- Management-mandated Tentative Agreement completion date extended past April.
- Prior agreement on Top of Industry Pay extended.
- Time spent addressing compliance with state laws within the CBA redirected bargaining time, leading to the need for the schedule extension.
Management agreed to several important priorities during Negotiation Session 6 in December. Our update and management’s update (AAG SSO required) from that session included the following commitments from management:
- Place Alaska Airlines Flight Attendants at the top of the industry in pay at the outset, with initial pay rates above all U.S. airlines
- Include a downline market review, providing contract-anniversary adjustments based on other airline pay increases
- Apply the new contract rates effective back to December 2022
- Management’s commitment was predicated on the aggressive schedule through April 2023
- If the parties reach an impasse, both sides may adjust priorities accordingly.
Is all this dependent on reaching a full Tentative Agreement (TA) by the end of April? To be candid, yes. This was all conditioned on reaching an agreement by the end of April. Although we have made significant progress toward a full TA, we do not currently anticipate completion by the end of April. However, because of the steady progress to date, we secured further commitment to extend negotiations.
Negotiations Timeline Extended
Management agreed to extend the timeline with up to four additional negotiations sessions after April. They will honor their commitments for industry-leading rates (effective through December 2022) with a downline market review mechanism.
The parties will coordinate on additional dates as needed. – with the expectation that both parties are working as expeditiously as possible toward an agreement and within the updated time frame. We are optimistic about our progress thus far. Management’s commitment on pay represents a significant benefit – but pay rates are not the only essential components of a new contract and we are seeking other improvements. We will not compromise our bargaining priorities.
Legislative Fixes and Incorporating State Law Protections
Airlines, including Alaska, continue to deny pro-worker state laws to Flight Attendants: meal & rest breaks, paid sick leave, and others. (See “Management vs. State and Local Laws” parts 1, 2, and 3.) However, Alaska has finally agreed to comply with state Paid Sick Leave laws in WA and OR. Part of our time in negotiations has been spent addressing some of these issues via the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), Letters of Agreement (LOA), and legislative fixes.
Key Elements of OR and WA Paid Sick Leave (PSL) Laws: Employees must accrue paid sick leave based on hours worked and may not be disciplined (e.g., accrue attendance points under a no-fault attendance policy) when using state-protected paid sick leave.
We have agreed in concept to an overarching Sick Leave policy that brings our CBA on a path towards compliance with WA and OR PSL laws and incorporates key protections. This agreement sets the groundwork for completing Sections 15: Leaves of Absence, 16: Sick Leave/On the Job Injury, and 32: Attendance Policy. We expect to tentatively agree to these sections soon.
AFA International also supported recently-enacted legislation in California addressing meal & rest breaks for Flight Attendants covered by a CBA, provided the CBA includes language addressing such breaks. In tandem with reaching the agreement on Paid Sick Leave, AFA Alaska was required to support specific legislation (WA SB 5725 2023-2024), and we also secured a letter of agreement that provides for onboard meal & rest breaks effective April 3rd. More information about WA SB 5725, AFA Alaska’s support of the bill, and its subsequent failure to get out of committee can be found in “Negotiations and Washington State Bill 5725” at afaalaska.org.
We also anticipate the need to assist management in seeking specific variances to paid sick leave laws for Flight Attendants covered by a CBA that includes language addressing PSL. Why? The current provisions of the WA and OR laws do not synch with our contractual provisions: (1) the minimum increments for how we draw and are paid sick leave, and (2) the measure of our sick leave accrual (e.g., TFP vs. block hours vs. duty hours). These laws are designed for traditional hourly workers, not those who are paid in units of distance such as TFP.
What does this all mean?
AFA’s plan is to stay the course on the current bargaining framework agreement and to secure industry-leading pay and other improvements. We will keep you updated on bargaining progress.
Continue supporting our efforts by staying informed and wearing your AFA pin while flying and at company functions (i.e., training, CARE Retreat). We are Stronger Together, Better Together.