Negotiations Update – September

Horizon Negotiations Update September 2019

AFA and Management met again in Seattle from September 17-19, 2019. AFA’s committee members are MEC President Ed Hawes; Flight Attendants Joelle Jaeger and Tanya Phillips; and our professional negotiator and attorney, Kimberley Chaput. MEC Vice President, Lisa Davis-Warren, also attended the session. Management’s team consists of Michelle Abidoye, Managing Director, People and Labor Relations; Rachael Mattioli, MD Inflight Services; DeeDee Caldwell, Director, Inflight Operations & Labor Relations; Jeremy Ellison, Sr Labor Relations BP; and Amber Hopkins; Director finance.

Things are Heating Up!

This week, Management made its packaged proposal on Article 5 (Hours of Service), Article 6 (Crew Scheduling) and Article 7 (Reserve). Management asks (among other things) are:

  • Create an across-the-board 12-hour maximum duty period, regardless of the start time or number of flight legs;
  • Reschedule up to 14 hours, regardless of the length of the originally scheduled duty period (right now, you can be rescheduled up to 90 minutes longer than your original day);
  • Eliminate SAP
  • Eliminate airport reserve lines; and
  • Require reserves to work 24-hour reserve shifts several days per month.

To offset these changes, management has proposed to:

  • Reduce the maximum number of flight legs in a duty period to six (five working legs);
  • Give reserves an extra day off each month;
  • Allow reserves to self-assign trips from open time (within classification and days of availability); and
  • Premium pay for trips previously picked up from open time if premium pay is later offered that day;
  • Prohibit drafted or on-call flight attendants from being extended.

There are clearly some good and some bad things in their proposal. They emphasized that it is a package—that is, we will only get the good if we take the bad. They can call it what they want; we will continue to negotiate for the items we need.

AFA offered proposals on Compensation (Article 3) and Benefits (Article 19). These were a little difficult for us since we presented them before management made its scheduling proposals. These sections are so tightly intertwined that it can be hard for either side to propose any changes / improvements without Articles 3 & 19 open together with Articles 5, 6 and 7. Our proposal included:

  • Significant pay increases
  • Boarding pay for all flights
  • Additional holidays
  • Pay for drug and alcohol testing;
  • Increased reserve guarantee;
  • Freeze on insurance premiums;
  • Maintenance of benefits; and
  • Increased 401(k) match.

During the remainder of the session, we continued our discussions and passed proposals on Sick Leave (Article 9), Uniforms (Article 12) and General (Article 25). We did not reach agreement on any of those, but only a few items remain open within each of these articles.

What Happens Next?

Now that almost all the cards are on the table, the next step is for the parties to begin passing “comprehensive proposals.” A comprehensive proposal covers all outstanding areas on the contract. We expect to receive management’s proposal at our next session. And we expect management to Do the Right Thing!

At this stage, both sides are also costing proposals. The costing process provides us with a full understanding of the monetary value of all the proposals and helps ensure that we are allocating funding in areas of our contract that provide the greatest benefit to flight attendants.  During this process we will have support from our financial analyst in the AFA International Office. While there’s not a minimum or maximum dollar amount, we do need to know the real value of any agreement reached.

YOUR Union is YOUR source

Management is stepping up its communications game. They’re starting to send out their own updates after our negotiations sessions. Read those with a grain of salt and remember the message they’re trying to get across. They want you to think that their proposals are reasonable and necessary, and their communications will be slanted to convey that message. Make AFA your source for accurate information — we will always give you the facts.

On a similar note, members of management may try to get your opinion on negotiations, or to try to discuss their proposals with you personally. Don’t fall into this trap — they will then use the comments made by individual flight attendants in an attempt to prove to our Negotiating Committee that they know what flight attendants really want — and it just so happens to be their latest proposal! If management approaches you to discuss negotiations — DO NOT ENGAGE! Politely respond, “My Negotiating Committee speaks for me.”

Management Will Be Seeing Red!

You’ll soon have a RED AFA pin to wear on your uniform. What does the red pin mean? The MEC decided to turn our official AFA pin red to let management know that we’re turning up the heat! Wear your red AFA pin — management has to see us all wearing the AFA pin to know that we’re united and we’re in this fight together. We’ll be handing out AFA pins in the crew rooms, if we don’t see you at a crew sit you will receive one in your mail file. Watch International President Sara Nelson explain why management will soon be seeing red! Video is specifically made for QX AFA!

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.