*Negotiations Update – June*

Horizon Negotiations Update June 2019

AFA and management met again in Seattle on June 4-6, 2019. AFA’s committee members are MEC President Ed Hawes; Flight Attendants Joelle Jaeger and Tanya Phillips; and our professional negotiator and attorney, Kimberley Chaput. Management’s team consists of Michelle Abidoye, Managing Director, People and Labor Relations; Rachael Mattioli, Managing Director, Inflight; DeeDee Caldwell, Director, Inflight; Taylor Ball, attorney; Melissa Pierce, Employee Relations; and Brittany Audette, financial analyst.

Tentative Agreements

Training (Article 8).

First of all, thank you for your feedback on management’s proposal to pay training above guarantee and not counting it toward our line credit in PBS! They heard loud and clear that their proposal was never going to fly. Sometimes holding on to what we have is as big a victory as negotiating improvements. Moreover, management is starting to get the message that you’re behind the Negotiating Committee—which definitely increases our leverage at the bargaining table.

We also made some improvements to Training. All training (not just recurrent) and all travel days will now be worth 4.5 credit hours, and any training under one hour will be paid for a full hour. We crafted new language for computer-based training (CBT), including the recurrent home study and incorporated our grievance settlement on videos attached to FAIFs. While training is by definition not an everyday occurrence, we still know it’s important to all of us.

Reserve (Article 7)

Management had told us at the end of our May session that they would be proposing to revamp reserve rules to a system like the one in the AFA-Alaska contract. We were open to their suggestion as the AFA-Alaska reserve language contains several improvements over our existing reserve language, but we were definitely taken aback when we saw the actual proposal.

We knew going in that Alaska reserves can be on call for up to 14 hours (same as us), but unlike us, their maximum duty period does not factor in any time spent on short-call reserve. Their flying simply  begins within their reserve availability period. So, after sitting on call for 12 hours, they can be assigned a trip up to their maximum duty period, which is 10.5 hours. In contrast, under our contract, duty time + time on call cannot exceed 14 hours. So, at hour twelve we’re only good for 2 hours, and that doesn’t take the callout period into account.

Additionally, Alaska can convert their reserves, up to three times per month, to a 24-hour reserve availability period. At hour 22 of such a reserve day, Alaska reserves can be assigned a 10.5-hour duty day! Our contract limits our availability periods to 14 hours. (And keep in mind, though we have not seen a specific proposal, management also wants to get rid of our time-and-leg-based duty table!)

Why the big difference? Alaska flight attendants have never operated under pilot FARs. The flight attendant FARs allow all reserves shifts to be 24 hours, and for the flight attendant to work up to a 14-hour duty period at the end of the 24-hour on-call period. Alaska flight attendants feel that they have contractually lessened the impact of the FARs, but our current language is far more protective of the reserves. When we agreed to switch to flight attendant FARs as part of “Commit to Compete,” we specifically negotiated language that kept pilot rule that time on reserve + duty could not exceed 14 hours. We do not intend to change that.

Incidentally, management’s proposal did not include any of the offsetting enhancements that Alaska flight attendants enjoy—they want to convert us to 24-hour reserve 6 times a month; they want to keep our current number of reserve days off and monthly guarantee (which is significantly lower than Alaska’s); and they don’t want to pay us any of the premiums found in the Alaska reserve section. It’s like they proposed everything bad that Alaska has none of the good things they have. That’s a hard pass from us.

Management was upfront that their proposal was all about increasing reserve productivity. This is something we’re hearing a lot during these negotiations. Our response remains: We want to be more productive (higher credit trips, shorter sits, more days off, etc.), too, but we want to share in the financial gains created by increased productivity. So far, we’re not seeing that in any of their proposals. And this has to be a two-way street.

Sick Leave (Article 9)

Management responded to the proposal that we made at the end of the last session. In a nutshell, they did not agree to any of our issues except for eliminating the section covering how we call in sick—to match current practice. They neither agreed to nor offered any changes from the current contract with respect to:

  • Increasing sick-leave accrual
  • Improvements when a flight attendant calls in well;
  • The ability to cash out some of your sick leave on retirement;
  • Adopting the Alaska attendance policy.

This was obviously frustrating, but we’ll continue to work for improvements.

General (Article 25)

The General section is sort of a catch-all for provisions that don’t fit naturally into any other section. Consequently, our proposals ranged from aircraft tidying to crew lounges to the commuter policy.

  • Management wants to maintain current tidying rules.
  • The Company agreed to contractual guarantees of minimum standards for crew lounges. They want the lounges open to all Horizon employees (ramp, gate, flight deck, etc.). We can probably reach agreement on that point, but only if we have some dedicated flight crew areas, such as bag storage, computers and a quiet room. Management did not want to commit to this because they’re not sure how much space they want to commit to at each airport.
  • The commuter policy remains a big area of disagreement. Even though our pilots already have a commuter boarding priority (W-5), management refuses to extend it to us. We moved away from the Alaska commuter policy and are focusing on improving our own. One big advantage we have over their policy—they can use their commuter policy only for flights cancelled due to ATC, weather, etc., while we can use ours even when we can’t commute due to a lack of seats (assuming seats were open when we listed). We continue to propose protections for ground commuters, but management does not seem very interested.

Our next session will be July 16-18 in Seattle. We’ll continue working on the above articles, as well as a couple of new ones. We are getting very close to discussing the Big Three: Compensation, Hours of Service and Scheduling. Once that happens, things will move rapidly, so make sure you stay informed.

Once again, thanks for your pushback on paying training above guarantee. It worked! Now let us know how you feel about management’s reserve proposal!

Our updates will also be posted on our website, https://afahorizon.org/ and on our official Facebook page, HZN AFA. “Like” our page to see posts in your newsfeed.

Remember to wear your AFA pin! Management does notice, and they notice that you are behind us at the table. After all, we’re stronger together and better together!

WANTED: Crew Planning Liaison

HZN AFA MASTER EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

NOTICE OF COMMITTEE CHAIR OPENING

CREW PLANNING LIAISON (Scheduling)

The Master Executive Council has an immediate opening for interested AFA members who wish to make a difference in the lives of their fellow flight attendants through the MEC position of Crew Planning Liaison.

This position is responsible to promote the interests of the flight attendants in the development of monthly trip pairings, as indicated by the local scheduling committee members.  The position requires close interaction with Horizon Air AFA, inflight management and crew planning.

The primary role of the Crew Planning Liaison is to take the interests of the local scheduling committees and, within the parameters set by management, translate those interests through the pairing optimizer during the monthly pairing development.

This position requires a three (3) year commitment and;

  1. understanding of committee dynamics and experience in leading committees.
  2. Ability to work in a team environment
  3. Ability to meet monthly deadlines and produce pairing solution(s)
  4. Commitment and ability to learn a new software application (Jeppesen Crew Planning Optimization)
  5. Flexibility in working remotely and in SEA or PDX one (1) week per month.

The Crew Planning Liaison is provided:

  • Software Training (Jeppesen) as well as in-house training.
  • Flight pay loss each month for pairing development and to attend required meetings.
  • Per Diem and hotel expenses are reimbursed when incurred.
  • Laptop computer

Interested members need to submit a letter of interest via email to edhawes@afahorizon.org.  You must include in the letter of interest your understanding of a three (3) year commitment and relevant experience in working with or within committees.  Please title your email “crew planning liaison”.

Letters of interest must be received by June 20th to be considered.

Scheduling – July Pairings

July Bid 323 – Scheduling Notes 

July will be our fourth full month of mixed-pairing flying.  With it, there were a total of 1,562 trips between all bases.  Of those, 304 are all Q400 flying and 327 are all E175 flying.  That’s 59.6% of the trips are mixed, 20.9% trips are pure E175, and 19.5% are pure Q400 trips. 

Break down by base: 

  • BOI has 166 total trips 0 E175 trips 87 Q400 trips and 79 mixed 
  • GEG has 277 total trips 32 E175 trips 90 Q400 trips and 155 mixed 
  • MFR has 89 total trips 0 E175 trips 37 Q400 trips and 52 mixed 
  • PDX has 502 total trips 96 E175 trips 51 Q400 trips and 355 mixed 
  • SEA has 314 total trips 14 E175 trips 39 Q400 trips and 261 mixed (this doesn’t include PAE flying) 
  • *PAE has 214 total trips 185 E175 trips 0 Q400 trips and 29 mixed 
     

For the July bid month, the consensus was to limit PAE flying at 3,000 credit hours.  This flying will still be bid on by flight attendants in Co-Domicile SEA..  If you are needing help with bidding or trying to avoid PAE pairings in PBS, please contact the PBS Scheduling Committee members, Deb Harding-Elliott or Lexie Massey, at qxfa.joint.pbs.committee@horizonair.com  

*We still don’t have an accurate number of FAs who want their trips to start and end at Co-Domicile PAE, so your LEC16 Council will be putting a survey out to SEA based FAs.  Our ask is that we get full participation in the survey as it will greatly help keep our staffing requests accurate as well as enable us to do more within our pairing building process.

Parameters for the pairing solution: 

We have built the trips so that however long your duty hours are for the day your rest will have to match your duty or exceed it  and vice versa however long your rest is the previous night is how long your scheduled duty is the next day (so, if you work 12 hours during the day you will get at least 12 hours of scheduled rest that night and would not be scheduled for more  than 12 hours the next day).  There are only four scheduled flight legs/day, which includes any DHs (of course there can be less flight legs).

MFR, we were able to force away the late-night SEA-MFR (landing after midnight) and give it to another domicile; this should help in your bidding.  Unfortunately, we were held to tighter restrictions with the July pairings.  This means you will see 46% of the trips with 3+ hour sit times/connections. 

Because of management’s belief that reducing our sit times in PDX and SEA is going to create operational issues, management included the 70-minute sits in both bases for the July bid.

Percentage of trips/day: 

Base 1-Day 2-Day 3-Day 4-Day 5-Day
BOI 19.3 54.8 21.7 3.6 .6
GEG 40.1 41.9 15.9 1.8 .3
MFR 19.1 61.8 15.7 3.4 N/A
PDX 18.7 24.5 25.7 31.1 N/A
SEA 3.8 12.7 47.8 35.7 N/A
PAE 78.5 11.7 5.6 4.2 N/A

Credit per base: 

BOI 3067:00 8.8%
GEG 4350:58 12.5%
MFR 1687:46 4.9%
PDX 13347:04 38.5%
SEA 9248:54 26.7%
PAE 2997.28 8.6%
SEA (total) 12246.22 35.3%

Credit Time/Duty: 

BOI:     4:41 

GEG:   4:55 

MFR:   4:39 

PDX:    4:57 

SEA:    4:52 

PAE:    5:11 

I am continuing to advocate and push for improvements for us each month during pairing development. Our schedule makes a huge difference in determining our work-life balance as well as our overall pay. We are still in need of eyes and ears out on the line that will be an integral part of our Scheduling Committee.  If you are interested in being a base scheduling committee representative, please contact Kirk Hansen LECP17 (PDX and MFR) at kirkhansen@afahorizon.org or Heather Coleman LECP16 (SEA, BOI and GEG) at heathercoleman@afahorizon.org 

To our continued success, 

Horizon Air AFA Scheduling Committee

Callie von Borstel, Peter Oxentenko

April Survey Results

Your AFA ACT Chairs and Negotiating Committee put out a Flight Attendant survey in April to gauge what type of communication and media is most important to the Flight Attendants now that negotiations are well underway. The questions included which platform you preferred to receive the monthly negotiation updates, if you found the updates from the previous negotiation sessions helpful and if one-on-one informational events would help achieve a better understanding of the current state of negotiations. 

Your participation through the survey provided valuable information to the Negotiation Committee and ACT Chairs. Receiving your feedback allowed us to adjust, moving forward, how you will receive information that will ultimately affect our work/life balance. 

Based on your responses, we found that 46.75% of members taking the survey feel personal email is the preferred method of receiving the updates from the direct bargaining sessions. The other half of the members who answered the question felt all three platforms were helpful (our website, afahorizon.org, personal email and the HZN FB page).

We are aware that even though we have up to three or four crew sits each month, it is difficult for all members to have an opportunity to hear from us personally about recent happenings. We asked what other method would be beneficial for receiving the updates and most of those who answered stated a short YouTube video or webcast would be best.

From the updates provided on the three platforms, the afahorizon.org website, personal email and the HZN FB page, 91% of the 147 members that answered the question felt they were helpful and easily understood. 

Out of the 151 members who answered whether they would attend a private, informational event, 88% said they would attend. That is fantastic and the ACT Chairs, Jennifer Levcun and Sirkka Haagen, will be planning to host at least one for August and one for September. This is an opportunity for our members to have one on one discussions with the negotiation ACT Chairs.

67% of the 155 who answered, stated they felt somewhat informed of the negotiation process, 24% answered they did not feel informed at all. As we move forward in negotiations, we will be using the survey results and all media channels available to us to ensure that the information from the latest negotiation session is delivered to all Flight Attendants via multiple media channels.  As we improve our media outlets and communications even more members will be engaged and informed on the monthly negotiation status. 

Another survey question referred to wearing your AFA pin which shows support for the Negotiation Committee while at the bargaining table with management. The main reason for us to wear our AFA pin on our uniform is to show management that we support a positive change in our contract. We desire improvement to our work rules, hotel standards, pay, schedules, etc. An improvement to all the items you told us you wanted improved in our survey before negotiations started. Wearing the AFA pin is literally the easiest way to show management we are behind our three fellow Flight Attendants at the table. Management must see that we are unified and that we feel strongly about incorporating positive changes into our contract.

Finally, one of the last questions asked was for a one-word response asking what our members thought would bring positive change to our work/life balance at QX. 137 members answered and from those responses, we were able to create a word cloud (from our ever-popular Flight Path sessions). The ACT Chairs, ACTivists and Negotiation Committee are creating a bag tag with the word cloud and slogan for our members to display on their crew bags as negotiation sessions progress.

ACTivist Introductions

Hello,

Our AFA Negotiation Committee members and ACT Chairs would like to introduce the newest volunteer members of our negotiation team, ACTivists. These newest fellow members will be available to assist with answering questions and providing the latest information from the negotiation sessions. We believe in order to maintain a unified front, it’s important to have one on one conversations with our members as negotiations progress.

SEA:

-Kim Thayer

-Joey Ashton

-Kari Terrana 

PDX:

-Louise Evans 

-Lisa Devlin

-Molly McCloskey

-Jeanette Steinhauer

MFR:

-Steve Gilman

BOI:

– Pam Powell

-Lisa Morris 

The ACTivists responsibilities will include:

  • Educating all members concerning the topics that are being discussed at the negotiation table concerning our work environment with one-on-one discussions with each other.
  • Assisting with facilitating informational crew sits and educational social functions, by being a direct source.
  • Promoting economic and environmental change for our work group.
  • Assisting with the growth of our committee members and creating a unified and powerful union.

The initial training for this first committee group is July 8, 2019 in SEA. We are excited to welcome this first group of ACTivists and look forward to getting them trained and back out on the line with you. If you are interested in participating in the next training, please reach out to Jennifer Levcun at jenniferlevcun@afahorizon.org or Sirkka Haagen at sirkkahaagen@afahorizon.org.

In Unity,

 Your HZN AFA Negotiation Committee and ACT Chairs,

Ed Hawes, Tanya Phillips, Joelle Jaeger, Kimberley Chaput, Jennifer Levcun and Sirkka Haagen

AFA MEC Grievance – Mixed Pairings

AFA Master Executive Council Grievance Mixed Pairings

O6-99-02-06-19

On Tuesday, May 21, our AFA MEC grievance team along with inflight management, met with our grievance mediator, Eva Durham, National Mediation Board Mediator. In this session we discussed AFA’s MEC grievance regarding mixed pairings. The parties agreed that we do not have specific contractual language stating that inflight management cannot build mixed pairings.  AFA asserted that the contract requires management to minimize aircraft swaps (Article 6 A., 4). Additionally, AFA contended that the contract provides a PBS preference for aircraft type, which cannot always be honored with mixed pairings (currently some pairings do remain pure).

We made it clear that flight attendants do not like mixed pairings. However, management is adamant that their data does not show any increase in scheduled aircraft swaps with the introduction of mixed pairings.  Management asserts that since we started using Jeppesen (this is the software program that builds our pairings) they have set the pairing optimizer program to allow for no more than two swaps (three different aircraft) per duty period. And they claim that this parameter did not change with mixed pairings. Based on evidence provided by Flight Attendants, AFA finds that hard to believe. At this time, we need more information before we can either settle or arbitrate the grievance.

To give us a chance to further build our case, and to review management’s pairing data, we have agreed to discuss this grievance at our next mediation session in the fall. Since arbitrators are often booked six to twelve months in advance, we will also be selecting an arbitrator to hear the case shortly after mediation, if mediation settlement discussions fail this fall. This will ensure that we are able to get to arbitration more quickly. This means that we will continue to see mixed pairings for the next several months.

And finally, we will continue to fight against mixed pairings in our upcoming negotiation sessions.

We know that we are all committed to compete, but all we have seen since is nothing but a string of broken promises. Please keep us informed of your experiences with mixed pairings. As well as continuing to document and forward us screen shots of any swaps more than what you were used to seeing on your line.  This includes screen shots of how your trip looked as scheduled before you started the trip and/or operational ones after the trip commenced. Your experience, along with more data, can have a great impact in grievance mediation.

For more information about the grievance, mediation and arbitration process please refer to your CBA Article 23.

Your Grievance Committee,

Ed Hawes, Marcella Oswald, Kirk Hansen, Jennifer Levcun and Liz Montgomery

EAP FDA Sleep Aid Warning

FDA requires stronger warnings about rare but serious incidents related to sleep medications

Updated warnings for eszopiclon (Lunesta)  zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem(Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar, Intermezzo, and Zolpimist).

At the end of April 2019, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that the agency’s most prominent warning will now be required on certain prescription insomnia drugs.  The warning follows FDA’s review of 66 cases of serious injuries and/or  deaths resulting from various complex sleep behaviors after taking these medicines. These complex sleep behaviors have included  falls, burns, near-drowning, exposure to extreme cold temperatures leading to loss of limb or near death, self-injuries such as gunshot wounds, carbon monoxide poisoning, fatal motor vehicle collisions with the patient driving and suicide. The new warnings will be required for eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar, Intermezzo, and Zolpimist).

“While these incidents are rare, they are serious and it’s important that patients and health care professionals are aware of the risk. These incidents can occur after the first dose of these sleep medicines or after a longer period of treatment, and can occur in patients without any history of these behaviors and even at the lowest recommended doses,” said FDA Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D.  In addition to the warning, the agency is requiring the addition of a contraindication to not use these medicines in patients who have experienced an episode of complex sleep behaviors after taking them. The warning and contraindication are intended to make the warning more prominent and reflect the risk of serious injury and death.

Posted in: EAP

Scheduling – June Pairings

Back in April inflight management implemented mixed pairings to help drive better efficiencies, as they understood them. Since then, Kieran Whitney, our former Managing Director of Inflight, has moved back over to Alaska. The downside of this is that Kieran was the only member of inflight management who we feel understood the inner workings of Jeppesen (this is the software program we use to create the bid pairings) and how the optimization program works. With Kieran’s departure, numerous others have stepped in to take his place and make the final decisions for our pairings. We do not believe that any of these individuals have the required working experience in Jeppesen to make the best decisions for our work/life balance needs within the Jeppesen system. Due to the complexities of this programming, it requires someone extremely adept in the system, before making determinations on how to best build our pairings. Callie von Borstel, AFA Crew Planning Liaison, was required to attend Jeppesen training before she could even begin to work within the program.

Inflight management claims that they knew mixed pairings would mean other “changes to the flying experience” for each of us. They also claim that, together, the AFA scheduling committee and division leadership “have been working to minimize adverse impacts”. Given they have limited our ability to build the pairings due to cost features and other blocks they have included into the Jeppesen system, we do not agree that they have been working to minimize adverse impacts.

In April, to adjust to the change, management added additional ground time in SEA and PDX where the majority of the swaps occurred. They requested a 70-minute connection time be built into the system. We were comfortable with this “buffer” for the first month or two as flight attendants acclimated to the AC changes that might occur, got reacquainted with both AC types, and for safety. We see this as time we are not being paid. Most of us are still working harder and sitting longer. Because management has reiterated that there have been no delays due to mixed pairings, we reduced this connection time back down to 55 minutes for both PDX and SEA. Just a quick side note, before mixed pairings the connection times were set at 40 minutes in PDX and 55 minutes in SEA, consistent with pilot connection time.

Diana and Dee Dee met with the MEC on Tuesday to discuss their concerns with the June pairings, because we had reduced the connection time, they believe this will upset the June operation. We maintain that after 18 months we were finally able to build our pairings with no more than a two hour sit in PDX and SEA and ninety minutes in all other stations. We are limited by management in pairing construction by two factors, synthetic and total real cost. Synthetic is the percentage of all costs used for building pairings. Our solution stayed within all parameters and we feel improved some of the “flying experience” we have been dealing with in the last two months.

When we compared our final run in June to the final run in May, we were able to reduce DHs, overnights, duty days and minimally increased our average block time. While we continue our grievance against mixed pairings, we felt any improvement, no matter how small was important for our members.

HZN AFA ACT Negotiations – Reminder

HZN AFA ACT NEGOTIATIONS REMINDER

Hello Everyone,

This is a friendly reminder that our next SEA and PDX ACT sits are fast approaching for June. Negotiations will begin June 4th and finish June 6th. The schedule for the ACT crew sits will be:

SEA:

June 7th from 8:45am-4:45pm

June 18th from 4:45am-11:00am.

PDX:

June 17th from 9:00am-2:00pm

Please stop by as you pass through. We will have the most current information from the June direct bargaining sessions and will be taking down questions, concerns and ideas to bring back to your Negotiation Committee team members for response.

Just in time to celebrate June Pride month, AFA Pride Pins will be available as well! Stop by and pick up your AFA Pride pin, take a selfie and show your support.

Thank you and see you soon.

Jennifer Levcun 
HZN AFA SEA
ACT Chair

Grievance Representative 

Health and Safety (Fatigue Focus)