Horizon Negotiations Update May 2019
AFA and management met again in Seattle on May 7-9. 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 consists of Michelle Abidoye, Managing Director, People and Labor Relations; DeeDee Caldwell, Director, Inflight; Taylor Ball, attorney; Melissa Pierce, Employee Relations; and Brittany Audette, financial analyst.
The parties exchanged proposals on the following sections:
Training (Article 8)
AFA proposed that all full-day training (not just recurrent) be paid and credited at 4.5 hours; per diem for attending training in domicile, better travel pay and a company-paid hotel room if you live more than 35 miles from the training site and the training lasts more than one day.
Management agreed only to the hotel issue. And then they threw us a real curve ball: They want training to be paid above guarantee. While this sounds good at first, what it really means is that training would not count toward your credit window in PBS. Instead of giving you 4.5 credits for recurrent plus 4.0 credits any travel day toward your line value, PBS would build you a full line in addition to your training. In other words, PBS has to build you a full line on the remaining days. If you travel to recurrent, you would likely lose two days off per month, and even if you attend training in base, you would likely have one less day off. Of course, you would still have to have minimum days off.
Reserves could potentially benefit from this. Since their lines are generally built at minimum days off, they would receive at least their minimum guarantee plus training pay while attending training on one or two days that would otherwise be reserve days. For lineholders, however, this would almost certainly result in fewer days off in their recurrent month, although you would be paid at least minimum guarantee plus training pay.
Sick Leave (Article 9)
AFA opened on increasing our sick-leave accrual, improved procedures for calling in well, a provision for cashing out a portion of your sick leave bank upon retirement, and an attendance policy modeled after the one used by Alaska’s flight attendants. We really gave a lot of thought to whether we should propose a contractual attendance policy. We certainly don’t like to put discipline into the contract! But management keeps making the attendance policy worse and worse. Putting the policy into the contract would prevent unilateral changes. The policy has worked well for Alaska, and AFA believes it would work for us as well. Management will respond at the next session.
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.
- The parties agreed that flight attendants could receive a copy of their Records of Discussion upon request. This is basically a written record of any coaching or other conversations a supervisor conducts with a flight attendant. While coaching isn’t disciplinary, management can use it to show that a flight attendant was aware of a work rule or policy.
- We opened on eliminating tidying passenger areas other than during flight. Management did not want to change the current tidying language, so we proposed that flight attendants be paid 10 minutes of time for tidying on the ground. They will respond to that at our next session.
- On crew lounges, we proposed contractual guarantees of minimum standards for crew lounges. Management doesn’t think that’s necessary, since our crew lounges are already adequate.
- The commuter policy is a big area of disagreement. We proposed the Alaska policy, which covers commutes by air or by ground, and provides a boarding code for commuters on Horizon metal that gives them priority over pleasure travelers. Management chose to respond only on the boarding code. They believe it’s unnecessary because flight attendants are not having trouble getting to work. (We disagree!) They also stated that the Company installed an extra jumpseat on the E-175 at great expense so that flight attendants could use it to commute. While it’s true that flight attendants protested loudly when we learned that the company had ordered jets with only two jumpseats, it’s also true that management did not install a third one out of the goodness of their heart. They wanted that jumpseat for training purposes. Further, our pilots have a commuter boarding priority (as do Alaska’s flight attendants and pilots—on their own aircraft), and we are entitled to it as well. This is a zero-cost item that makes absolutely no sense for them to deny us.
Our next session will be June 4-6 in Seattle. We’ll continue working on the above articles. Additionally, management plans to make a proposal for a new reserve system modeled after the one in use at Alaska. We know reserves need improvements so we hope this will be a good start.
Please let AFA know your thoughts on all these issues. It helps immeasurably at the table when we can tell management that we’ve heard from you. They know that ultimately all of us get to vote on any new contract!
Our updates will also be posted on our website, https://www.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!
The ACT Committee will be doing crew sits in PDX and SEA.
Sirkka is sitting in PDX- May 13, from 6:30-3:30pm.
Jenn will be sitting in SEA- May 14th and 15th, afternoon and evening.