Sunday, March 6, 2022
Negotiations Update #9
This negotiations update will cover the negotiations session with the company on February 8th-10th, 2022 as well as the work being done the last several weeks to prepare an opening proposal to the company on the remaining core sections of the agreement including the compensation, benefits and the scheduling, reserve and related sections. For an update on the negotiations status of each section of the JCBA, please visit the updated Negotiations webpage on the APFA Website.
During the negotiations session the week of February 8th, 2022, the union and the company discussed Section 25- Leaves of Absence, Section 15- Speaker, Section 16- Deadheading, and Section 30 and 31, which are the Grievance and System Board Sections.
Section 25- Leave of Absence will be tabled until later in negotiations. While we were able to clarify items and get certain improvements reported previously, we remain apart on items including FMLA provisions, the value of a bereavement day, and how long medical benefits continue during a leave of absence. This section will be revisited further along in bargaining.
Section 15- Speaker
We have resolved almost all of the issues in Speaker except for one issue which is how Speakers are placed on Reserve Availability Periods (RAPs). That requires more research and will be discussed next time. As previously reported, we cleaned up the language.
Since our last Negotiations Update, we have received questions from some speakers regarding changes to the JCBA Speaker Section.There is no effort by the APFA or company to reduce the total number of Foreign Language speakers onboard the aircraft from the current practice. If a flight is bid with two speakers today, it would continue to be bid with two speakers. If a flight is bid with three speakers today, it would continue to be bid with three speakers, and so on. With this proposal, the speaker positions would be awarded in seniority order regardless of cabin (the galley positions would continue to be exempt from fulfilling the speaker requirement, same as today).
This change honors everyone’s seniority (both speakers and non-speakers). It also adds flexibility for those wishing to drop or trade a sequence by not being locked into a particular cabin, as well as for those wishing to buddy bid. While we understand not everyone will be receptive to every change agreed upon, this change is a direct result of Flight Attendant feedback. We are committed to sharing as much information as possible with the membership as we move through negotiations, and we hope this clears up any misinformation on this proposed change.
The issue of Speaker pay will be addressed in compensation, and we will be seeking an improvement in Speaker pay.
Section 30 and 31- Grievance and System Board
During the session, we proposed a major overhaul of the grievance and system board sections of the Agreement. While many Flight Attendants may not be as familiar with these sections of the Agreement, they are among the most important provisions of the contract because these are how we enforce the Agreement. Our proposal revamps the grievance procedure to make sure the actual company decision-makers are addressing our concerns.
Section 31 is the System Board of Adjustment section which is where we are able to have an outside neutral arbitrator rule on claims of the violation of the agreement or on company discipline. We are proposing a major expansion of the dates available for arbitration. A contract is only as good as its enforcement and at a carrier this size, we need far more dates available for arbitration.
Development of Opener on Remaining Sections
As we previously reported, we are doing things differently in these negotiations by being a lot more open about the process. To that end, on the key sections of the Agreement which include Sick, Vacation, Benefits, Expenses, Compensation, and the Scheduling/Reserve and related sections, we are putting together a comprehensive opening proposal which is our list of contract demands going forward. The committee has reviewed the membership surveys and feedback, talked with APFA Department Chairs, held numerous discussions with the APFA Board of Directors, and researched issues.
The final product will be reviewed with the APFA Board of Directors this week and will be presented to the Company on March 24th, 2022. This will represent the key issues we will be fighting for over the next number of months. Once we present the list to the Company, it will be distributed to the APFA membership. This is your contract, and you need to know what we are fighting for. Please stay tuned.
New Negotiating Committee Member
We are pleased to welcome Reese Cole as an APFA National President appointee to the Negotiating Committee. Reese began her career at US Airways in 2013, and has been based in DCA, PHX, and now ORD. She began union work in 2015 working with PHA5E, a new-hire focused program to increase education and engagement in our union. In the summer of 2016, Reese began working at APFA as a Contract and Scheduling Representative.
For personal reasons, PHL- based Flight Attendant Sara Corrigan has decided to return to the line. We are very grateful for all of the hard work and time she has given to these negotiations.
Sign up for the Contract ACTION Team
One of the most important parts of contract negotiations is membership involvement and activism. We are pleased to announce that over 1,000 Flight Attendants signed up to join the Contract Action Team (CAT) during our February Base Blitz. Contract ACTION Team activists spread out in the concourses in domiciles across the system talking to Flight Attendants and signing them up to be part of our effort.
This negotiations belongs to all members, and we need the support and involvement of 25,000 Flight Attendants to secure a great contract. Sign up to be a Contract ACTION Team member and:
- Agree to keep up to date on negotiations.
- Discuss info with your flying partners.
- Encourage your flying partners to support actions to pressure the company to agree to our demands.
The more Flight Attendants involved, the stronger we will be at the bargaining table.
Join the Contract ACTION Team using this QR code:
Your APFA Negotiating Committee
Kelly J. Hagan
Joe Burns, Lead Negotiating Attorney