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10.04.23 – Negotiations Update #35- Sections 30 and 31

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Negotiations Update #35

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

An effective grievance and arbitration process is at the heart of our contract. It’s how we enforce our hard-won contract provisions and make sure any discipline issued is fair and for just cause. That’s why fighting for a better grievance and arbitration system has been one of our key priorities in this round of bargaining.

Over the last two years, both at the bargaining table and through the grievance process, APFA has had a running battle with the company over the grievance and arbitration procedure at American Airlines. Simply put, the process is not working and must change.

After consultation with your elected Base Presidents and National Vice President Larry Salas, we identified several problems with the existing system. While the old system of problem solving may have worked years ago, under the centralized decision-making model at American Airlines, many decisions involving contract language or even terminations were not being resolved. Too few contract issues were resolved at the local level.

Additionally, the arbitration system is not functioning the way it should. The current process of having an expensive, flashy presidential arbitration every few years simply does not work. The current system allows the company to delay too much and way too few arbitrations are taking place. The Vice President’s office has addressed this by hiring in-house attorneys and pressing issues, but over the last decades we have had fewer arbitrations than carriers a fraction of our size.

If something is not working, it must either be fixed or replaced.

Away from the bargaining table, APFA and the Company had a major dispute over the scheduling of quarterly system boards, including the company even filing a grievance against the union.

We have had major disputes over the scheduling of arbitrations but also, we want settlements which resolve issues for all Flight Attendants, not just pay off the individuals involved while the contract dispute remains unresolved. We have recently seen some headway in getting binding settlements, but it is clear we need new, stronger contract language.

We are pleased to announce that we have reached tentative agreements on Section 30 and Section 31, which retain the parts of the existing procedure which work and replace those that do not.

In the grievance system we have retained the problem-solving aspects of the local level dispute resolution process, but adapted them to the hard-nosed reality of the current American Airlines. Under the new system, rather than jointly training union reps with management on the grievance process, APFA will train our union reps on how to effectively police the contract and defend Flight Attendants. Joint management/ union training is not very common in the labor movement.

While certain issues can still be resolved at the local level, we have added a new category of contract disputes which will get expedited treatment for either central resolution or fast track to the arbitration procedure. Any member, group of members, or Base President would be able to file a grievance to defend the contract, which will make for more effective policing of the agreement. Our contract is only as good as our enforcement. 

We also have addressed the system of arbitration in Section 31, System Board of Adjustment. Again, this fight has taken place both at the bargaining table and through the Vice President’s office. APFA has hired internal attorneys to be able to conduct more arbitrations. We have revised our internal process to ensure contractual settlements are resolving the underlying issues and not just paying the Flight Attendants involved while allowing the company to keep violating the contract.

We have changed the contract language in Section 31 to ensure cases are proceeding to the system board promptly. While we will retain much of the existing procedure, we have put in place a procedure to make sure cases are scheduled in a timely fashion.

We know that most people may not look at these two sections until you need to, but in reality, defending our contract and the rights of our members is at the core of what we do as a union. We must have an effective procedure so we can hold management’s feet to the fire and defend our contract. 

Click here to learn more about the System Board of Adjustment


Continue to wear your red WAR pin, red lanyard, and bag tags until we achieve the tentative agreement we’ve earned.

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

Larry Salas
National Vice President

[email protected]

APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

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Phone: (817) 540-0108

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APFA Events

Virtual Quarterly Membership Meeting – July 11

July 11 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Events

Virtual Quarterly Membership Meeting – July 11

July 11 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Events

Virtual Quarterly Membership Meeting – July 11

July 11 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
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