Horizon Negotiations Update
AFA and management began negotiations this week, and we had a fairly productive session. AFA’s committee members are MEC President Ed Hawes; Flight Attendants Joelle Fuhrman and Tanya Phillips; and our AFA professional negotiator and attorney, Kimberley Chaput. Management’s team consisted of Kieran Whitney, Managing Director, Inflight; Michelle Abidoye, Managing Director, People and Labor Relations; DeeDee Caldwell, Director, Inflight; Taylor Ball, attorney; Melissa Pierce, Employee Relations; and Brittany Audette, financial analyst.
AFA opened the talks with a reminder that the Flight Attendants made (and are still making) significant sacrifices in order to help Horizon secure jet flying, and that it’s our time to reap the benefits. We helped management get where they are now and, after some hardships that had a lot of impact on our work group (pilot shortage, flying going to Skywest, AIMS issues and now PAE not opening as scheduled), we are ready to negotiate a much improved contract.
You can view our opener by clicking here. (AFA Opener 1-22-19.pdf) Our opener is based on the results of the survey you took last fall and the input of your elected Local Executive Presidents, Heather Coleman and Kirk Hansen. In many areas we did not list specifics, just that we wanted improvements. That was intentional. We know that airline negotiations can drag on for months and sometimes years. We wanted to be sure that, at the time we actually discussed a particular section, our information and proposals fit with the current situation.
You can view management’s opener by clicking here. (Horizon Air Opener Proposals to the Association of Flight Attendants FINAL.pdf) Theirs is much shorter than ours which is not surprising since the last contract opener under Dave Campbell provided work rule changes that favor managements position of continued productivity increases.
We were able to tentatively agree to the articles that neither side opened on:
- Seniority (Article 13)
- Furlough and Recall (Article 15)
- Hostage Benefits (Article 18)
No changes were made to these sections, so the current provisions will be incorporated into a new contract upon ratification.
In addition, we discussed but did not reach tentative agreement on the following articles:
- Duty-Time Expenses (Article 4). The Company proposed a four-cent increase in per diem in return for eliminating crew meals. They also proposed an option for a Flight Attendant to decline parking in exchange for a $36 per month payment (based on the average cost of parking in the five domiciles). AFA will respond to this proposal at the next session.
- Physical Examinations (Article 10). We are very close to agreement on this Article. Currently, when the company doctor determines that a Flight Attendant is not fit for duty, that’s the end of the road—other than filing a grievance and taking it to arbitration. We have proposed to adopt the system used by AFA Alaska Airlines Flight Attendants and their management. When the company doctor makes a decision, the Flight Attendant can submit a report by a doctor of her/his choosing. If the two doctors disagree, they will appoint a third doctor, whose determination is final. This basically streamlines what would happen if we went through an arbitration process so that the Flight Attendant can get a much faster result. We should reach tentative agreement at the next session.
- Domiciles (Article 16). AFA proposed a provision for filling temporary vacancies (1-3 bid periods) at domiciles (this is sometimes called a temporary duty assignment). The pilots were able to do this during the closing of ANC, but since we had no language, we had to deadhead flight attendants to and from ANC. Under our proposal, Flight Attendants would bid for and be awarded temporary duty at another domicile according to their seniority. They would bid a line at the base where the temporary duty exists and upon bid award stay in base for the duration of the bid. They would receive per diem or similar stipend during their stay, be provided a hotel for the month, and be provided positive space travel at the start and end of the bid period, as well as one trip home during the bid. Management was amenable to the concept, and we expect to reach tentative agreement at the next session.
- Moving Expenses (Article 17): The parties agreed to change the mileage rate from a flat 22.5 cents per mile to the greater of 22.5 cents per mile or the IRS rate for moves. Additionally, AFA proposed eliminating the difference between a move of 350+ miles and those under 350 miles. Management has tabled the proposal until we start working on economic issues.
- Association Activities (Article 21): We discussed AFA’s proposal for a Company paid flight pay loss bank of 21 hours per month (the average credit of a 4-day trip) to compensate AFA representatives for trips dropped to perform union activities. We will discuss this more in depth at the next session.
- Association Security (Article 22): AFA proposed language to help flight attendants who fall behind in their dues (usually while on a leave of absence) by allowing arrearages to be payroll deducted. Management will respond at our next session.
Our next session will be February 6-8 in Seattle. We are committed to updating you after each session. Make sure we have your email address so that you can receive our emails. Updates will also be posted on the AFA horizon website, https://afahorizon.org/ and on our official AFA Horizon Facebook page, HZN AFA. “Like” our page to see posts in your newsfeed.
Please wear your AFA pin to show support for your contract and your Negotiating Committee. Remember, we’re stronger together and better together!