Sunday, April 5, 2020
May PBS Bidding
Many of you are considering whether or not to take one of the various leave options available, and we have received numerous questions regarding May PBS monthly bidding and how it will look with the reduction in flying announced by the Company. We wanted to share what we know at this point with you to help you make an informed decision about which of the many options available might work best for you.
It is no secret that there will be a significant reduction in flying compared with the amount of flying just a couple of months ago. What we do know is that there will only be approximately 25% of the flying hours compared with the number of flying hours this time last year.
What does that mean for PBS?
PBS, at its core, is a mathematical equation. PBS uses the number of flying hours, the number of Flight Attendant positions available and the number of Flight Attendants who are available to fly. PBS uses these components to create legal lines. As designed, contractually PBS must ultimately come up with a line average between 75-85 hours for the base. It does not matter if there are 100 Flight Attendants in the base or 1,000 Flight Attendants in the base. PBS must come to the Contractual line average between 75-85 hours.
What is different about the month of May is that we will have more Flight Attendants than the number of available flying hours to create legal lines in PBS. The first question we receive is why can’t PBS use a lower line average? It is a good question. PBS was designed using the Contractual language. During the creation of PBS, nobody could have imagined for a second a scenario where the Company would only be flying 25% of the original planned schedule. Since the line average programming in PBS cannot be adjusted outside the programmed parameters and the number of flying hours is being significantly reduced, the only other option is to reduce the number of Flight Attendants bidding in PBS.
What does that mean?
Let’s look at an example:
Base ABC in May of 2019 had 500 Flight Attendants. It had a Reserve percentage of 20%* for that month. For the month of May 2020, there is only enough time, due to the reduction in flying, to build legal lines for 100 Lineholders but there are 400 available Lineholders (100 Lineholders took some form of a leave of absence) for that flying. *Please note: The Company has indicated that the percentage of Reserves may be higher than that of the previous year due to a much higher than usual volume of sick calls.
|Base ABC||May 2019||May 2020|
|Total # of F/A’s||500||400|
|# of F/a’s w/ legal line||400||100|
|# of RSV’s based on 20%*||100||20|
What do these numbers mean?
In Base ABC, for the month of May 2020, there would be 100 Lineholders bidding in PBS for the available hours, and 20 Reserves bidding for days off. The other 300 Lineholder Flight Attendants would not be bidding in PBS, and essentially would have a zero line. This would allow PBS to achieve a legal line average for the 100 Lineholders, as well as the applicable days off for those on Reserve.
The remaining 300 Flight Attendants would be considered ‘infeasible- low lines’, and given pay and credit up to 70 hours. (An infeasible low line is when PBS cannot build a line for a Flight Attendant with at least 70 hrs.) This is a long-established past practice in PBS when there have been infeasible low lines. As with any other month when pay and credit have been added to a Flight Attendant’s line, any hours picked up in addition to those would be paid on top of any pay credit hours.
The final piece of this complex puzzle is determining which Flight Attendants will remain in the bid run, and who will be removed. Unfortunately, there is currently no means for individual Flight Attendants to opt into or out of the bid run. Essentially there are two options to determine the group of Flight Attendants who will be bidding in PBS. It will either be the most senior in the base who would be bidding, or the most junior. In the above example of base ABC, it would be either the 100 most senior available Lineholders or the 100 most junior available Lineholders. Your APFA leadership is in the process of determining the best option, recognizing that neither will satisfy everyone.
How many flight hours will be available to bid at my base?
Crew Planning is currently creating the new sequences to reflect the planned flying and determining which base will have the flying. We do not expect that there will be an equal percentage of flying across the bases at this time.
How many Flight Attendants will be available for bidding in my base?
The most accurate numbers are not yet known. APFA has requested a delay in the opening and processing of the Lineholder/Reserve Designator Tool (LRD). This is to allow those Flight Attendants who are taking one of the various leaves to be removed from the overall count to give you a more accurate view of your respective seniority in your base.
Will Reserves still have their 75-hour guarantee, and will I still be able to bid down to reserve in LRD?
Yes, the reserve guarantee will remain unchanged. As always, a Flight Attendant may bid down to Reserve and will be awarded in seniority order.
Who will determine if the most senior or most junior will be bidding in PBS?
The Company has asked the Union what they would prefer. The Union leadership will ultimately make the decision based on all the information available.
When will I know if I am a Lineholder and either bidding or not bidding for a line in PBS?
Who will be a Lineholder and bidding in PBS will be determined after LRD has been processed and the number of lines that can be built for each base. The actual number of Flight Attendants in each base is yet to be determined, and ultimately will depend on the number of available hours in each base.
If there is a 70-hour “guarantee”, should I cancel my leave that I planned on taking?
The decision to take a leave at this time is very subjective and ultimately one that only you can make. There is no guarantee that you may or may not end up with a line of flying. There are still many unknowns at the time of this writing that could impact who will be bidding in PBS and who will not. We currently do not know the number of hours of flying that each base will receive for May or the number of available Flight Attendants in your base.
Is there any indication what June or July will look like in terms of overall flying hours?
At this time there are no predictions as to the number of flying hours for June and beyond. The situation is extremely fluid and much depends on the impact of the pandemic and overall demand for travel.