Representing the Flight Attendants
of American Airlines

Representing the Flight Attendants of American Airlines

9.20.16 – (LAA/LUS) – JSIC Update on FOI Delay


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APFA Special Hotline

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

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Update on Full Operational Integration (FOI) Delay – LAA/LUS

As reported in a previous Hotline, the Company informed APFA that the anticipated transition for Full Operational Integration (FOI) in the second quarter of 2017 could not be met due to significant programming issues with PBS and contractual language in the JCBA. The main issues are the bidding of speaker positions on international sequences and equipment qualifications. These issues are going to require substantial programming changes to the existing PBS.
 
At the time the Union was informed of these issues, the Joint Scheduling Implementation Committee (JSIC) began discussions with the company including the IT department on how, or if, FOI could be achieved prior to the programming changes needed for PBS supporting the current JCBA language.
 
What are the issues with the programming in PBS?
 
The first issue is the current LUS version of PBS is programmed so that speakers are assigned specific positions on the aircraft and actually have different sequence numbers than the rest of the crew. Current language in the JCBA does not assign Speakers a specific position. Today, the LAA bidding method gives Speakers the ability to bid and hold any position other than galley, including Purser. Since this is a “floating” position, the current logic of PBS needs significant rewrites to align with the contractual language of the JCBA.
 
The second issue is that PBS works on the base assumption that all Flight Attendants are qualified on all equipment at their domicile. While this is the practice at LUS, it is not currently at LAA. Without a change to the logic of PBS, a Flight Attendant could be awarded sequences on equipment for which they are not currently qualified.

PBS is an independent system and once the awards are fed into FOS and the Flight Attendant’s qualifications do not support the award, all sequences the Flight Attendant would not be legal for would have to go into open time according to the current logic.
 
With 27,000 Flight Attendants, the training issue is a huge undertaking. We have requested an update from the Training Department to give us their long-term plans.
 
What is being done to achieve FOI without making changes to the current LUS version of PBS?
 
The Implementation Schedule on page L1-5 in the JCBA determines what sections of the JCBA need to be implemented prior to FOI including the new Trip Trade System (TTS), Electronic Trade Board (ETB) and Reserve Open Time Assignment (ROTA). The JSIC and the company are identifying the needed changes to FOS to accept the current version of PBS in addition to the systems mentioned above. 
 
The programming for the systems outside of PBS is on schedule and overall we are pleased with the progress. The JSIC’s focus has always been to get these systems developed correctly the first time and properly tested prior to their release.
 
During the AWA/US merger Flight Attendants were able to transfer prior to their FOI. Why can’t we transfer prior to the New American FOI?
 
While on the surface FOI only appears to be about the bidding/scheduling systems, there is much more that goes on “behind the curtain”. There are the issues of payroll, benefits, and tracking of FAR’s just to name a few. While the merger between America West and US Airways was announced in 2005, it was not until 2007 that the combined airline was working under the same operating certificate. 
 
Transfers between east and west domiciles did not occur for active Flight Attendants until 2013. Much of the “behind the curtain” requirements had already been achieved prior to that 2013 date. This is not meant to provide an excuse, but rather to give some historical perspective.
 
Another major consideration is vacation. The differences between how LUS and LAA vacations are bid, awarded, and utilized are as different as night and day. LAA Flight Attendants can split vacation twice, whereas LUS Flight Attendants can split vacation up to nine times. If PBS is separated from FOI and Flight Attendants are able to transfer across the system, there would be differences in how vacations are paid. The vacation issue is as much related to pay as it is to scheduling flexibility. We are in the process of discussing this issue with the Company.
 
Will base transfers have to wait until the new PBS is ready to go?
 
The JCBA implementation schedule specifies transfers will happen at FOI. APFA Leadership is aware that base transfers are a priority for many of our Flight Attendants who prefer to relocate or reduce/eliminate their commute. That is one of the reasons we are working to achieve FOI as soon as possible prior to the implementation of PBS.

At the same time, we are making sure that contractual items and scheduling systems are implemented correctly. As we have seen, when systems are not developed and implemented correctly, there can be a significant negative impact to the Flight Attendants’ quality of life. We stand committed to not allowing this to happen again.
 
Over the next few weeks we will have updates on the plan for implementation, FOI, and PBS. As soon as we have that information we will relay it to the membership.
 
 
In Solidarity,
 
Alin Boswell, APFA JSIC Member
Julie Hedrick, APFA JSIC Member
Linda Haertling, APFA JSIC Member
Vicki Balistreri, APFA JSIC Member

 

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