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AFA and management met January 3-5, 2024, to continue negotiations for our new contract. The AFA Committee consists of MECP Lisa Davis Warren, Heather Coleman, Lexie Massey (all current Flight Attendants) and our Staff Attorney and Negotiator, Kimberley Chaput. Management was represented by Shelly Parker, Vice President Station Ops and Inflight; William Casalins Altimar, Manager, Inflight Labor and Performance; Amber Hopkins, Director, Finance; Latrice Lee, Senior Corporate Counsel, Alaska Legal; and Molly Gabel, Partner, Labor and Employment (outside legal counsel).
During this session, the parties passed proposals on:
Article 4 (Duty-Time Expenses)
We agreed to incorporate the sideletter requiring single-occupancy day rooms, but other than that, we did not reach much common ground. Management wants to increase the minimum time to get a day room from four to six hours (but could not explain why, other that “it takes so long to get to and from the day room”); keep our per diem where it is for the duration of the new agreement; and increase the time we must wait for a shuttle at the airport from 25 to 30 minutes. AFA rejected all these proposals. We did not propose a specific number for per diem since we do not know what the overall compensation package will be, but of course we need an increase! We made proposals to allow a flight attendant to decline a dayroom or overnight hotel and receive payment; a requirement that a TDY hotel have a kitchen or kitchenette in the room; procedures to secure a hotel room if the scheduled hotel does not have a room ready; and to require transportation (or taxi/ride share) to restaurants, even if they are close by, if the walk feels unsafe.
Article 9 (Sick Leave)
AFA made a proposal to increase accruals, bring Horizon into compliance with state sick leave laws and replace our attendance policy with Alaska’s policy. Management will respond at the next session.
Article 25 (General)
Management wants to keep the Commuter Policy the same as it currently is, except for an agreement to incorporate the current sideletter for operating on other airlines. AFA proposed a new ground commuter policy for all flight attendants; W-5 boarding priority for all registered commuters; and a hotel allowance for flight attendants who live at least 50 miles from their domicile.
Management also wants to increase our tidying duties to include crossing seatbelts. We are not interested in that; we work hard already. When we got the jets, we were promised that there would be groomers at the stations where the jets flew. Management’s decision to go to an all-jet fleet means they need to find more groomers, not that we need to groom more. Enough said.
Article 26 (Safety, Health, and Security)
Management agreed to increase the frequency of Fatigue Review Board meetings and to cover flight pay loss and training for attendance at these and other safety meetings. They agreed to AFA’s proposal to add “active shooter” to the situations when a flight attendant can be removed from a trip with pay protection. We are still working on refining the language on what constitutes a “lifesaving medical emergency.” We were not able to reach agreement, so we placed this Article in a “parking lot” to come back to in the future.
Sideletter 7 (Hotel Minimum Standards)
As in Article 4, management wants a 30-minute wait for transportation. AFA rejected that and proposed a $50 payment if a flight attendant must stay in a hotel other than the primary or backup hotel.
In short, it was a productive if somewhat frustrating session. Our next one will be even more challenging; management will be making its initial proposal on the true “guts” of our contract: Article 5 (Hours of Service), Article 6 (Crew Scheduling) and Article 7 (Reserve). This is probably the fastest we have ever moved in negotiations, and we appreciate that management is not wasting time. This is where things start getting tougher. We’re ready for the challenge.
Remember that we are fighting in solidarity with our fellow flight attendants at other carriers. Flight Attendants from AFA (Alaska and United), APFA (American) and TWU (Southwest) will be picketing nationwide on February 13. We encourage everyone to come out and help—their fight is our fight!
Our next session will be February 5-7, 2024. We will update you again after those meetings.
Until that time remember that we are Stronger Together, Better Together!