Negotiations Update – March

Horizon Negotiations Update

AFA and management met again this week, for three full days in Seattle. AFA’s committee members are MEC President Ed Hawes; Flight Attendants Joelle Fuhrman and Tanya Phillips; and our 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.

We signed off on three articles this week, bringing the total so far to seven (out of 27 articles in our contract). This week’s articles are:

  • Medical Examinations (Article 10): We will now have the ability to contest the opinion of a Company doctor with respect to whether a Flight Attendant is fit for duty. Her/his own doctor can also write a report; if the doctors disagree, they jointly select a third doctor, whose opinion will be binding.
  • Association Activities (Article 21): Management agreed to provide AFA with 4 days of paid trip drops to conduct union business. This will give us more flexibility to represent you while helping our budget go farther.
  • Grievances (Article 23): We eliminated the grievance worksheet (which originally made the grievance process longer with no real benefit) and adjusted the grievance mediation language to reflect how we mediate our cases. Finally, we added a mechanism for creating a panel of arbitrators to help that process go more quickly. Grievances is one of the most important sections of our contract, since grievance and arbitration are how we protect the contract that we fight so hard for.

We also discussed the following additional articles:

Duty-Time Expenses (Article 4): The three hot items in this article are hotels, crew meals and per diem. For hotels, we continued discussions regarding hotel selection and review. Our Hotel Committee has been invaluable in helping us understand the issues and in giving us background information. Although we’re not done, it looks like we will have some language on hotel minimum standards in the contract—which is a big improvement over our current vague language.

Crew meals and per diem are somewhat tied together. The Company has proposed eliminating the vending machines in exchange for a 4-cent per hour increase in per diem. Under their proposal, Q-400 Flight Attendants would still be able to order from the supply list and E-175 Flight Attendants could eat leftover hot/fresh passenger meals (if there are any). This is clearly inadequate. Per diem is meant to cover some meal costs, of course, but we have crew meals in part because we don’t have time in our day to get off the plane, go into the terminal and buy food and be back on the plane in time for boarding. We also think 4 cents of per diem is ridiculous, and we continue to push for a greater increase.

Leaves of Absence (Article 14): Our big issue here is maintaining insurance coverage during leaves. Horizon goes further than most employers in providing insurance for the first six months of a leave. We think that’s great, but we also feel that Flight Attendants should be covered for longer and should at the very least, get insurance if they’re still using sick or vacation after the six months.

We are also looking to revamp the maternity section. Right now, we don’t have a specific parental leave provision, other than FMLA, that would cover fathers or other parents, or cover anyone in the case of adoption. We have had only very preliminary discussions so far.

Safety, Health & Security (Article 26): We worked on increasing the number of incidents for which Flight Attendants could be released from a trip, as well as extending the amount of time off following such an incident. We just briefly discussed this Article and will have more robust discussions at the next session.

Our next session will be April 16-18 in Seattle. In the meantime, our Action Contract Team (ACT) will be in PDX and SEA on March _11th PDX (0530-1700), SEA (0930-2100) and12th PDX (0430-1430) SEA (0430-1430). ACT Chairs Sirkka Haagen and Jennifer Levcun. Stop by, pick up an AFA pin and get your negotiations questions answered. Show your support for QX AFA and get your picture taken with your pin and posted on our HZN FB page.

Our updates will also be posted on our website, 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!