Path to a Joint Contract: An Update on the Process
Recently, APFA, AFA and New American management entered into a Negotiating Protocol Agreement (NPA) that governs talks for a Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) for US Airways and American Airlines Flight Attendants at the New American. The collective bargaining process governed by Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act (RLA), otherwise known as “Section 6 bargaining,” is the method of bargaining we are most familiar with in this industry. These joint negotiations do not fall under Section 6 bargaining.
The NPA governs the current bargaining process for the JCBA and contains a number of unique terms distinguishable from the RLA. First, the NPA provides for an “adopt and go” process. “Adopt and go” means that, to the extent possible, the goal of the parties will be to adopt entire contractual sections/articles. In order to facilitate the “adopt and go” process, the JNC has been meeting together in Dallas every week. During these meetings, the JNC has been poring over the existing contracts at American Airlines and at US Airways, and will continue to do so. The purpose is to identify the best provision of either contract, to adopt that provision, and go with that provision in proposing a Joint Agreement to the Company. The JNC has made significant progress in comparing and identifying which section/article will go into the proposal. The Company has agreed to utilize the adopt and go methodology but is not obligated to accept all the provisions we have adopted in our opening proposal.
Second, the NPA allows for 150 days of negotiations, providing an end time for bargaining. This five-month period gives us ample time to bargain through our differences and to reach a tentative agreement. Negotiations are scheduled to begin on April 24, 2014, and end on or about September 26, 2014.
Third, the NPA provides that if an agreement is not reached and/or ratified, a panel of arbitrators will decide the outstanding disputes.
Fourth, the arbitration must begin 90 days after the disputes are submitted to the panel and an award must be issued no later than 30 days after the first day of the hearing.
Finally, the arbitrators’ decision must provide a Joint Contract that is (1) “market based in the aggregate;” with the “market” defined as United, Continental and Delta; and, (2) greater in aggregate value than the existing AA Agreement as applied to pre-merger American Flight Attendants and greater than the US Agreement as applied to pre-merger US Airways Flight Attendants.
Although your JNC is at the forefront of the process, this is a contract for all 24,000 Flight Attendants at the new American. It should be important enough that you read the APFA Hotlines, and access information at APFA.org. We will provide updates as circumstances allow. If you are not already accessing this information, we strongly urge you to do so.
Your Joint Negotiating Committee
To access the Joint Negotiations Survey, click here.
AmericanAirlines + US Airways
“On Our Way”