Thursday, December 13, 2018
Earlier this week the company announced staggering reserve numbers for January 2019 that sent shockwaves throughout the system. Our union leaders and Flight Attendants are beyond frustrated as the company has pulled more than 35+ years seniority back onto reserve with no end in sight. The reserve situation is at crisis mode.
Section 12.A.3.of the JCBA states: “The number of Flight Attendants required to serve reserve is dependent upon the needs of the service, as determined by the company.” Our members understand this is how reserve numbers are determined. However, it is obvious that the issues currently driving reserve each month are not as a result of service. And although we have repeatedly and continually requested reserve utilization data/numbers from the company, this important piece of information has yet to be provided. Here’s what we know the reserve drivers include:
- Elimination of available days – for the LAA Flight Attendants the company maintains available days went away as a result of not being compatible with the new TTS/ETB/UBL systems. (It should be noted a Presidential Grievance was filed on this issue in April 2018, and a pre-arbitration conference was held one week prior to the release of current reserve numbers.)
- System Programming – UBL cannot recognize generic bids (3000# bids built by the company), so it doesn’t assign them to line holders who are attempting to get trips thru UBL. Instead it dumps these trips into Open Time, which then assigns them to reserves, creating a need for more reserves.
- System Glitches – for the LUS Flight Attendants the systems are not correctly recognizing the status of line holders or reserves, and often mis-assigns a line holder to reserve. In fact, the LRD tool that designates reserve or line holder status has not worked correctly yet. Once the issue is manually fixed, unfortunately the Flight Attendant’s bid line is already gone. It was dumped into open time where trips are assigned to reserve Flight Attendants, once again continuing the inflated and unnecessary need for more reserves.
These are just a few examples of how the increase in open time results from system programming and glitches, yet the trips in open time are one factor the company uses to determine the required number of reserves.
We simply will not and cannot allow our Flight Attendants’ quality of life to deteriorate as a result of inadequacies of the company’s systems. Clearly the systems are not ready for a work force of 27,000 Flight Attendants.
The company mis-represented reality when they assured us that the new systems would reduce reserve…not increase it. In fact, they stated repeatedly that reserve would be reduced to percentages such as 9% to 10% under the new contract. Unfortunately for the month of January 2019, the base reserve percentages range from a staggering 19.8% to 27.4%. Absolutely unacceptable!
We know reserve is of major concern to our members. We want you to know that we are not sitting idly by. This untenable situation cannot continue to cause turmoil in the lives of our members.
At all levels of Union leadership, we have been sounding the alarm, searching for ways to reduce and mitigate increasing reserve numbers. To be frank, there is no silver bullet and there is no simple fix.However, we have approached the company and both parties are open to looking at possible ways to resolve or mitigate some of these issues in the near future. This is a huge concern and it’s a priority!
As we go into the holiday season, all of us at APFA wish you safe and healthy flying.
Lori L. Bassani, APFA National President