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2.12.19 – SBA Update – Vacancy Transfer Arbitration

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

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Vacancy Transfer Arbitration

Today, a Quarterly System Board Arbitration was held at APFA Headquarters to hear the Vacancy Transfer base grievances filed by LAX, MIA and DFW Base Presidents.  This case involved the company’s violation of Section 22.A of the JCBA which states:

A. Flight Attendant vacancies shall be posted at all Flight Attendant crew bases as far in advance as practicable. Such bulletins shall state the number of vacancies to be filled, the reasons why the vacancies exist, the crew base, a deadline date after which bids will not be considered (not less than ten (10) days and not more than fourteen (14) days after the date of the posting), the bid award date, the effective date of the transfer, and the lowest seniority number able to hold a line of flying in the crew base in the last known line award. Upon final determination that a Flight Attendant will be displaced, the Flight Attendant will be provided written notice of the displacement along with a priority return preference form.

In this case, the company provided all required information except they did not provide a reason why the vacancies exist.  Furthermore, they admitted not giving a reason for the vacancies as they simply “missed it”.  The union maintained there was no reason given because the vacancies did not exist, and the actions of the company created overages at these bases. Our Flight Attendants were not only harmed financially by these overages, but their quality of life was negatively impacted as well.   The overages primarily caused many Flight Attendants who normally held lines, to be placed on reserve since the flying was not available to create lines.  This caused a loss of pay premiums, loss of per diem for those not being used on reserve, restrictions for reserves picking up additional flying, a loss of flexibility, and again a loss of quality of work life when a Flight Attendant with years of seniority is assigned reserve.

During 7 hours of arguments and testimony, our Base Presidents and other witnesses took the stand to defend our Flight Attendants.  When the final decision was made, Arbitrator Gold agreed the company was in violation of the contract language, but believed the evidence indicated that the company’s error was remedied in a short period of time.  She was limited to a ruling that the only appropriate remedy was for the company to “Cease and Desist” from making such errors under similar circumstances in the future.  The company is now on notice.

This was not the remedy we had hoped for as we felt a monetary award was due.  But this was most certainly a moral win for the Union’s case against the company’s continued violations of our contract.

APFA National Vice President

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Fax: (817) 540-2077


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