December 20, 2013
Dear US Airways Flight Attendants,
We are moving forward with our new American flying partners through an agreement with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA). This agreement has been reviewed and unanimously approved by your directly-elected Local Council Presidents. Through your support, we have protected our contract, our voice and our vote at the New American.
For 65 years we have been proud members of the Association of Flight Attendants. Through our union we negotiated industry-leading contracts time and again. Our history was made by little airlines that could – and did. US Airways Flight Attendants have spent entire careers building unity. We were a part of shaping the world’s largest Flight Attendant union and we made a difference through our union’s total focus on the issues that matter to Flight Attendants. That focus on your interests is what led us to this agreement with APFA, another Flight Attendant-only union with a proud history as well. With your continued support, we will achieve our industry-leading contract once again as full partners with our pre-merger American Flight Attendant counterparts. And as we make the most out of our collective bargaining rights, with your approval we will also become members of APFA.
It is an honor to fly with you, to serve as your representative and to share these new opportunities with you. We continue to commit every effort to provide you with all of the information necessary to make informed decisions about our future. We hope this news provides you with the opportunity for a peaceful holiday and dreams of what will come through our unity – 24,000 Strong.
MEC President US Airways
Association of Flight Attendants
AFA has secured agreements with APFA for seniority, bargaining and representation at the New American.
AFA and APFA agree working in unity is the best path forward at the New American. Our two Flight Attendant unions are standing together to utilize the leverage of both contracts in order to achieve an industry-leading contract at the New American. Our efforts turn toward negotiations with management. Any attack on either union undermines our bargaining. We are calling on all Flight Attendants to join us in refraining from criticizing the other union, collecting authorization cards or participating in any activity that could lead to a representation election. We are two strong Flight Attendant unions and each Flight Attendant represents our collective strength. We encourage all members to wear your union pin, support each other and stand together in our efforts to secure the industry’s leading contract at the world’s biggest airline.
Management has a choice. They can address the legitimate concerns of Flight Attendants or fail to address these concerns and force AFA to take action to preserve the collective bargaining rights of pre-merger US Airways Flight Attendants. We believe the choice is obvious. Recognizing the concerns of the 24,000 workers on the front line of our new airline will set the best possible foundation for the world’s largest airline.
We have a Seniority Protocol Agreement with APFA, which is a separate document from our agreement on Bargaining and Representation. The integration process mirrors the AFA Seniority Integration Policy. Flight Attendants will retain length of service as Flight Attendants with their respective carrier, utilizing the Occupational Seniority Date at American and the Seniority Integration Date (SID) (commonly referred to as “Date of Hire”) at US Airways. There will be an adjustment of 40 days for American Flight Attendants on the seniority list prior to January 1, 2013, to reflect time spent in initial Flight Attendant training. Actual training start dates will be utilized for Flight Attendants hired at American in 2013 and later.
Over 65 years in our union we have been a major part of working with Flight Attendants throughout the industry to shape our careers. We are grateful for the support of AFA members throughout the industry. The AFA Board of Directors, representing Flight Attendants from 19 airlines, voted unanimously to support US Airways Flight Attendants in our efforts to secure the best contract with our American flying partners. This support was paramount and helped lead to this agreement with APFA. We also thank the Presidential Committee members who took part in the negotiations that led to this agreement with APFA: Roger Holmin, Rick Knuth (CLT Flight Attendant and Attorney), Diane Tucker (United AFA Seattle Local President), Joe Burns (AFA Professional Negotiator and Attorney) and Sara Nelson (AFA International Vice President). We now link arms with APFA members to lift the standards of our careers and make the most out of the opportunities created by the merger of our airlines.
1. AFA and APFA reaching agreement with the company on a bargaining process for a joint collective bargaining agreement covering the two work groups.
2. US Airways Flight Attendant ratification of the bargaining process and representation.
1. Did we address our concerns and accomplish our goals through this agreement?
Yes. Over the past year and a half we have fought hard to best position ourselves in this merger. We ratified our contract to extend critical protections to Phoenix, raise our wage rates and secure our ability to fight for our vote on a single contract bargaining process that could yield additional improvements for our contribution to the merger. AFA members have provided clear instruction to achieve these priorities:
The Seniority Protocol Agreement and the AFA/APFA Agreement on Bargaining and Representation meets these objectives.
Through our agreement to work together we can maximize our leverage to negotiate a new process for achieving a single contract that includes the US Airways contract and a standard that produces improvements. We have consistently stated a mutual agreement is the best path forward. This agreement brings Flight Attendants together and will help to lift the standards of our careers across the industry.
The agreement ensures US Airways and American Flight Attendants are full partners in shaping our future together. We are proud of what we have accomplished as AFA members – and this includes fighting hard to preserve our collective bargaining rights. This agreement protects our contract and our democratic right to decide our bargaining and representation. For 65 years we have organized action for our careers through AFA. And together, we will continue to promote the best daily representation for Flight Attendants at the New American.
2. Will the 3-party MOU talks continue now?
Yes. We will first negotiate with the company to achieve the bargaining process that will provide for an industry-leading contract at the New American. Following that, we will continue the 3-party MOU discussions to resolve transition issues such as pass travel, jumpseat and a monetary recognition for the contributions of US Airways Flight Attendants to a successful merger.
3. I see there is still arbitration as the backstop for achieving the new single contract. How are my collective bargaining rights protected?
US Airways Flight Attendants will vote on the process to achieve a new agreement. The agreement is contingent on your vote. This preserves your right to collective bargaining and it is the leverage we have together to get management to agree to a process other than the one defined by the CLA.
We have worked with APFA to include several protections within the process to achieve a better result, even with arbitration as the backstop for a new agreement. Both the AFA US Airways and the APFA agreement serve as the basis for negotiations and arbitration. Negotiations, and arbitration if necessary, will be based on the best of both contracts with a standard that ensures improvements over each contract, collectively and separately. We have extended the negotiations period and will secure a commitment from management for a number of dates at the table. We have included mediation as part of the process. If arbitration is necessary, it will only be to address issues unresolved through negotiations and the standard for improvements applies. The arbitration panel would include two Flight Attendants (one AFA, one APFA) to ensure our perspective is injected throughout any process for an arbitration decision. The award would be issued no later than 30 days after the first day of the hearing.
4. If management agrees to the new bargaining process and we ratify the Agreement on Bargaining and Representation, then when would we become APFA members?
As part of the agreement, AFA and APFA agree to jointly file a Single Carrier Petition with the NMB within six months of the merger close date of December 9, 2013. After we file this petition, the NMB will conduct an investigation which typically takes 2-3 months to conclude. This means APFA would likely be certified as the representative of all Flight Attendants at the New American sometime in summer or early fall of 2014.
5. Will the representation certification timing have an impact on the bargaining timeline?
No. The bargaining timeline will commence well before any change in representation for US Airways Flight Attendants. Our agreement with APFA ensures US Airways Flight Attendants have equal representation throughout the bargaining process, first as AFA members and continuing even if representation changes before we conclude the negotiations for our single contract. The Joint Negotiating Committee is comprised of 7 APFA representatives and 7 AFA representatives.
We are hopeful to achieve an agreement with management for a new bargaining process in January followed by a typical ratification schedule of 3-4 weeks. Once ratified by US Airways AFA members, the 60-day negotiations preparation period will begin. We will build our opening proposal based on an “adopt and go” process that identifies the best provisions from each contract. The negotiations survey responses by all Flight Attendants will help determine contract issues that are not objectively identified as better in one contract than the other.
Within 60 days of ratification of the Agreement on Bargaining and Representation, negotiations with the company would commence. Negotiations would continue for no more than 150 days, and if an agreement is not reached any remaining issues would be submitted to interest arbitration at a standard that includes improvements over both contracts, collectively and separately.
If at any time in the process a tentative agreement is reached, Flight Attendants will vote to ratify the contract. If the agreement is rejected the parties will utilize mediation prior to submitting the dispute to arbitration. The Arbitration Board will include one or more arbitrators along with two Flight Attendants (One US Airways, One American) and two company representatives.
6. Will we work under our US Airways contract until implementation of a new single contract (JCBA)?
Yes. The agreement with APFA includes assurance that AFA will administer the contract and any related grievances until full implementation of the new JCBA and the resolution of all outstanding grievances. The AFA representation structure will be maintained until APFA becomes the certified representative, and contract enforcement will continue as it does today. After APFA is certified as the representative, dues will be returned to AFA in order to continue daily administration and enforcement of our contract by our trained pre-merger US Airways Flight Attendant representatives and the AFA Legal department.
7. Are the AFA/APFA Joint Town Hall Meetings still happening?
AFA and APFA will conduct Joint Town Hall Meetings to discuss next steps after bargaining a new process for negotiating a single contract and AFA Member ratification of the AFA/APFA Agreement on Bargaining and Representation. The meetings will be postponed to later dates to accommodate this process. In the meantime, AFA will conduct member meetings in the US Airways base locations starting with the following dates: