Friday, June 18, 2021
Negotiations to Resume
In the Spring of 2020, with the COVID crisis beginning, APFA and the Company agreed to pause bargaining. With flying plummeting due to quarantines and a drastic drop in revenue travel, like most Union groups in the industry, we understood that was not a good time to be bargaining. Accordingly, negotiations were put on hold. Instead, APFA focused on provisions to address the immediate crisis, including early outs, leaves to mitigate furloughs and protections for flying during COVID.
APFA consulted our financial analysts and surveyed industry trends before determining that it is appropriate to go back into bargaining. Flying is picking up, and groups are heading back to the bargaining table throughout the industry. Plus, we have made a significant contribution to the airline over the last year, both keeping travel going during COVID and being a major factor in the Company receiving billions of dollars from the various payroll support programs. We have issues that we want to see addressed in bargaining.
Reset of Bargaining: A New Approach
With the pause in bargaining, it is a natural time to reset the bargaining. When we return to the bargaining table, we are adopting a different, more transparent approach to negotiations. We will be providing you a lot more information about what is happening at the bargaining table, including more detail on what the Union and Company are proposing. We will also be calling upon the Membership to help us win our priorities at the bargaining table. An informed, active Membership is our greatest strength.
Under the Railway Labor Act, airline management can drag negotiations on for years. Using a strategic approach, we will target the discussion to key areas where Flight Attendants need contractual improvements. The Negotiating Committee will receive additional resources, including a strong contract campaign to back up the bargaining.
Last week, the Negotiating Committee received training from Joe Burns, our lead negotiating attorney with decades of experience bargaining in the airline industry, and Tom Juravich, a professor of Labor Studies at the University of Massachusetts- Amherst. Tom is one of the leading experts on corporate analysis and bargaining. Much of the discussion centered on strategic bargaining and a more open style of negotiations.
Over the last year, Flight Attendants have made tremendous sacrifices for American and were instrumental in keeping our country’s transportation system moving. We continue to deal with the effects of this pandemic on the front lines with mask enforcement and a surge in passenger disruptions. Flight Attendants across the industry were critical in helping secure the payroll support programs, stabilizing the airlines during the crisis, and helping minimize furloughs.
As we return to negotiations, we plan to focus on the critical issues of concern for Flight Attendants. The Negotiating Committee is reviewing all work thus far and will be working with the APFA Board of Directors to identify the key priorities.
Please share these updates with your flying partners, and encourage them to sign up for the APFA Hotlines. We will be providing more information on how your involvement will help us achieve the contract we deserve.
During negotiations, we will be sending detailed information frequently. This is your contract, so please be sure that APFA has your updated contact information and you receive the APFA hotlines. To update your personal information with APFA and to sign up for hotlines, please utilize the following links:
Your APFA Negotiating Committee
Kelly J. Hagan
Joe Burns, Lead Negotiating Attorney