January 4, 2013
Dear Flight Attendants,
The System Vacancy Bid Survey 2013 closed on Friday, December 21, 2012. The participation rate was approximately 31%, but with over 900 responses it will at least give you a sense of desired staffing movement in conjunction with the new San Diego Flight Attendant domicile opening this spring. Links to the survey results can be found in ‘References’ below.
Overall it appears that initial seniority in San Diego will likely run somewhat similar to seniority system-wide: that is, neither particularly junior or senior. There is interest in San Diego across the system, but there appears to be a disproportionately large number of Los Angeles-based Flight Attendants who wish to transfer to San Diego. Many Flight Attendants report being in a “wait and see” mode in terms of considering a transfer to the new base.
After reviewing the relevant contract language in Section (§) 28 Domiciles and past practice, the Master Executive Council (MEC) agrees with management that a system-wide vacancy bid is not a requirement of opening a new domicile. The Portland domicile was opened in early 1996 via the normal posting of vacancies (no system vacancy bid) under the current language inherited from Southwest in 1994. Alaska Airlines management has consistently stated a desire to not force any Flight Attendant to any base as a consequence of opening the new base. The MEC concurs this is the best possible outcome, and we appreciate management’s commitment to making this transition as beneficial as possible for Flight Attendants system-wide. We sincerely apologize for any confusion that has resulted from earlier MEC communications indicating a system-wide vacancy would be required.
AFA has several meetings scheduled with management next week in which we plan to discuss a pairing study for San Diego, the methodology for a contingency bid pursuant to the opening of a new domicile as required per 28.A.1, and a timeline for the anticipated opening on April 1, 2013. As defined in the addendum to §28 Domiciles question #1, a contingency bid “may include a specific seniority number or range. If your contingency bid is possible at the time we close bids for the new base, you will be awarded the base.” Essentially, a contingency bid guarantees that a Flight Attendant will hold a certain seniority within a new base at the time of the transfer—there are no guarantees of seniority in the future.
The MEC knows how important it is for Flight Attendants to see a sample bid packet for San Diego and we will be actively pursuing this goal next week. Many Flight Attendants have also asked for a mock bid to see who is going to bid into San Diego. Realistically this will likely not be possible because of the short time frame. The other issue is ensuring adequate participation to make the results meaningful. At the very least you have the survey results provided here, but we will inquire with management to see if a mock bid can happen.
Our understanding is that management plans to post the full number of vacancies (~150 to 200) for San Diego to see how many Flight Attendants wish to transfer. If the Company does not get the number needed, management will back fill the positions with subsequent voluntary transfers and/or new hires in a stepped opening over the next several months.
Stand by for more information after next week’s meetings!
Your MEC — Jeffrey Peterson, Terry Taylor, Yvette Gesch, Melanie Buker, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn and Sandra Morrow
“Four Bases, One Voice”
Alaska System Vacancy Bid 2013 Survey – Summary Report.pdf
Alaska System Vacancy Bid 2013 Survey – Cross Tab Report – Base Choice vs Current Base.pdf
Alaska System Vacancy Bid 2013 Survey – Cross Tab Report – SAN vs seniority.pdf