NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE (March 30, 2022)

Dear Flight Attendants,

We apologize for the lack of updates for our sessions in January and February. It has been a very hectic year already! In the following months, we will strive to be more timely with information concerning negotiations!  

Tentatively Agreed Sections

Ten sections have been TA’d – 11 (Seniority), 12 (Probation), 13 (Agency Shop & Dues Check Off), 16 (Furlough), 17 (Physical Exams),  20 (Hostage), 23 (Training), 24 (Management Rights), 25 (No Strike/Lockout), and 27 (Non-Discrimination).  Most of these sections were unchanged from the current contract with the exception of updating the pronouns to gender neutral.  However, Training was improved after the company agreed to our proposal to increase the amount of time a flight attendant has to complete LMS (it will be 30 days).  Currently, there is no minimum.  

Four additional sections have been agreed upon by the committees. The company negotiators are waiting on approval from upper management before we can TA them. Those are Sections 18 (Moving Expenses), 21 (Insurance/Benefits), 22 (Safety and Health), and 28 (Commuter Policy). Most of these sections were unchanged from the current contract with the exception of updating the pronouns to gender neutral. However, the Commuter Policy was changed to allow for flight attendants company-reserved hotel rooms in between trips.

One additional section, 15 (System Board) has been agreed on with the exception of B.3. We are waiting on our AFA Senior Staff Attorney and the Company Attorney to choose a replacement Arbitrator for the panel of neutrals. Once they have agreed on the replacement, we expect this section to be approved by the committees.  

Sections Discussed

1.  Scope - Our proposal was made on 2/23/22 and we are awaiting management’s response. The only open issues are in 1.C.

4.  Sick Leave – We have proposed an increase to the current sick leave accrual rate of 2.17 hours per bid month and to eliminate the 200-hour cap on our sick leave bank.  The company owes us a response to the proposal.  Our sick leave accrual is already the lowest in the industry AND if we want to be paid for the time off,  we have to use that time for both bereavement leave and to cover the first 5 days of jury duty, in addition to when we are sick.  

5.  Vacation – Our proposal contained an increase to the vacation in two ways.  One is a proposed new category for those with 19+ years and the other is to shorten the years within the current categories, so that we would increase vacation accrual quicker than in the current contract.  The company owes us a response to the proposal.

6.  Expenses – We’ve proposed to increase the domestic per diem and to change the definition of international so that we would receive international per diem when in Canada.  The company owes us a response to the proposal.

8.  Leaves of Absence – The only open issue in this section is Jury Duty.  Currently, the company only pays for Jury Duty after five days of work have been missed.  In order to be paid for the first five days of Jury Duty, you have to use your sick time and that is ridiculous.  The company should provide Jury Duty pay for the first five days, too, as nearly every other airline does.  The company owes us a response to the proposal.

9.  Uniforms – The only open issue in this section  was proposed by the company.  They would like to double the uniform deduction amount to $50 per paycheck because new hire flight attendants are quitting before paying off the uniform and they are losing money because of it.  We think a better way to fix this problem is to make Mesa a place where people want to stay.  

10.  Vacancies – Like the Uniform section, the only open issue here was proposed by management.  10.C.2. provides settlement time for flight attendants who transfer bases.  Management is proposing to eliminate settlement time for everyone who doesn’t actually move to the new base.  

14. Grievances – This is an important section because it’s used when the company violates the contract or a flight attendant is disciplined without just cause.  In an effort to resolve these disputes more quickly, we proposed to send some of them to grievance mediation.  This would provide us with the opportunity to work through the disputes with a neutral mediator.  So far, the company is not interested in adding this provision to the contract.

19.  Union Activities – We made a bullet point proposal for this section on 11/16/21 and a full text proposal on 2/23/22 and we are awaiting management’s response.  

Other Open Sections with AFA Proposed Improvements

3.  Compensation – Our proposal was made on 11/17/21 and we are awaiting management’s response.  Our proposal contains improvements to the hourly rates, minimum guarantee, deadhead pay, and long layover pay.

7.  Scheduling - Our proposal was made on 11/17/21 and we are awaiting management’s response.  Our proposal contains improvements to the minimum days off, PBS rules, trip drop/add/trades/swaps and reserve assignments.

26.  General – The improvement proposed in this section is part of our proposal to improve the attendance policy.  

30.  Duration – This section is always closed out at the end of negotiations, although we made a proposal for a 3-year duration during negotiations on 11/17/21.

Open Sections which AFA Proposed to Remain Current Book

We didn’t propose any changes to the following sections, except for updating the pronouns to gender neutral and we are awaiting the company’s response.  Although no changes were proposed, these sections remain open until agreed upon by both parties.  These sections are:  15.  System Board, 22.  Safety & Health,  and 29.  EAP.

Time to Talk Money

We’re down to the cost issues and it’s time for management to put some money on the table.  At our next session, in two weeks, there’s basically nothing left to talk about that doesn’t involve money.  We’ll let you know what they propose in our next newsletter.  

Future Negotiations

Negotiations are scheduled to continue during the weeks of April 11th and May 2nd.  Dates through the summer will probably be scheduled at the next session.

While we have made some progress, we still have a lot of work to do! We are pushing to ‘quick turn our contract’ and your support is paramount! Keep those orange bag tags visible on your roll-a-boards and wear your red AFA pins PROUDLY! Be informed, get involved! We are in this together! 

In Unity,

Your AFA Negotiators:

Maggie Fox, MEC President

Cathy Lindig, MEC Vice President

Rosanna Scollo, Committee Member

Beth DeProspero, AFA Senior Staff Negotiator