AFA Council 14 News

INSIDE THIS ISSUE - August 2, 2016

• The Language of Three


Roadshow Report Part Three


 The Language Of Three


 Most of you will notice new and different terms throughout the Tentative Agreement. At times, it seems like a whole new language. This is because when portions of the CAL or CMI contract were brought in, all of the related language came with it. This was true with regards to the parts of the UAL contract that were added.


Each part, regardless of the contract from which it was taken, carried a history of grievances and past practice with it. Adopt and Amend.


Once a piece of one contract was adopted, the JNC was tasked to go back into the agreement and amend all subsequent language that related to it and then proceed to the next item. This was the process laid out by the NMB to move these arduous negotiations along.


While it might seem that some contractual provisions lean more to one side, it is in the dollar values of each of the three contracts that equity is found.


Another reason for the inclusion of certain provisions were that they were found to be known group preferences. The preferences were gathered in the early parts of the negotiation process from the previous survey at AFA United and the hand written contract submissions from CAL & CMI. These were also based on a Hart Research Associates Telephone Survey of the combined group in 2014. 


More F/A’s across all three carriers asked for a higher rate of pay, unlimited trades, straight reserve over a shared system, position bidding, duty rigs, legal rest, maximum duty days, insurance provisions, etc. You will see all of these items addressed in this Tentative Agreement in some form.


Were all of these items important to you? Maybe and maybe not. The point made at the roadshow was that the JNC made sure of getting the most requested items into the T.A. and as many of the other items they could mutually agree upon. United management, of course, wanted the things that cost them the least or the things that would give them the most flexibilities.


And so we have it. An agreement that looks and sounds too much like someone else’s contract, to everyone. Clearly, there are terms and applications that are new to everyone. Nobody came out of these negotiations with the contract they wanted. And everyone came out of these negotiations with some things they stated they couldn't live without.


Members of the JNC ask, “Are the missing items or the changed items something you are willing to push away an additional $16,000 per year, based on an average of 85 hours.”


Where did the $16,000 dollar figure come from? Financial analyst, Matt Barton, is quoted that more than 1/2 of the cost of each contract is captured in this one. It carries a 26% annual improvement equaling $16,000 additional dollars per Flight Attendant.


Horse Trading

Certain questions came up at the roadshows at each location. What if we turn this agreement down? Maybe we can do better.


Randy Hatfield, the CAL– MEC President, was emphatic: “We left nothing on the table. There is not another deal waiting for anyone.”


Ken Diaz, the UA-MEC President added, “There were hundreds of deals passed back and forth. This was the last one we could agree on. The corrupt administration and CEO are gone. At $1.9B, we got 3x more than they were willing to pay.”


Randy continued, “In 2005, we at Continental, were dealing with concessionary agreements. We turned down the first offer. And guess what? T.A. #2 was worse than T.A. #1. Ask yourself, is this just my issue or is this everyone’s issue? Then ask yourself if everyone is willing to walk for my issue.”


Ken: “AFA is willing to go that mile with you and will do whatever the majority wants. But it will take considerable time, money and a unified show of strength.”


The NMB is currently working through their schedule of mediated sessions for other labor groups at other airlines. By all indications, any future talks for this contract will be short and dealing with only key issues. They will not start these negotiations again from scratch.


Our professional negotiator, AFA attorney Joe Burns, explained that the talks would only deal with a few key financial issues. Non economic issues such as straight reserve, position bidding and instant trades will not likely be open for change.


Joe also explained that typically when a contract is turned down and re-negotiated, the money stays the same. It just gets rearranged.


Another consistent question was regarding retro or a signing bonus. AFA decided to put the money into the lifetime of the contract. To go back in for the concept of something similar to a signing bonus could happen but expect it to be traded for a lower hourly rate or some other economic piece.


Put another way, a simple calculation of the $60 million (for those 5 remaining issues related to the 29 day month in Part 2) and divide them by 24,000 Flight Attendants. That signing bonus would total up to be a mere $2,500 per Flight Attendant. Is that worth losing a day off for each reserve plus an added LQ position on each fleet type for the life of the contract?


Series Closure


Additions to this series were planned. We could have gone into details of topics such as Medical, Reserve, Pensions/401k, the 787/777 swap, etc. but it is clear, most of you have a good handle on how to make those issues work for you and your families with or without this T.A.


On the horizon are many areas of discussion. Barring any unforseen economic or industry failures, we can expect:

  • Numerous aircraft deliveries (14) 777-300's, (19) 787's, (35) A350-1000's, as well as additional 737's and A319's.
  • UAL's hiring plans of roughly 2,000 Flight Attendants a year through 2019 to support this.
  • Growth status of certain hubs vis a vis the destination of both the type of aircraft and the resulting hiring trends.


All of these items are areas that are worthy of discussion and bode well to the future growth of United Airlines. 


Mahalo for taking the time in reading all three parts of this Roadshow Series. Please take the time to vote, whichever direction you lean. As always, your input is appreciated.


With much aloha,


Sharon McKarcher


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