JNC Update August 3, 2011
On July 19-22, the JNC met with the US Airways
management in mediated contract talks in Charlotte, NC. During the week of
negotiations, AFA and the Company engaged in serious discussions to resolve
outstanding issues. Now that the talks are in mediation under the Railway Labor
Act, we finally have a process to bring these negotiations to a conclusion.
After five years of tough bargaining, the JNC is committed to reaching an
agreement that benefits all US Airways Flight Attendants.
The Federal Mediator has scheduled two more weeks of negotiations: August 23 to
26 in Denver and September 27-30 at the offices of the National Mediation Board
in DCA. After the September meeting, the Federal Mediator will determine whether
to schedule further negotiations based on the progress made by the parties and
the likelihood of reaching an agreement. Under the Railway Labor Act, the law
governing our contract negotiations, the NMB has discretion to schedule or not
schedule meetings. If the NMB determines not to schedule more meetings, talks
will be recessed until such time the NMB decides to hold more meetings.
There are a limited number of options at this point. One is that we fail to
narrow the issues and get placed into extended recess. That is not a viable
option as all US Airways Flight Attendants need improvements and wage increases
now. Second, we are able to work through outstanding issues and reach an
agreement. This option will only work if the Company proves they are
willing to put the economic resources into reaching an agreement. Third, we
narrow the issues, are unable to reach an agreement and push the process forward
by taking a strike vote and asking the National Mediation Board for a release
into a thirty day cooling off period. One of the factors the NMB looks at in
granting a release is how many open issues remain and how far apart the parties
are on remaining issues.
Topics discussed in CLT included Insurance and
Benefits, Sick Leave, Leaves of Absence and Hour of Service.
Insurance and Benefits.
Insurance is a major issue separating the
parties. East Flight Attendants are in a company-wide plan which includes a 100,
90, and 80 percent options. West Flight Attendants are in stand alone plans,
including a Platinum plan for PHX area Flight Attendants which includes lower
premiums, no deductibles, and lower co-pays. The Company is insisting on
eliminating stand alone plans, pushing for all employees to be in the same
health care plan.
To complicate matters, the Company proposed to eliminate the 100 and 90 percent
plans arguing they would trigger the 40% excise tax in 2018. The excise tax is
part of the health care legislation passed by Congress last year and is intended
to destroy quality health care. The JNC has argued that 2018 is a long ways away
and much can happen in the meantime. The Company is backing off their position
to eliminate the 100 and 90 percent plans and we are discussing ways of dealing
with any future, potential excise tax.
In order to move the process forward, the JNC and the Company have agreed to
consider the issue of the West health plans (Platinum, etc) at the end of the
negotiations when we deal with the outstanding economic matters. At that time,
while negotiating wages and other economic items, we will be in a better place
to understand the impact of any health care decisions.
AFA’s position is that Flight Attendants need
to co-pair with Pilots. The Company, however, refuses to agree to co-pairing
arguing that it is not possible to integrate the Flight Attendant network
without eliminating co-pairing. While AFA rejects that argument, this will be
one of the more difficult issues to resolve in negotiations. We will be
discussing this issue further in our August session in Denver.
Most of the sick leave section has been
negotiated. The JNC fought hard to eliminate major problems in both the
concessionary East sick leave section and the current (delete "the") West
system. This week we discussed how to transition West Flight Attendants from
their current sick leave program, in which they are not allowed to carry over
sick leave from year to year, to the new sick program, which could allow
carryover up to 1500 hours. That issue will be discussed further in DEN.
Leaves of Absence
A number of issues remain in this section,
including the Company’s demand to kick Flight Attendants to the curb after five
years on medical leave.
Membership mobilization took an upturn
this week with the launch of the "CONTRACT NOW" badge backer campaign. Members
of the Mobilization committee and leaders began distributing the backers in all
four domiciles. This solidarity step is designed as an informational campaign
for the members.
While management is intent on thwarting our members’ right to display the
backers, the union will continue the campaign in an effort to show membership
solidarity in an effort to reach an agreement that benefits all US Airways
For more information on the badge backer campaign, click on the link below:
The Joint Negotiations Committee
MEC PRESIDENT – Mike Flores
MEC PRESIDENT – Lisa LeCarre
JNC MEMBER – Carol Austin
JNC MEMBER -
AFA US Airways Website
Questions about WINGS? Please contact the EDS
Help Desk at (480) 693-6029 for assistance. More
information can also be found
AFA Local Numbers
Council 41 DCA 703-212-8090
Council 70 PHL 215-492-0840
Council 89 CLT 704-527-0325
US AIRWAYS Benefits Information 800-872-4780
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