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The APFA Board of Directors met today in DFW to discuss the remaining step in the process to achieve a joint contract for the membership.
Prior to the start of the meeting, AA CEO Doug Parker and President Scott Kirby addressed the Board and responded to questions. During discussions, they explained management’s position as we approach arbitration next month. Parker stated there was not going to be another contract offer and that we will be proceeding to arbitration, which is consistent with the company’s position during Monday’s mediation session at the National Mediation Board. Parker reiterated that the arbitration parameters will not change as outlined in the Negotiations Protocol Agreement (NPA). Board members asked questions and provided suggestions, which Parker and Kirby agreed to take under advisement.
Parker was asked about his comments from the DFW Crew News meeting on Monday regarding the possibility of putting the T/A out for a re-vote. The Board reaffirmed that the members have spoken and the balloting process must be respected. The results of the balloting will stand.
The Board then heard from APFA members who spoke about several issues relating to the joint contract and the process to achieve it. The presentations by these members were both insightful and respectful. Among the messages was the need for unity going forward. They also expressed their concerns about communications throughout the negotiations process and the need for increased transparency. They thanked the Joint Negotiating Committee for their hard work.
The Board appreciates these members’ taking the time out of their schedules to participate in the meeting. The Board has already begun to discuss and consider the issues raised.
The Joint Negotiating Committee and APFA’s attorney in charge of the upcoming arbitration made a presentation to the Board. During the presentation and the discussion that followed, options and strategies for APFA to present their case to the arbitrators were thoroughly examined. The first arbitration date is exactly two weeks from today, on December 3rd. While the JNC and the Board recognize the arbitration process and its limitations, the Board is firm in its commitment to continue to fight for the best contract possible for the Flight Attendants.
APFA has received some questions about the Negotiations Protocol Agreement (NPA) and the Conditional Labor Agreement (CLA) relating to the validity of these documents. APFA legal counsel issued a memo to address these questions. Below are some excerpts from that memo. <Click here to review the memo in its entirety>
Is the CLA unenforceable because it was negotiated with US Airways when US Airways was not the employer of APFA-represented Flight Attendants?
“… The fact that the CLA was negotiated with US Airways management before the merger was consummated and therefore was not an agreement between APFA and the employer with which it had a bargaining relationship is of no legal significance. The CLA was only to come into effect if US Airways was successful in achieving a merger with American Airlines and US Airways management – who negotiated the CLA – became the management team at the merged carrier…” <read more>
Did the CLA require Membership ratification?
“… It is our opinion that APFA also acted properly in not sending the CLA out for ratification. We reach this conclusion for two reasons. First, the CLA was negotiated under unique and extremely time-sensitive circumstances. American was in bankruptcy, and the Board determined that the best interests of the Flight Attendants would be served by a merger with US Airways inside of bankruptcy. US Airways would not pursue the merger unless it quickly forged with APFA (and APA and TWU) a path to labor cost certainty and a mechanism to ensure labor peace. Importantly, the CLA was to govern only during a bridge period beginning with the approval of the Plan of Reorganization and ending with the achievement of a new collective bargaining agreement…” <read more>
Did the NPA require Membership ratification?
“… The NPA did not require membership ratification for the same reasons that the negotiating procedures in the CLA did not require ratification. The NPA was nothing more than a procedural agreement implementing the bargaining structure created in the CLA. It was the kind of agreement APFA leadership typically makes in connection with negotiations. It did not alter any terms and conditions of employment, but based on the CLA, described how those terms and conditions of employment would be negotiated. And by its terms, any tentative agreement reached in the negotiation process under the NPA was subject to membership ratification. Moreover, the NPA made it clear – as did the materials widely distributed to the membership during the TA ratification process – that failure to ratify would result in interest arbitration. Thus, when the membership voted on the TA they were likewise opting for the next step of the negotiating process – interest arbitration…” <read more>
Will the Arbitrators’ Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement award be binding and valid?
“Yes. The arbitration process was created in the CLA and implemented in the NPA. Because both of those documents are binding and valid, the award that results from the interest arbitration will be binding and valid…” <read more>
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