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June 20, 2015
Upcoming Changes – PBS/ETB
During this time of transitioning from the previous method of bidding to a whole new technology based system, there have been some obvious growing pains. There was never any misconception that these systems would be perfect right out of the gate and there have been few missteps along the way. In an attempt at transparency on how this processes works, the following is a list of what has been discussed in regards to making “tweaks” and/or overall changes.
Keep in mind that many of these items are issues that can only be fully resolved by re-programming which is very time/labor intensive and requires detailed testing to ensure that it is working properly and that it does not cause additional problems.
The Beta Team
The Company along with the Joint Implementation Resolution Committee (JIRC) have created a team of Beta Testers who have been tasked with rigorously testing any changes. The Beta Testers are Flight Attendants and trainers who understand how the systems work and how our workforce uses these items. Their expertise will help prevent “enhancements” from being released that cause conflicts or break other features in the systems.
As we experienced on June 2, when ETB stopped functioning and had to be shut down, a lack of beta testing can lead to extensive problems. The Company is very devoted to avoiding a similar problem in the future and is now conducting DAILY conference calls to discuss any known IT issues and to ensure that they are being followed up and resolved. The JIRC along with IT and Crew Scheduling are all active on these phone calls, seeking to find solutions to the issues that are found.
Line Averages/Reserve Percentages
The Line Averages and the Reserve Percentages are directly related to each other. Considering the massive change to how a Flight Attendant bids for their schedule, there is going to be a period of adjustment and working to find a balance for all of these processes.
Your concerns, frustrations, and growing unrest over this topic, particularly in CLT, PHX and DCA where the balance of high time flyers is not adequately balancing the low time flyers and this is directly impacting the resulting awarded time. By simply looking at the line average per base does not give a full picture of what is happening nor does simply looking at the number of Reserves in each base. Sick calls are driving the higher percentage of Reserves, along with the implementation of Reserve RAP’s.
Preferential Bidding System (PBS)
1. “Hour for Hour” Re-programming – PBS is being re-programmed to allow the award to process in an “Hour for Hour” logic in regard to bidding Low time or bidding High time.
- a. The original language and intent was that PBS would award a Low Line or a High Line based on a balance of other Flight Attendants willing to fly the other. For example, for someone wanting to fly 100 hrs. (10 hrs. above the default range), PBS would allow someone to bid down to 60 hrs. (10 hrs. below the default range).
- b. What this accomplishes – This will help to more evenly distribute the trips over the entire seniority list versus allowing all the very senior people to be awarded 40 hrs. and forcing 95 hrs. on everyone outside the top 20%.
- c. If there are not enough people bidding High to balance and allow Low time, everyone will be awarded a line that falls somewhere in the default range of 70-90 hrs. This is in essence the same as the previous bidding system creating lines that all fell into an average range of roughly this amount, depending on if they were Primary or Secondary lines.
2. VAC Low – Changing the PBS Logic for VAC Low from 100% guaranteed to just a priority, as was how this was explained and how it was taught that it worked to F/A’s.
- a. The VAC Low Priority was explained as simply that: a Priority, not a guarantee.
- b. F/A’s were taught that it was not a guarantee even though that is exactly how it has been awarding.
3. 11 Days Off/VAC – PBS needs to be re-programmed to award the contractual 11 days off plus any vacation days.
- a. Flight Attendants with less than 7 days of vacation are being awarded their vacation days as a part of their 11 days off.
Electronic Trade Board (ETB)
1. Performance and Speed
- a. With every single function performed in ETB, the system is pulling information from CATCREW to ensure that it is displaying the most accurate data.
- b. It was found that the speed of ETB is greatly improved by limiting the number of times it receives updates from CATCREW; performance speed goes from approximately 12 seconds per function to less than 2 seconds.
- c. This is the primary reason for the ETB Enhancement set to be implemented on June 23, 2015.
2. Display order of User Trades/Drops/Pickup Requests
- a. Previously when a user posted any type of trip request, the user could not see their own post in the Trade Board section of the ETB and it was sorting the newest posts to the bottom of the list.
- b. With the June 23rd Enhancement, the user will be able to see their own post in the Trade Board list along with any other posted trade requests; the newest posts will be sorted to the top of the list.
3. Show All History
- a. An enhancement will now allow users to see a continuous list of their entire Trade History under the My Trades/Private Transactions section.
4. Column Sort Features
- a. Previously, when sorting the Trade Board by clicking on the name of the column, it would only sort the first page.
- b. When using the Column Name, e.g., Days, RON, Trip Credit, Pairing #, etc., to sort the listed trips into a numerical or alphabetical order using that columns information, the trips will now be sorted from the beginning of the list to the end of the list, through all the pages. This will make it easier to sort all of the trips in ascending order based on the number of days that the trip operates or to sort the listed positions in alphabetical order.
- i. For example, if you clicked on “Days” in the column header, it would sort all listed trips in ascending order for the entire list of all posts. You would see all the 1 days first, then all the 2 days, then all the 3 days then all the 4 days. If you clicked “Days” again, it would reverse the order and sort them in descending order so you would see the 4 days first, then the 3 days, then the 2 days, then the 1 days.
Your Joint Implementation Resolution Committee (JIRC)