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Saturday, December 12, 2015
- Flight Attendant Availability Relief for January 2016 – LUS
- Availability Relief – Questions & Answers – LUS
- Availability Relief – Procedures – LUS
Flight Attendant Availability Relief for January 2016 – LUS
At the request of the APFA, the Company and Union Leadership met to discuss the short-term excess number of Reserves for January 7-30 and have agreed to the following options:
Availability Relief – Questions & Answers – LUS
Q: Why is the Company offering to do this?
A: The Company has created a flying schedule in January that is lopsided in terms of a monthly flying schedule solution/allocation. The Marketing Department has new software tools that allow the department to maximize revenue by creating what is called in the industry, a “Global Flying Solution” for a Bid Month. In the old world, flying (at all airlines) was based on a weekly solution that remained constant during the weekdays and changed over the weekends. In today’s world the Company has the ability to forecast demand and plan the flying schedule to match demand, on a daily basis, over a month long schedule. That is why we see the same flight number on Monday operated by a 757 while Tuesday – Thursday the same flight number operated by a A319. The same flight number is operated by a 757 on Friday and not at all on Saturday – then back to a 319 on Sunday.
Q: Why did the Company not offer LUS Flight Attendants Voluntary Leave of Absences (VLOAs) in January?
A: APFA recommended for the Company to offer VLOAs. It seemed like a logical solution. The Company would not agree to this latest monthly VLOA recommendation from APFA Leaders. The Company was clear that we accept the three items above, or nothing. There was no further room for discussion.
Q: Is a release from duty period for Reserve Flight Attendants a violation of the Contract?
A: No, it is not a Contract violation. Section 12.K.1.b. of the 2013 Red Book Agreement states that a Reserve can be released on a daily basis from duty. The Union is insistent for any release period greater than one day at a time, that it must be done in seniority order. Therefore, any Reserve released for the entire period from January 7 through 30 will be released in seniority order.
Q: How does the “Global Solution” affect Flight Attendants?
A: The new solution options the Company is using causes traditional Flight Attendant staffing and scheduling models to be thrown “out of the window”. In order to meet the demands of the new marketing department’s solution(s) Crew Planning must staff each Domicile for the highest amount – “peak” – flying period in any given month. This then causes a higher Reserve headcount. The headcount is increased simply to meet the demand of the “peak period”.
Q: What does staffing for the “peak” period in a month mean to Flight Attendants?
A: Simply put, it means Flight Attendant staffing throughout the month is based on the highest number of Block Hours on any given day(s). In other words, it means the entire month of Lineholder and Reserve headcounts will be based on one day. In reality, it is more than one day and, as we have seen, staffing is usually based on a several consecutive days surrounding a holiday. Throw into that mix a holiday that is on or near a weekend, and the demand for that period of time in terms of Flight Attendant coverage is greater than at any other time of the month.
This means that Crew Planning staffs the entire bid month for the peak period in that month. And that peak period for January, is January 1 – 6. Thus, the Company forecasts a need for more Reserve coverage over that period and must carry that Reserve headcount number throughout the entire month.
Therefore, the staffing model carries a Reserve Headcount for January 7-30 far in excess of what is actually needed.
Q: How did the Union respond to the excessively high Reserve headcount in January?
A: The LUS Base Presidents and APFA Officers were first made aware of the Reserve headcount numbers on Wednesday, December 9th on a conference call with Company planners prior to the PBS bid opening. There was no prior notification to anyone in the Union regarding the Reserve headcount.
Based on the Company’s flying schedule, the Company would not move off the Reserve Headcount number for the January bid month. It was necessary to immediately solve the problem of the need for a high Reserve headcount from January 1-6, and a lesser need for Reserve headcount for the remainder of the January bid month.
Q: Are the above mentioned remedies the best solution for our Reserves and all Flight Attendants?
A: Quite frankly – No. This interim solution is contractually compliant, but is not the final answer to solve the problem created by the Company’s marketing strategy that impacts Flight Attendant scheduling. The final answer is to match marketing and aircraft routing software and logic to Flight Attendant Scheduling (PBS, ISAP, ETB, Daily) software and logic. Discussions are already underway between the Union and the Company, and will continue until the marketing and aircraft routing solutions are resolved.
Q: How long has the Company been using this marketing/aircraft routing software?
A: When PBS was negotiated in 2010, the new marketing/aircraft routing software was not in place or even available to the Company. It was only after the PBS launch that the Company began using the enhanced Global Solution software. When they did, the Union recognized it and began discussions with the Company to update Flight Attendant scheduling software and flexibilities to match the new world order.
It is only now the Company is willing to admit the disparity in scheduling logic and work toward a solution.
Availability Relief – Procedures – LUS
Filler Days (January 7 – January 30) – Immediately following the posting of the January PBS awards, Flight Attendants at all bases (CLT, DCA, PHL, PHX) may request additional filler days (which may drop a trip/s) for the bid month of January 2016 through the normal emails, EastCrewVacations@usairways.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests will be processed as they are received and posted within two business days of the individual request.
ISAP – UBL – Daily/Monthly Limit – Provided there is adequate staffing, Crew Scheduling may relax the Unsuccessful Bidder’s List (UBL) daily/monthly limitations to allow Flight Attendants to drop pairings they were unsuccessful in dropping during the ISAP/AIL run. Crew Scheduling will monitor the open time percentage daily and determine if it should be further relaxed. The Company will review this information daily with the APFA.
Release from Duty – Reserves in seniority order by base will be considered for an unpaid release from duty for the period including January 7 through 30 pursuant to the following terms:
- The Flight Attendant may not have ETB pairings in their line at the time of the award for the period including January 7 through January 30.
- ETB may be added for the period including January 1 – January 6 .
- If the Reserve has vacation during the release period of January 7 – 30, the vacation will be paid as normal.
- The Reserve pay the for the period including, January 1 – 6 will be the greater of a 15:00 reserve guarantee (JCBA, 3.B) or actual time flown, plus any ETB worked January 1 – 6.
- Picking up trips is not permissible during the release period.
- Required training scheduled for the month must be attended.
- Accruals for both sick and vacation will continue during the release period.
- All benefits, including medical and travel, will remain active for the duration of the release period.
The number of Reserves, by base, that may be awarded an unpaid release are as follows:
Requests must be submitted to Rick Carpenter (Rick.Carpenter@aa.com) during the 48-hour time frame following PBS awards starting at 00:01 Home Base Time (HBT) on Monday, December 21 through 23:59 Home Base Time (HBT) on Tuesday, December 22. Awards will be processed and awarded no later than 12:00 Mountain Standard Time (MST) on Wednesday, December 23. The Reserves will be able to view the release in CATCREW on option 2.
APFA Scheduling Department