Now that the Tentative Agreement Road Shows are concluded, it is time for each Flight Attendant to decide whether to approve this Tentative Agreement or continue to work under the terms of their current agreements.
This decision involves closely analyzing contract language and pay rates to determine if this Tentative Agreement places our work force in a stronger position as this industry continues to consolidate. Of necessity, it involves a discussion of the strength and weakness of alternative strategies. In other words, are we better off if we approve or reject this contract?
The JNC believes this TA merits a "Yes" vote. We also believe the members should decide for themselves whether to vote "Yes" or "No". However, the JNC believes every ballot cast should be cast on the merits of the TA and not on speculation that a "better deal is around the corner".
From the start of negotiations, the Company maintained the only way a contract would be reached was for the JNC to agree to a position that our flight attendants had to work for 15% less in wages and work rules than our Legacy competitors. The Company was also determined to gut our Scope protections.
Through hard bargaining, the JNC forced the company to agree to pay rates and Scope language they maintained would never happen. We not only erased the company's "15%" cost containment argument but exceeded industry standard in numerous economic areas. We maintained strong job security provisions and negotiated improved work rules.
Should this TA be voted down by the membership, we need a real strategy to get the company to come up with more money or to renegotiate sections of the TA. A return to negotiations does not mean management will agree to the 2000 East Reserve system, agree to restore insurance, vacation days, or pay $50 an hour. That is not how bargaining works. After five years of negotiations, we need more of a strategy than additional bargaining.
We believe that to get more money out of this company would require a strike. Unfortunately, under the Railway Labor Act to legally strike we need a release from the National Mediation Board. Given the national anti-union climate, the fact that this is an election year, and the difficulty in getting a release at a major carrier in even normal times, it is painfully clear, a release to strike is not coming any time soon.
Only you know your immediate needs as well as the needs of our work force moving forward in this changing industry. It's up to you to decide whether we accept this TA which contains immediate economic relief in excess of thousands of dollars per year, in addition to providing us the best Scope and Labor Protective Provisions in the industry, or write a check to Doug Parker for tens of millions of dollars as we continue to negotiate for an undetermined amount of time.
As your representatives during negotiations, we made the tough choices, now the choice of whether to vote yes or no is up to you.
Deborah Volpe - Mike Flores
Eva DeCastro - Carol Austin