- The Negotiating Committee was asked to provide an official response to the statements management made last week about negotiations.
- We are committed to negotiating an industry-leading contract with many significant improvements.
- Our value does not diminish on June 30th – or any other arbitrary date!
You have likely seen management’s latest Flight Attendant negotiations update (AAG SSO required) in response to our Negotiation Session 17 update. We received several questions about their statements and noticed significant discussion on social media. Here is our perspective on what management chose to share in their response.
Why did management say their proposal was good through June 30 while we said the deadline passed on June 22?
There seems to be some confusion in parsing terms. Looking back at communication between the parties, the consensus was the “aggressive bargaining” timeline would be extended “through June,” but that was prior to setting actual negotiations dates. Once the June 20-22 session (#17) was set with no more sessions scheduled, AFA anticipated bargaining should be concluded by that date if a deal was possible.
Additionally, management told the AFA Negotiating Committee due to the very tight timeframe, they were putting a significant compensation proposal on the table and not messing around with multiple, incremental passes. Their proposal was significantly underwhelming, signaling to us there would not be enough movement on their part by the end of the aggressive bargaining timeline to reach an agreement.
Management told us at the last minute that we had ten more days to negotiate, but considering they declined to respond to our last proposal, there was no reason to continue meeting. We are confident had we stayed at the table, their proposal(s) would have been just as deficient on June 30th as their initial counter proposal was on June 20th. Besides, we had no intention of countering our own proposal.
Our value does not diminish after June 30th – or any other arbitrary date!
How far apart are we from management?
A lot of collaboration and progress occurred during the previous 16 bargaining sessions. In the end, management did not want to commit the money needed to secure an agreement that acknowledged Flight Attendant contributions over the years, inflation, industry pay, and RiGs compensating Flight Attendants for work we perform while on the job.
AFA’s proposal would result in an approximately 45% increase over current costs, inclusive of all improvements in our proposal (not just the pay rate). Although management reported it was a 50% increase, the parties have subsequently agreed to revise their costing numbers.
Management’s proposal came in at approximately 12% over current costs, inclusive of all items in their proposal: pay, benefits, work rules changes, et cetera. Everything!
Did management offer industry-leading pay?
Management did not propose top of industry pay at each pay step, or even at our top of scale rate. To exceed Delta’s top of scale rate, management added in our Longevity Premium of $1/TFP at year 16 as a workaround to justify that they had satisfied their commitment for top of industry wages – although apparently at top of scale only. However, this ignored the fact that Delta tops out at year 13 and Alaska tops out at year 16.
AFA based our proposal on the Southwest agreement in principle (AIP) rates, which would have condensed our scale to 13 years. Management’s stance is that the Southwest AIP was not put out for Southwest Flight Attendants to ratify, and therefore those rates are not part of management’s calculation. We anticipate a tentative agreement at Southwest sometime in the near future, which will likely contain those rates if not higher.
In management’s latest Flight Attendant negotiations update (AAG SSO required), they indicated the proposed market wage adjustment mechanism is “to ensure your wages remain competitive with your peers as other airlines ratify new contracts. This addresses situations like the recent Southwest Agreement in Principle. If/when an airline passes us in rates, there is a mechanism in the contract to pull you back up.”
What management didn’t share, however, is their proposed market review involves the averaging of several airlines’ top of scale wages to determine the top of scale comparator. Whatever new rates Southwest Flight Attendants later achieve would be ‘washed out’ in this averaging process. Our wages would be adjusted only if the comparator (i.e., the calculated average) was more than 2% higher than the existing top of scale rate at Year 16 – including the Longevity Premium!
As you can see, the chasm is significant. Only Flight Attendant solidarity and sole mission of purpose will move the dial in our favor.
What steps are next, and how can everyone get involved?
We shared several updates recently about our plans to mobilize and put pressure on management – review our mobilization announcement for additional details. Red AFA pins were delivered in each base this week and will be distributed by your local Mobilization Committee and Officers – look for additional information from your local council.
Save the date for our Systemwide Day of Solidarity on August 15th, coinciding with our next Negotiation Session. Other events are listed on the Red Hot Summer page, with more details to come soon – expect mobilization activities in July, August, and September (to start). Show your solidarity by wearing your red AFA pin while flying and at training and update your social media pages to show one of our graphics.