In This Edition:
Rescheduled CLT Ratification Meeting
Please join us to get your questions answered in Charlotte. The airport rooms are not available, but the DoubleTree is not far away!
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 from 10 am – 1 pm
Doubletree Airport Hotel on Yorkmont Road
Agreement on Bargaining and Representation (ABR) Question & Answers
1. Why is this vote so important for our contract?
This vote will determine how our contract is negotiated at the New American. The advantage of this agreement is that our US Airways contract will be used in negotiations and any necessary arbitration. Previously, that was not the case under the process negotiated during the American bankruptcy between APFA and US Airways management. Voting for this process ensures that we can include our healthcare, vacation, sick leave, work rules and all of the items we care about at the table as we negotiate our next contract.
2. If we vote NO does that mean we keep AFA?
No. Due to the merger, representation will be affected because there can only be one representative of Flight Attendants at the new American. Voting NO risks losing AFA representation sooner than the timeline within this agreement. Voting YES, however, will guarantee that AFA will continue to support us throughout negotiations for a joint contract. It also means that AFA will continue to enforce our current contract and provide all of the necessary resources to resolve outstanding grievances. Voting YES means that we have an equal role in shaping our contract and our culture at the New American. It allows us to move forward with the full support of AFA. And from this strong foundation we will continue to shape our representation at the New American.
3. How is the ABR different from the Conditional Labor Agreement (CLA) between AA Flight Attendants and Management?
US Airways Flight Attendants have equal participation on the bargaining committee, with full resources AFA throughout negotiations.
Ensures a joint survey of Flight Attendants prior to bargaining.
Joint process with APFA for developing an opening proposal and bargaining with management.
Both contracts used as basis for negotiating – two month negotiations preparations time for unions to build opening proposal on best of both contracts and coordinate bargaining strategy.
Significantly expanded time for negotiations – 5 months with an average of 3 weeks per month of actual bargaining versus 60 days with no definitive actual bargaining in the CLA.
Use of a mediator and expedited bargaining procedures.
Ensures both the AFA/US Airways agreement and the CLA will be considered in any arbitration.
Improves economic standards for arbitration to ensure not concessions and allow for improvements. – See Question 4 below.
More detailed language for arbitration including AFA and APFA designated reps on the arbitration panel.
4. How does the ABR improve economic standards for arbitration?
If the Unions and Management are not able to reach agreement on all sections of the agreement prior to the 150 day (5 months) deadline, then only the open issues will be submitted to arbitration, with a panel that includes 2 union reps (AFA and APFA), 2 Company reps and 3 neutral arbitrators. The arbitration decision must meet all three (3) of the following standards:
a. The total value of the new contract for pre-merger US Airways Flight Attendants must be better than the current US Airways agreement as applied to pre-merger US Airways Flight Attendants.
b. The total value of the new contract for pre-merger American Flight Attendants must be better than the current value of the CLA as applied to the pre-merger AA Flight Attendants.
c. The total value of the agreement must meet the standard of market-based in the aggregate as compared to key network competitors Delta and United/Continental. If United and Continental Flight Attendants do not have a joint collective bargaining agreement by the time of our JCBA then there will be a second arbitration if necessary to bring us up to the new market based aggregate.
Remember, all three of the previous conditions must be satisfied as part of any arbitration award.
5. How will the adopt-and-go process be used in negotiations?
The agreement Section A.3 (Bargaining Process) states that:
“The parties shall have the goal, where feasible, of using a process for reaching a tentative American JCBA via an “adopt-and-go” method (that is, selecting specific entire sections to the extent possible). Nothing in this Agreement shall require retention or improvement upon, or prevent modification of, any particular section or provision of either the CLA or the USA CBA in the American JCBA.”
Adopt-and-go is an expedited method to allow the parties to move more quickly through negotiations – lifting entire sections, where possible. As the agreement says, we hope to be able to use “adopt-and-go” whenever we can. There will, however, likely be some areas of the agreement where “adopt-and-go” will not be possible, nor to our benefit necessarily. In those sections we would use other forms of negotiating to reach agreement.
6. What are we voting on? Are we voting on Bargaining and Representation at the same time?
You are voting on both Bargaining and Union Representation in one vote because the two issues are linked and representation was your leverage to achieve a vastly improved bargaining process. This agreement was reached between AFA and APFA – and Management agreed to the new bargaining process by placing value on labor peace as the airline moves quickly to the benefits of operational integration. In order to best protect the interests of US Airways Flight Attendants and reach agreement between AFA and APFA we needed to include both bargaining and representation together in one agreement. And we negotiated key representation protections within it to ensure your voice and your contract have equal weight throughout the negotiations and all of the resources of AFA remain available to you during the critical time for shaping your future at the New American.
This is your opportunity to vote on the process for bargaining and how you will be best positioned to shape your representation for the future. This is your opportunity to vote for a process that will support unity for Flight Attendants at the new American and a strong foundation for determining how you are represented at the New American.
Voting YES means:
US Airways Flight Attendants participate in joint contract negotiations based on both the AFA and APFA contracts with an improved economic standard.
AFA enforces our current contract through orderly transition to New American joint contract and APFA representation.
AFA and APFA link arms to fight for best of both contracts.
Voting NO means:
The APFA/USA management Conditional Labor Agreement (CLA) will govern negotiations for a single agreement unless AFA mounts and wins an uncertain, divisive representation election. There is no guarantee that we would even qualify to hold such an election under new NMB rules.
Risk of losing the US Airways contract because we have no guarantee to retain AFA representation or other protections contained in the ABR.
Squanders the benefits of the merger by engaging in a divisive fight with our counterparts at American rather than uniting to fight for an industry-leading agreement that contains the best of both contracts.
If you need a new Activation Code or technical assistance, call the Ballot Help Line at 800-424-2401, press 1 and then ext. 706.
7. When and how will we become APFA members?
Once the National Mediation Board officially recognizes APFA following a single carrier determination (estimated to be summer or early fall 2014), all US Airways Flight Attendants will be represented by APFA and APFA will be legally bound by the Railway Labor Act to act on our behalf – but this agreement provides that APFA will empower AFA to continue to represent US Airways Flight Attendants under the terms of the current contract until a new agreement is negotiated and implemented.
AFA Local Council Presidents will immediately fill interim positions on the APFA Board of Directors.
The AFA US Airways contract will remain in place until a Joint Bargaining Agreement is reached and the new agreement is fully implemented.
AFA will continue to enforce our current contract and all of our current procedures with trained Flight Attendant AFA grievance representatives and legal assistance will remain in place for grievances filed under the US Airways contract until resolved. For record keeping and/or dues check off purposes you may be required to fill out a new form authorizing APFA dues deduction from your paycheck.
While there will be no interruption to your legal representation by a union, each employee has the individual right to join a union. That is not something that can be done for you. Therefore, Flight Attendants will need to sign up for membership with APFA and as we move closer to the legal change in representation there will be full information about how to complete this simple process and time to do that. We have confirmed with APFA that you will not be required to pay an initiation fee when you become APFA members.
8. How do I get help with voting?
If you need a new Activation Code or technical assistance:
Call the Ballot Help Line at 800-424-2401, press 1 and then ext. #706.
Phones are staffed 9:30 am – 5:00 pm Eastern Time. If you receive a busy signal, please call back. If you are unable to reach someone immediately, leave a message and include the following information:
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If for some reason you have problems, please contact your Local Council President and provide the date and time you had issues so we can address properly.