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Piggybacking Arbitration Award

Date: April 25, 2024

On April 23rd the System Board of Adjustment issued an award in our MEC “Piggybacking” Grievance (MEC 4-21). Your MEC filed this grievance over the company’s failure to implement seven items, of which Combined Duty, a/k/a “Piggybacking” (Section 7.I.16.) was the most-prominent. The award sustained the grievance related to Combined Duty and Month-end Midnight Split, and denied the grievance related to five other implementation items.

Most relevant for Flight Attendants is that the company will have to restart the implementation work on Piggybacking, which will allow Flight Attendants to combine two different pairings, with two separate duty periods, into a single duty period. The neutral Arbitrator ordered the company to restart programming and testing of Piggybacking in May, with the goal of final implementation in October 2024, and a hard deadline of December 2024.

The neutral Arbitrator decided in our favor on this critical issue. While we would have preferred a tighter schedule, the reality is that when the company stopped work on Combined Duty, there were still 4 to 5 months of programming and testing work that was necessary before it could be implemented. This is why immediate implementation is not possible.  

The neutral Arbitrator also ruled that the Joint Implementation Team (JIT) will monitor the programing work, and that the neutral Arbitrator will continue to retain jurisdiction over this dispute to assure that implementation work stays on track. Flight Attendants should expect updates on the progress of Combined Duty implementation later in Summer 2024. With this award, we are confident that Flight Attendants will be able to take advantage of piggybacking pairings later this year.

Month-end Midnight Split, which assures proper payment for trips flown over midnight between months, is on a separate implementation schedule, also supervised by the JIT, with an August 2025 deadline.

The implementation items not sustained in the grievance were either not Contractual (Scheduled View for Pairing in CCS, Reserve Standby List, and Undo Functionality) or have been implemented through other means (Max Cap EOM Waiver and Reserve Priority Message).  However, we are hopeful that we may still be able to get a few other items implemented through the continued work of the JIT.

This award is a win for Flight Attendants on an extremely important issue, and shows the company that the Union is serious about enforcing our Contract. 

If you have any questions, please contact your Local Council office.

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