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Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Since the announcement of the 40 Hour Scheduling and Timeline Adjustment Letters of Agreement (LOAs) that are being presented for your consideration, we have heard your concerns and understand your questions about them. We are committed to sharing as much information as possible on these LOAs and will remain transparent and accessible throughout the entire process, so that you can make an informed, personal decision when you receive your ballot in the mail.
In the meantime, I would like to address the timing and reason for this vote:
The 40 Hour Scheduling Limitation LOA
Having finally announced a committed timeline for reaching FOI in October 2018, the Company has begun the necessary programming to meet each milestone leading up to this event. Part of this programming involves the development of the JCBA ETB and TTS programs, which are completely independent of PBS and will be implemented in May 2018 at LAA bases and at FOI at LUS bases.
But before these new programs can be tested and implemented, we have to be trained on how to use them. This training, in turn, will require the creation of training manuals and web-based material several months in advance. With these projects and timelines in mind, the Company’s programmers need to know now how to prepare for two potential scenarios:
If the 40 Hour Scheduling LOA is ratified, the Company would program the ETB and TTS systems without a 40-hour floor for both PBS and non-PBS bases. However, if the LOA is not ratified, the Company would program the ETB and TTS systems with a 40-hour floor at PBS bases only.
Some Flight Attendants are asking, “Why not wait until the next round of Section 6 negotiations to consider the elimination of the 40 hour limitation in ETB and TTS?”
Once the final programming is in place for the JCBA ETB and TTS programs, there is no guarantee that the Company would re-offer—or would be willing to revisit—the proposal to remove the 40-hour limitation until we enter negotiations for a new contract under Section 6 of the Railway Labor Act. The earliest we can begin Section 6 bargaining is December 2018, and history has shown that it could take years to reach a tentative agreement on a new contract. Therefore, APFA is giving all Flight Attendants the opportunity to consider the LOA now, and to decide whether or not APFA will agree to them.
The Timeline Implementation LOA
Flight Attendants will be able to transfer to other bases system-wide beginning at FOI (October, 2018). Prior to FOI, however, you will already have been awarded your vacation for the 2018-2019 fiscal vacation year. What this means is that if you transfer to another base, say PHL to LGA or MIA to CLT, you will take your vacation with you to your new base.
Currently per Section 8 of the JCBA, LUS Flight Attendants are paid a Daily Rate for all days of vacation and are able to split vacations up to nine (9) times. LAA Flight Attendants are paid and removed for all trips that touch the vacation period and may only split their vacation up to two blocks of vacation days. If this LOA is ratified, all provisions of Section 8 will be in effect at all bases, beginning May 2018. So, even though Flight Attendants at non-PBS bases will continue to be removed from trips that touch their vacation until PBS, they would be paid the JCBA daily rates for each day of their awarded vacation, but not for the days that extend their vacation.
You are being asked whether the vacation systems should be aligned for the 2018-2019 fiscal vacation year, ahead of FOI. If the membership chooses not to align the vacation systems, they will be aligned when PBS is implemented at a later date, per the JCBA implementation letter, and all Flight Attendants will take their current splits and vacation days into the vacation bidding and pay systems of the base they transfer to, from FOI (October 2018) until PBS is implemented.
Having said all this, it is important to keep in mind that these LOAs have nothing to do with speeding up FOI or the implementation of PBS. The outcome of the vote will not change the Company’s FOI or PBS implementation timeline.
Exercising its responsibility under Article XI, Sections 1.B. and 1.F. of the APFA Constitution, the APFA Executive Committee (EC) reviewed the LOAs to see if they contained substantial changes to the JCBA. It determined that the moving up of the implementation of the JCBA vacation section and sick claim provisions for LAA Flight Attendants; the elimination of the Hard 40 from the JCBA ETB and TTS programs, and, the institution of thresholds for sick and vacation accrual as well as to maintain employment—are substantial changes requiring membership ratification.
Although the EC could have chosen to just reject the LOAs, it instead decided that you, the membership, should make the decision whether to accept or reject the Company’s proposals. Our Constitution is uniquely crafted to assure that all members have a voice, even outside of Section 6 bargaining. We remain committed to upholding this democratic, member-governed structure that protects your right to decide issues that will significantly affect your contract.
We understand that there is a lot of information to absorb. Stay tuned for more information on these LOAs in the form of additional FAQs as well as upcoming outlets for getting accurate, unbiased information during the balloting period scheduled to begin in early July.
The challenges we have faced getting to FOI are many, and there will be more ahead. But together, we will become a combined workgroup that is no longer defined by legacy prefixes.
APFA National President