Agenda for Meeting with Management on June 2
AFA is scheduled to conduct another round of discussions with management later this week regarding further work rule improvements. This meeting is specifically focused on achieving a modified grievance procedure for the protection of Virgin America Flight Attendants. Normally the grievance process is a benefit of a collective bargaining agreement and the procedures are outlined within it. Management has agreed to discuss formulating a special grievance process outside of a contract.
Retro Lump Sum Payment and the IRS
The first pay period to include the recently negotiated pay increase is coming up this week! Both the retro lump sum payment and the new wage rate will be included in the 5/31 paycheck. As a reminder, the retro lump sum is considered regular income and will be taxed as normal wages. Keep in mind that like the times when you might work more than your average credit hours in the month, the total earnings are higher in that month. This can potentially trigger a change in the payroll tax percentage applied for that paycheck. Remember however, that when you file your taxes at the end of the year, your actual tax rate will depend on your total annual earnings, rather than the amount issued per paycheck. So, if the retro pay causes your payroll tax to increase on the May 31st payroll, any over payment of tax would be refunded when taxes are filed.
Clarification on the New Red-Eye Language
Prior to the Work Rule Improvements Letter of Agreement (LOA) that was recently negotiated by AFA, there were no tangible protections regarding red-eye tagging. Assignments were completely at the discretion of CSS and were limited only by an email promise from management regarding OGG tagging and FAR restrictions. The new LOA is more comprehensive and contains language that prohibits anyone from being tagged after completing any red-eye (not just OGG), prohibits anyone from being assigned a red-eye after working more than 2 legs prior, and requires that all available reserves be assigned prior to tagging anyone arriving from a trans-con flight.
Additional to this enforceable protection, Flight Attendants can utilize the improved Walk or Waive Policy which can be exercised once a duty day is projected to exceed 16 hours. And lastly, if anyone feels that they are unsafe to fly, the Fatigue Policy is in place and should be used without fear of repercussion.
Your Local Council Officers are available to assist you in determining the options that exist and advocating for you with management. If you become aware of any red-eye related assignments that violates the new LOA, please report the details to your Local Council Officers so that we can hold CSS accountable. The language in the LOA took steps in the right direction and we will absolutely continue to work towards improvements in our duty day and scheduling language as we begin the process of negotiating a merged agreement. You can help this process by supporting our Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) as they advocate for the entire combined work group.
Update on the New PED Policy
The PED policy is referenced in the IFM, which means that a change to the policy must go through the proper approval process with the FAA prior to being implemented. Additional complications include the fact that we are in the process of merging manuals, and subject to revision cycles (scheduled revisions to tackle large amounts of changes). AFA has clearly stated to management that the intent of the LOA was to make the policy effective immediately, however management is not able to do so without first receiving FAA approval. AFA has requested that management attempt to get the approval as quickly as possible and they have agreed to expedite the change request with the FAA. Stay tuned for further updates.
Have You Filled Out and Submitted Your Paper AFA Membership Application?
Have you filled out the AFA membership application yet? This form cannot be completed online, and must be submitted directly to an AFA representative or mailed to the AFA International Office in D.C. You can download and print one by clicking here. Completing an application ensures that you have the right to vote in officer elections and on tentative agreements.
Don’t Forget to Wear Your AFA Pin
The AFA pin is an approved uniform piece and should be worn on the left collar. If wearing both your AFA pin and anniversary pin, the anniversary pin should be placed closest to the tip of the collar.
Your AFA pin represents our combined strength and unity as we work toward achieving improvements for all of us and should always be worn with your uniform. If you don’t already have an AFA pin, you can pick one up from an AFA representative during an upcoming Village Visit. Visit the Council 35 Facebook page for recent “pin pics.”
Have your own pin pics to share? Send them to us (along with the name of everyone in the picture) at email@example.com.
Will the passport reimbursement benefit cover expedite fees or just the renewal?
Currently policy requires VX F/As to expedite their passport renewals, which results in an additional fee. Management has agreed to reimburse F/As for the renewal and expedite fees for all those teammates who were required by the company to expedite their passport reimbursement. Management is evaluating the need for expedited renewals and will adjust the requirement and reimbursement policy if expedited passport renewal is no longer required. Stay tuned for an update from management on this policy.
Are disability and Workers Comp claims eligible for the retro pay and rate increase?
UNUM (VX leave vendor) has all the info on the new rates, and they are in the process of calculating any retro pay that may be applicable for impacted teammates. If there are additional earnings due, that will be paid either via check or direct deposit (whichever the teammate has signed up for). Teammates can reach out to the VX leave team directly if they have specific questions about retro pay on their disability payments. For Workers Comp, we are still awaiting updates on how these retro payments are to be handled with Gallagher Basset (VX WC Vendor).
I have questions for Melissa and James, how can I reach them?
Please refrain from sending messages to VX email accounts and/or via Facebook messenger. Your questions will be answered faster if you send them to the Council 35 email firstname.lastname@example.org. Being available to you is important to your AFA leadership team and by following the prescribed methods of communication, your leaders can better assist with your questions, suggestions and concerns. Thank you for understanding!
I am not getting any emails from AFA Alaska Council 35. What can I do?
Please be sure to subscribe to Council 35 emails using a non-Virgin America email account. You can subscribe online at http://afanewsletters.org/subscribe/. If you encounter any problems with the online subscription page, please email us at email@example.com.
Please let us know if you have any questions or thoughts! You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Council 35 Officers – Melissa & James