A message from your PBS Committee
Let’s face it: Staffing last December turned into an absolute mess. Consequently, the AFA Master Executive Council (MEC) and Alaska Airlines management have had multiple conversations over the past several months about how to improve the experience this December.
We are pleased to announce that management took to heart the advice of the MEC and the AFA Scheduling Committee, and the parties have agreed to the following between December 15th and December 25th (inclusive of the 15th and the 25th):
- No junior assignment (JA) off of any trips originating between December 15th and December 25th; and
- Inflight management employees holding an FAA Flight Attendant certificate may perform Flight Attendant duties and be part of the minimum crew in order to avoid invoking JA provisions (temporary change to CBA §3.D [Scope of Agreement: Scope]).
>>> You may view the “December 2016 No Junior Assignment Pledge Memorandum of Understanding” by clicking here. <<<
This agreement may be extended through the end of the year by mutual consent of AFA and management if all goes well.
If you haven’t seen the “2016 Holiday Staffing Message from Crew Scheduling” video, check it out here: http://bit.ly/2016CrewSchedulingHolidayPlan.
The MEC is disappointed that management failed to recognize AFA leadership’s efforts to reach the “No JA pledge,” but we are pleased to see the Scheduling Committee’s contributions mentioned in the communication. We thank management for being willing to take on additional risk in order to avoid JA around the holidays.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact one of your local AFA officers or Scheduling Committee members. Wishing you a much less stressful holiday season than last year!
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Yvette Satterlee, Lisa Pinkston, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Tim Green and Brice McGee; and MEC Scheduling Committee Chairperson Jake Jones
The AFA Alaska Master Executive Council (MEC) has received numerous requests from Membership for us to respond to the latest communications from management regarding pairing construction and schedules (April 27 “Division Communication: Staffing & Scheduling Info” and May 7 “Division Communication: June Schedule Summary”). The MEC completely understands how upsetting these communications are to Flight Attendants. Your AFA Alaska officers and committee members have also been extremely frustrated.
Management has produced a lot of statistics in the past month and a half trying to convince you that staffing levels and the pairings really aren’t that bad. Management has even made (not so?) veiled suggestions in various forums that staffing would be okay if sick leave utilization would just go down. AFA could waste a lot of words picking apart the numbers and critiquing management’s approach, but really…what’s the point?
The MEC is just as done with the charts and graphs as you are, and we’re tired of Flight Attendants being blamed for using their earned sick leave, which is a negotiated benefit. It’s as simple as this: Summer staffing is a mess and the pairings really have been that bad. ‘Nuff said, right?!
For those of you who want more detail, here is the “straight scoop” from AFA’s perspective:
- Management grossly overestimated the impact of the new contract on staffing requirements during the budget-planning season last year.
Based on staffing projections made at that time, several classes planned for 2016 were put on hold. Consequently, management hired many less Flight Attendants than originally planned, which caused a domino effect. In constructing a staffing model for the upcoming budget year, it probably would have been more prudent for management to use a rolling average using several years of data rather than less than a full year of experience under a new contract.
- After many updates to eMaestro, Open Time programming was finally corrected early this year to the negotiated OT Trial.
During this past fall and early winter, Open Time was mis-programmed with more liberal trading rules than negotiated, which led to a false sense of trading flexibility.
- Line averages started creeping up at the same time as Reserves numbers were lowered.
Staffing, fairly rapidly, went from personal drops being offered on most days to Premium Open Time being offered on most days and much higher Reserve utilization. Flight Attendants became increasingly reluctant to pick up, started holding out for premium, and during this time Open Time was more restrictive than in the previous months.
- During this same period, management selected pairings solutions for several months based more on lower cost and better statistics (from their perspective) than on Flight Attendant satisfaction.
To be fair, lower costs will always be a primary driver in pairing construction, but AFA strongly believes management could have been doing more to achieve both.
- In response to a grass roots letter writing campaign by Flight Attendants protesting the poor quality pairings, management wrote some communications that in AFA’s opinion were extremely “tone deaf” to our group.
Flight Attendants don’t want to be told that they are being asked to work “less than one extra day” per bid month. What does that even mean, anyway? Plus, don’t provide us with statistics based on duty periods rather than calendar days. Flight Attendants bid and trade based on calendar days, and we know when numbers based on duty periods don’t match up with our everyday experiences.
Finally, don’t throw the Negotiating Committee under the bus by making it seem like they signed off on more 4-day pairings in exchange for Minimum Pay Rules. Yes, the possibility was discussed that achieving MPRs could lead the pairing optimizer to construct more 4-day pairings. However, your Negotiating Committee knew Flight Attendants want it all and said as much to management: We desire more productive pairings (using our definition of “productive” not management’s) and a mix of pairing lengths that suits the needs of our diverse group.
So where does this leave us?
The good news is management has come to the realization that we are understaffed. Vice President of Inflight Services, Andy Schneider, recently sent out a communication and produced a video that went a long way towards taking ownership of the situation. She authorized spending a decent amount of money in order to select AFA’s one-position and three-position pairings solutions for the month of July with the hope of improving quality of life and Flight Attendant satisfaction. She also approved hiring several more classes this year.
The bad news is that adding new classes now is too little, too late—at least for this summer. The flight schedule is ramping up to maximum block hours very shortly, so any additional Flight Attendants on the rosters will not significantly lower the ever-increasing line averages or reserve utilization system-wide for several months. In fact, the line averages are not expected to start coming down in any noticeable way until fall—and this is mostly likely true for reserve utilization as well.
AFA will continue to advocate to management that constructing and selecting pairings solutions with a reasonable emphasis on Flight Attendant satisfaction is money well spent. The MEC is also open to exploring mutually agreeable creative solutions with management in order to improve the summer staffing challenges. Finally, your AFA leaders are actively following your feedback regarding the Open Time Trial.
The MEC applauds Andy’s recent efforts to turn around the summer staffing challenges, and we are hopeful she will continue the trend.
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Yvette Satterlee, Lisa Pinkston, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Sandra Morrow, Stephen Couckuyt; LEC Presidents-elect Tim Green, Brice McGee; MEC Scheduling Committee Chairperson Jake Jones and Scheduling Committee
The AFA Alaska Master Executive Council (MEC) officers, Local Executive Council (LEC) presidents, and many other LEC officers and committee chairpersons just finished attending the 44th Annual AFA Board of Directors (BOD) meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. This annual meeting is where AFA conducts the business of our union at the international level. More detailed information about the BOD will be released soon.
Special MEC Merger Meeting
In conjunction with the BOD meeting, a special MEC merger meeting was held on Wednesday, May 25th. The purpose of the special MEC meeting with AFA International President Sara Nelson, the International officers and certain members of AFA staff was to discuss the proposed merger of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America in accordance with Section X [Merger Policy…] of the AFA International Policy Manual. In addition to the MEC officers (including Council 18 Los Angeles and Council 15 San Diego presidents-elect), Merger Representatives Sandra Morrow and Marie Maxwell as well as many local officers participated in the discussions. The MEC and AFA International are in the process of coordinating a communication to membership regarding the merger.
Dissatisfaction with the pairings discussed during the May MEC Meeting at the BOD
As was indicated in the Open Time Trial Update May 2016, the MEC has received a lot of feedback recently regarding dissatisfaction with the pairings as well as with several of management’s communications regarding the pairings. This topic was thoroughly discussed at our MEC meeting that was held this past Saturday in conjunction with the BOD. The MEC is diligently working on a communication to you on that subject, so continue to stay tuned!
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Yvette Satterlee, Lisa Pinkston, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Sandra Morrow, Stephen Couckuyt and LEC Presidents-elect Brice McGee and Tim Green
AFA Alaska has compiled the following information for Premium Open Time trading, Open Time trading, Minimum Pay Rules (MPRs) during month end overlap, and Sit Pay/Stranded Pay.
Premium Open Time trading
Effective February 1st, Crew Scheduling now manually processes trades within legalities for trips posted as Premium Open Time. See Inflight Bulletin # 2016-0032 Premium Open Time Trade Update for additional information. The current programming in eMaestro does not allow for automated trading of/with Premium Open Time trips (indicated by dollar signs: $, $$ or $$$).
Management has agreed that Crew Scheduling will manually process the trading of Premium Open Time sequences for Flight Attendants until an updated program or successor system is able to process the “trade” function automatically. Please be aware that the posted premium will not follow the trade unless it is a straight pick up from Open Time by the Flight Attendant. The “pick up” function is fully operational and does not require that you contact Crew Scheduling.
The trade will be day for day or greater on the same date(s) unless the day of departure is open, which is very unlikely if the Company is offering premium pay.
Open Time Trading Helpful Hints
What code allows me to trade my 2-day trip on the 15th for a turn in OT on the 15th?
If you have a 2-day trip on the 15th, and the trip in OT is coded TO/DD/CP, then you can trade down out of your 2-day and into the turn within contractual and/or FAR legalities.
***AFA and Alaska Airlines management have heard your feedback that there are too many codes, which causes confusion. In the replacement to eMaestro/Maestro, Jeppesen Crew Tracking Enterprise (JCTE), AFA and management have requested to reduce the number of codes–ideally we would like to combine the TO/DD/CP codes into one code (to be determined).***
What if a 2-day trip in OT is a TX (or not coded)?
If a trip in OT is coded TX, then you can trade for trip length of the same or greater number of days and covering the same dates as the trip you are trading off of your line, within contractual and/or FAR legalities.
Month End Overlaps and Minimum Pay Rules (MPRs)
“Whole sequence” minimum pay rules (MPRs)—the Extended Overnight Rule (EOR), Multiday Sequence Minimum (MSM) and Average Duty Period Guarantee (ADPG) were being paid at the end of the sequence in the subsequent month when there was month end overlap. However, management has agreed in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that a Flight Attendant may file an Activity Claim Form in order to have a “whole sequence” MPR (e.g. EOR, MSM, ADPG) paid in the preceding month during month-end overlap. Otherwise by default the “whole sequence” MPR is paid in the subsequent month—no paperwork is necessary.
Sit Pay and Stranded Pay
If there is scheduled Sit Pay (sit over 2 hours) and the flight subsequently is delayed over 2 hours more than the scheduled sit (total ground time 4 hours and 2 minutes or more), is the F/A able to retain 1.0 TFP for Sit Pay and then file for 1.0 TFP Stranded Pay?
No. You are eligible for Stranded Pay only when it exceeds Sit Pay. Each occurrence of Stranded Pay is reduced by 1.0 TFP for Sit Pay already paid in that duty period (CBA §21.N.2.c. [Stranded Pay]). In order for Stranded Pay to exceed Sit Pay, the delay causing the stranding must be greater than 6 hours—or in other words, the flight must block out more than 6 hours past scheduled departure time. Total ground time must exceed the scheduled sit time (over 2 hours) plus the subsequent delay/stranding (over 6 hours).
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If you have any additional questions, contact one of your Local Executive Council officers (ANC 30 | SEA 19 | PDX 39 | LAX 18 | SAN 15) or local Scheduling Committee chairperson(s) or committee members.
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