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5.31.22 – Negotiations Update #14 – JCBA Sections 30 and 31

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Negotiations Update #14

Section 30 – Dispute Resolution and Grievance Procedures
Section 31 – System Board of Adjustment

One of the key subjects of bargaining over the last several months has been the broken grievance and arbitration procedures at American Airlines. The problems are clear: contract issues not getting resolved at the local level, and a grievance and arbitrator procedure that leaves important issues unresolved. Comparing our grievance procedures to other unionized airlines, only a fraction of the cases at American go to arbitration. It is time to strengthen our processes and have more control in representing and protecting our 25,000 Flight Attendants.

Although many members may not often look at them, JCBA Sections 30 and 31 are among the most crucial parts of the contract. Our union can negotiate the best contract in the industry, but if we cannot enforce the language, what’s the point? Management will continue to run roughshod over our contract.

In Section 30- Dispute Resolution and Grievance Procedures, we are addressing a couple of problems.

The APFA grievance procedure is based on the idea that the union and company share common interests. For example, rather than training our union representatives on how to build strong union grievances, the contract calls for joint training with the company- something not seen at other unionized airlines. Joint training is not the way forward- our current management is all about the financial bottom line. A management/ union “working together” approach may have worked in the past, but we must achieve autonomy to enforce our contract with vigor.

Another problem is the reality that times have changed. The grievance procedure initially focused on problem solving and resolution at the base level. With the centralization of labor relations at American, very few issues are resolved at the lower level. Important contract questions and even the imposition of termination is determined by AA corporate headquarters.

The arbitration procedures are perhaps even worse. Unlike other carriers of similar size, where dozens of arbitration dates are scheduled per year, only a handful of cases have made it to arbitration at APFA in the last decade. We all know the story: With much fanfare, a Presidential grievance is announced, only to sit for years. Our current arbitration procedure only encourages delay. 

These problems in our current process that serve to harm Flight Attendants need to change. We must reject the phrase, “this is the way we have always done things”—if it is not working, we need to fix it.

We are proposing a major overhaul of these sections:

Section 30- Dispute Resolution and Grievance Procedures: 

  • No more joint training with management.
  • Get rid of the fictional idea that management is a “neutral” facilitator.
  • Retain the base meetings to resolve items locally.
  • Establish a process to discuss grievances with actual decision-makers in DFW.
  • We need more access to documents earlier in the process, including videos, so Flight Attendants have the opportunity to defend themselves.
  • We must improve the timelines to file a grievance.


Over the last few months, we have made much progress in revamping this process, as will be detailed below and on the Negotiations page of the APFA website.

Section 31- System Board of Adjustment. 

Here, we are in for a bigger fight. Management is perfectly content with the existing system and wants to maintain the status quo. We continue to have heated discussions over the issue, and your bargaining committee is clear that we need a procedure that allows Flight Attendants a stable, equitable arbitration process.

Among the sizable changes we are seeking:

  • Union controls the scheduling of arbitrations.
  • A set number of prescheduled arbitration dates per year (we are proposing 80) that we can slot cases in to speed up the process for Flight Attendants.
  • Better access to documents necessary for the proceedings.


Based on our discussions thus far, we do not believe these issues will be resolved anytime soon but will carry over to the significant issues at the end of negotiations.

We encourage all members to familiarize themselves with the issues in these often-ignored sections now because we expect a major fight over these as we proceed with bargaining. We will be calling upon the Membership to help us win our priorities at the bargaining table.

Next Meeting/ Stay Up-to-Date

Our next scheduled meeting with the company is June 7th-9th in DFW. Please keep up-to-date with the status of our Negotiations by visiting the Negotiations Status page on the APFA website. This page will be updated after each session with management. This is your contract, so please be sure that APFA has your updated contact information and you receive the APFA hotlines.

Click here to update your information with APFA.

Click here to subscribe to the APFA Hotlines.

In Solidarity,

Your APFA Negotiating Committee

Reese Cole
Kelly J. Hagan
Julie Hedrick
Timothy Legeros
Brian Morgan
Wendy Oswald
Susan Wroble
Joe Burns, Lead Negotiating Attorney

1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

Phone: (817) 540-0108
Fax: (817) 540-2077


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