. Until the new JA rules are programmed into the new crew management system, flight attendants will be able to post a JA trip on the eMaestro bulletin board using a workaround: Crew Scheduling must first remove the default “PP” label code. Crew Scheduling was initially unaware of the workaround earlier in the day, but going forward they have been informed of the interim procedure. For your information, the new system is called Jeppesen Crew Tracking Enterprise (JCTE) and it is scheduled to go live later in 2016.
Suggestion: use the “Comments” field to indicate the trip is a Junior Assignment at 2.5x premium. Junior Assignments are paid at 2.5x premium for all flying (excludes Minimum Pay Rules and Sit Pay). If a JA is flown on a flight attendant paid holiday (e.g. Christmas), the total premium is 3.5x for flights flown on the holiday.
Crew Scheduling must manually process the actual trading of the trip(s) in eMaestro. It is Crew Administration’s responsibility to reconcile the JA pay with the trip, but we anticipate this will all be automated in JCTE. Until implementation of JCTE, we recommend that you submit an Activity Claim Form on the World of Inflight in order to claim the JA premium.
Recommendations so far
In summary, AFA would have preferred that Inflight management had more aggressively utilized “premium” Premium OT once management had identified a staffing need prior to the date in question. If increasing premiums did not improve staffing and management deemed it necessary to JA, that decision ideally should have been made much earlier in the morning in order to sufficiently widen the pool.
* * *
There are many moving parts to the operation at the moment, so it will likely take some time to gather all the facts and for management and AFA to debrief the holiday staffing. In the meantime if you have any questions or concerns, contact one of your local Scheduling Committee members or Local Executive Council (LEC) officers (ANC 30 | SEA 19 | PDX 39 | LAX 18 | SAN 15).
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Yvette Gesch, Lisa Pinkston, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Sandra Morrow, Stephen Couckuyt; and MEC Scheduling Committee Chairperson Jake Jones