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Monday, August 15, 2016
Fellow Flight Attendants,
Prior to commencing the balloting period for the Letter of Agreement on the Hard 40, I would like to provide some background on how the agreement came about so that you can make an informed decision that will best serve your needs once FOI brings us together as a single, unified work group.
As many of you know, I campaigned strongly during the National Officer Election on a platform that was very different from that of my predecessors. Part of that platform included a commitment to address issues that I felt were lacking in the process that led to a Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement that was ultimately imposed on our membership through the arbitration process.
Leading up to, and during my run for National Office, I made no bones about expressing my opinion that the way in which the JCBA was presented and marketed to the membership was flawed.
Prior to the balloting period for the Tentative Agreement, many Flight Attendants expressed their opposition to the Hard 40 language in the JCBA that provided no means of dropping below this implied threshold.
Midway through the balloting period, the Company, realizing that enough opposition was building to potentially derail the TA, decided to present a caveat that would eliminate the Hard 40 provision so long as our membership ratified the TA with the rest of its terms intact.
This highly unorthodox maneuver by the Company further divided our membership, making it impossible to determine the collective position of a majority of our members on this issue.
That is why, when the company approached APFA about this highly charged topic, I agreed to reopen the dialogue in order to reach an ultimate agreement that could be presented to our members, so they could contemplate its effects without the added burden of it being tied to an entire contract.
Some have asked, why now, as opposed to waiting for PBS to be implemented for all flight attendants before bringing this to a vote. The plain answer is that in order to bring all flight attendants under the single, fully implemented JCBA, there are Business Requirement Documents known as BRD’s that must be in place, along with all the IT programming involved with moving toward Flight Attendant Operational Integration (FOI). Delaying a decision on Hard 40 until after FOI and full PBS implementation could lead to even more delays given the company’s past history concerning implementation timelines.
I will tell you flat out that this agreement, in a perfect world, is not reflective of the agreement that we would have liked to have brought before you.
For some, the employment, sick and vacation accrual thresholds in this agreement are restrictive. I will not argue against that position. For others, the JCBA Hard 40 requirement is, in and of itself, a restriction and the added flexibility in the LOA offsets the yearly thresholds. I will not argue against that position.
What I will say is that we fought hard to get the Company to concede to dropping the employment thresholds; however, they were not willing to move from the position that a minimum commitment to work is not an unreasonable expectation to remain employed. In the end, we were able to argue that, at the very least, there should be an exception to allow all paid hours over 40 in an inactive month to be credited toward the employment threshold.
It is now up to you to decide if this agreement gives you more than it takes away. It is up to you to decide if it is worthy of your support. If it is, then vote to support it. If it is not, then vote against it. The most important thing at the end of the day is that you, the members, get the final say. Above all, I am asking everyone to cast an informed vote reflecting their own preference.
Regardless of the outcome, I ask that you come together in solidarity and support one another. I look forward to the day when we are no longer defined by prefixes that divide us, but by our overwhelming power of numbers and a commitment to secure the gains that we all deserve.
Please continue the spirited dialogue, stay informed, seek answers to your questions, and cast your vote knowing that whatever you decide, APFA will stand by your decision and represent your collective voice.
APFA National President
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