FOR PIEDMONT FLIGHT ATTENDANTS
April 9, 2013
We’re Red Hot and Mad as Hell!
Your AFA-CWA Negotiating Team has just concluded yet ANOTHER session of bargaining with Piedmont management. This time we met near the BWI airport. 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: Steve Farrow, President of Piedmont Airlines, Michael Scrobola, Vice President of Operations; Mandy McGuigan, Director of Inflight Services; and Todd Jewett of F and H Solutions Group. Overseeing the meetings was mediator John Livingood from the National Mediation Board (NMB) and new to the table, Terri Brown, Senior Mediator from the NMB.
We are extremely disappointed to report to you that the latest negotiations session ended with still no tentative agreement for the Piedmont Flight Attendants. On Monday, April 8th, Piedmont responded to our proposals from our last meeting in late January by simply repeating their previous proposal but with an extra ½ of a percent in the signing bonus they had offered. So, for example, IF you made $30,000 last year, this change in their proposal would give you an extra $150 (before taxes, etc.) in a one-time payment than their previous proposal. (We used $30,000 in this example because that, according to Piedmont Airlines President Steve Farrow, is what a NEW HIRE flight attendant at Piedmont makes.) Needless to say, this change did nothing to address in any meaningful way the terms that leave some FAs with a concessionary agreement. The total compensation under their proposal still would not be enough to compensate for the higher insurance contributions the company wants us to pay. Additionally, the company’s proposal did not include some provisions in our proposal, some of which other groups have, even if the provision didn’t cost anything! Quite simply put, this is unacceptable to the negotiating team and we’re red hot about it!
We did come back to the table the next day making a response to Piedmont and making movement toward what they said they needed. But again, Piedmont came back to us and shifted the “line in the sand” on what they said they needed. What we had proposed, which kept all FAs whole throughout the years of the contract was again, not good enough because it made the total value of the changes in our contract worth 1% (that’s right, ONE percent) more than the percentage change in other work groups contracts (a NEW line in the sand). The problem is those groups don’t negotiate for us nor we for them. For example, one of the provisions AFA has been proposing is Profit Sharing, which doesn’t cost anything if there are no profits. The company said they can’t give us profit sharing because the other groups don’t have profit sharing. But the other groups didn’t even ASK for profit sharing in their negotiations. But when we continued to press them on the issue it became clear that the real reason was that, unless they changed their agreement with mainline, then there would be less of a bonus for THEM, the managers and supervisors, if they included the flight attendants in the profit sharing. The company negotiations team was ADAMANT, that’s not going to happen.
So let’s review. We can’t have something any other group doesn’t have, even if it doesn’t cost anything. We can’t have something other groups have, even if it doesn’t cost anything. We can’t have something other groups have or don’t have unless the total cost of all the changes in our agreement match, to the decimal point, the UNKNOWN percentage that the changes in other groups’ contracts cost. Sound like an easy target to hit?
At the end of the day on April 9th, the mediators adjourned the session a day early with no more meetings scheduled. The NMB still maintains control of the negotiations. And the options available to them are the same: continue to schedule meetings in the future, grant our request to be released by offering binding arbitration or to do neither and simply hold the negotiations in recess. There is no specified time frame in which any of those actions must occur. So we are waiting at this point to see what the NMB wishes to do next.
As a reminder, we are not yet legally permitted under the Railway Labor Act to engage in any concerted self-help activity. But in the meantime we can and must certainly do things, within the confines of the Railway Labor Act, which will motivate the company to bring these negotiations to a conclusion that is acceptable to you. The company’s continued bad-faith bargaining with regressive, concessionary proposals has made it clear they will not make an agreement until someone or something forces them to do so. As we said in a previous update, the time for difficult decisions has come. We made ours. And the company has made theirs. They continue to choose bad media attention, uncomfortable judgment from those who support us and, if it comes down to it, CHAOStm over a contract. We WILL be doing events to bring attention to our plight. Your negotiations committee and MOB Squad members have already had two conference calls to gather ideas on actions we can take. We WILL be calling on you to come forward, take action and show you are solid with the negotiations committee in getting a contract you deserve.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org or 434-422-2503)
Megan Quigley- MEC Vice President and Negotiating Committee (email@example.com or 610-657-6682)
Ray Robinson- Negotiating Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-624-7701)
Heather O’Brien— Negotiations Alt. Committee Member (email@example.com or 315-573-3516)
Mark L. Littleton- AFA Sr. Staff Negotiator