AFA Master Executive Council Grievance Mixed Pairings
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