NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE FOR PIEDMONT FLIGHT ATTENDANTS
January 25, 2013
Your AFA-CWA Negotiating Team has just concluded another session of bargaining with Piedmont management in Salisbury, MD. Present for AFA were: Anita Jwanouskos, MEC President; Megan Quigley, MEC Vice President and Negotiating Committee Member; Ray Robinson, Negotiating Committee Member; Mark Littleton, AFA-CWA Sr. Staff Negotiator and Theresa O’Donnal, AFA-CWA Research Assistant Manager. Participating for Piedmont Airlines management were: Michael Scrobola, Vice President of Operations; Mandy McGuigan, Director of Inflight Services; and Todd Jewett of F and H Solutions Group. Piedmont President Steve Farrow also joined in the talks at the beginning and end of the session. Overseeing the meetings was mediator John Livingood from the National Mediation Board.
Unfortunately we are disappointed to report to you that the session ended with still no tentative agreement for the Piedmont Flight Attendants. While there are very few issues remaining, the parties are still far apart on the two primary issues: rates of pay and insurance contributions. The company is still proposing such drastic increases in what you pay for insurance that some flight attendants, especially those who have chosen indemnity insurance coverage, would actually lose money. When we repeatedly point this out, their response is: “Well those individuals can fix that by changing insurance plans.” Make no mistake: that is exactly what the company really wants. They would like for everyone to opt out of the indemnity plan so they would no longer have to offer it. Why? Good question! We asked them how much money they would save by eliminating the plan. Their reply? “We don’t know.”
In the end it doesn’t matter to your AFA negotiating team. We do not believe that even a single flight attendant should be forced to choose between their insurance and a pay increase. We have offered the company numerous proposals that would allow them to collect more for the insurance but still provide ALL the Piedmont flight attendants with pay increases, regardless of their choice of insurance. They steadfastly refuse any alternative except their own. Again, because their real desire is to drive you out of that plan.
The Company’s desire is for Piedmont flight attendants to stand still while the rest of the regional airline industry catches up to your contract (and passes us by!) But when we point out other regional carriers that have better pay, work rules or other provisions than the Piedmont contract, those are not the carriers at which they wish to look.
Steve Farrow says that it is past time to for us to resolve our negotiations. Your AFA negotiating team agrees with him. It’s time for the company to quit saying it and put the money on the table to close the deal.
We left the session with the company owing us a counter-proposal. They need to do some research and will let the mediator know when they are ready to respond. We have no idea how long that will be, but it is in their hands at this point. When the company has told the mediator they are ready to respond, the mediator will schedule another session. Until then, there are no sessions scheduled. In the meantime, there will be other opportunities for you to show your solidarity and support to the company, like all the flight attendants and other supporters who braved the bitter cold to do informational picketing in SBY this week. A big THANK YOU to each of you who did so!
As a reminder, we are not yet legally permitted under the Railway Labor Act to engage in any concerted self-help activity. It is not the desire of your negotiating team to go down this path. We have steadfastly bargained in good faith while keeping our eye on the improvements you told us you wanted in your contract. However, the company’s continued bad-faith bargaining with regressive, concessionary proposals has left us no alternative. As we said in a previous update, the time for difficult decisions has come. We made ours. And the company has now made theirs. They have chosen CHAOStm over a contract.
If you have any questions, please contact a member of the MOB Squad or the Negotiating Committee.
Your Piedmont Council 61 Negotiating Committee
Anita Jwanouskos, MEC President
Megan Quigley- MEC Vice President and Negotiating Committee
Ray Robinson- Negotiating Committee
Mark L. Littleton- AFA Sr. Staff Negotiator