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MDT Base Closure/SBY Reduction
Posted On: Feb 19, 2017

       BASE OPENINGS/CLOSINGS & FORCED MOVES

Please review and refer to the AFA Collective Bargaining Agreement to help you understand your contractual benefits and rights during a base opening/closure and/or a forced move.  AFA offers this information to provide a reference and guide to pertinent sections of the contract.  Contact with Inflight Services may be required to discuss your needs and make arrangements depending on your personal circumstances.

PERTINENT SECTIONS OF THE CONTRACT:

Section 5- Vacation

Section 6- Travel Expenses

Section 19- Job Vacancy Bid

Section 20- Opening and Closing of Domiciles

Section 21- Moving Expenses

Opening and Closing of Domiciles-Section 20 & Moving Expenses – Section 21

Who’s eligible for moving expenses?

Any flight attendant who is forced to move from one domicile to another as a result of a base closure or reduction.  If a FA voluntarily takes part in moving due to a base reduction, they still qualify for the moving expenses. 

Is a flight attendant eligible for moving expenses if they voluntarily transfer to another crew base?  Only if the FA has volunteered to move due to a base reduction. Otherwise, no.  For instance, a flight attendant transferring from PHL to ROA will not have their move paid for as the PHL base is not reducing size or closing.

Am I required to fill out a permanent bid card, and will this render a flight attendant ineligible for moving expenses when they close a crew base?  When a base is closed, all flight attendants in that crew base should complete a permanent bid card; this tells the company your domicile preference. The bids will be awarded in seniority order.  If you do not request a base, the company will assign you to a base.  A flight attendant on leave of absence should fill out a permanent bid change, but it won’t take effect until the return from the leave of absence.  Because the event is a base closure or reduction, moving expenses (when properly requested) will be paid for all flight attendants whether or not a bid card is completed.

If a FA from a base closing in 2017 puts in a permanent base bid effective when the base closes, yet decides something different in the earlier monthly domicile base bids, will they forfeit their moving expenses? Yes, they would. The FA is voluntarily changing bases prior to the base closure and therefore is not eligible for moving expenses.

When can the MDT FAs bid for their new bases? At this time the timeline for bidding looks like this:

? Base Closure Bid (closes on December 22nd, 2016) – This bid will only be for the MDT and a few SBY FAs as a result of the base closure and base reduction in SBY.  FAs in MDT and those affected by the reduction can bid for PHL or ROA.

What domicile can I bid for?  You are allowed to bid for any domicile that Piedmont has at the time of the base closing (except the closing domicile, of course).  Piedmont will open enough vacancies at all other domiciles equaling at least 10% of the number of flight attendants currently at that base or the number of vacancies created by the movement of flying to that base, whichever is greater. So, if the total number of flight attendants in a specific crew base is 50 (for example ROA ), ten percent is 5 openings in ROA, which means there need to be 5 openings made available.  Therefore, if your seniority will allow it, you will be able to go to that base if you desire. For EXAMPLE:  You are based in MDT, and you want to transfer to ROA.  The Company will open up 5 vacancies in ROA (at least 10%).  If none of the flying is going to ROA, then that will be the minimum number of openings for ROA.  If you are number 6 in MDT and 5 flight attendants senior to you bid ROA, you will have to plan on going to another crew base until your seniority is high enough to get you an opening in ROA.  Make sure you bid accordingly.  If extra flying is going to ROA, then being #6 would get you into ROA as the number of openings would have to be higher.  If enough bids are not received in one location, such as PHL, and more flying is going there than is covered by the FAs that bid for it, then the most Jr. FA in the location where the flying is coming from, will be involuntarily moved there to fill the vacancies.  Piedmont does not anticipate this happening, but we want to make you aware it could happen.

What about a FA on a medical leave?  A FA on a medical leave will need to submit her/his permanent bid card.  Only when she/he has a release to full duty from her/his doctor will the permanent bid card be enacted.  The CBA provides that if the base is closed, she/he may select any other domicile to transfer to. (Section 8.F.2.)  A person on a leave of absence does not take any of the 10% offered at each base.  For example, if there are 5 openings in ROA and 5 people on LOA want ROA, they could have it as well, if there is enough flying there, in addition to 5 people who are currently active.

When can a junior flight attendant be forced out of a crew base? A flight attendant can only be forced to move out of a crew base when the Company downsizes or closes the crew base.  When a job vacancy bid posting is offered, it will specifically state that a crew base is being reduced.  That is an indication that there may be forced moves.  This is the case for SBY, where there is a downsizing of 3 FAs.  

During a forced move, what expenses are covered and reimbursed?

  1. 21. B. 1.  (Page 21-1) Actual costs to move your personal belongings up to 12,000 pounds on normal working days (for the movers). 
  2. 21. B. 2.  (Page 21-1) The cost to move two (2) personal vehicles registered to the flight attendant and their spouse/or domestic partner. The reimbursement rate is 35 cents per mile or any other work group’s reimbursement rate, whichever is higher.
  3. 21. B. 3.  (Page 21-2) Lease termination assistance. If unsuccessful, the company will pay a broken lease penalty, not to exceed one (1) month’s rent.
  4. 21. B. 4. (Page 21-3)  $350 paid to FA to defray relocation costs. Also, FA can request a cash advance in writing, max of $700, to be repaid via payroll deduction in 3 months (6 paychecks). Request the $350 right away from Inflight Services.
  5. 21. B. 5 (page 21-2) Per diem of 3 days x ($1.70 x 24 hours) based on distance of the move for each moved member (self, spouse, each child, 50% for child under 12 as applicable) PLUS up to 3 additional days per diem once at your new domicile or until arrival of household effects, whichever comes first. This is based on 400 land miles per day.  This means if you’re moving 1200 miles you get 3 days per diem PLUS an additional 3 days per diem following the arrival at the new domicile or until household effects are delivered, whichever comes first.
  6. 21. B.5 (page 21-2) Reasonable hotel costs for up to 3 days (based on 400 land miles per day).  The FA must pay for the rooms and the cost will be reimbursed with receipt to the company.
  7. 21. B.7. (Page 21-2)  $300 for hook-up and termination of gas, electric, telephone and household appliances. Receipts will be required.
  8. 21. E. (Page 21-3) Two round trip passes space available-company business (SA-2) for the FA and family between the FA’s former domicile and the new domicile.

How do I get reimbursement for my expenses?  Once your new crew base has been determined, you will need to contact Mandy McGuigan or Nina Yli-Piipari in writing to make arrangements for your reimbursements and move. Do this in writing: either fax, letter or email.  Please read your contract first before contacting to be sure you understand your rights.   Please follow the guidelines below to provide proper documentation and receive prompt attention for reimbursement.

Anything comated or mailed to any other individual than those referenced above (Mandy or Nina) WILL NOT be handled promptly and, maybe, not at all.  It is not the Company’s responsibility to track down improper submissions.  Provide the correct information the first time, in writing, with receipts, and you will have your claim paid promptly.  Make copies of everything you send to SBY for your records.

  1. Moving your household goods – Determine if and when you are going to move.  If so, do some research on who you would like to do the move with a couple different estimates.  Call Mandy or Nina with the information and they will work with you on the move.  Verify your request and conversation in writing. Mandy or Nina will make contact with the agreed upon moving company and set up payment and approval for your move.  Arrangements for the actual move dates will be made between the FA and the movers.  Payment of the move will be made directly to the moving company by Piedmont.  Plan on at least 2-3 weeks notice to schedule the move. 
  2. Personal vehicles – Keep your actual mileage for moving each car, and provide a written request for mileage reimbursement. Any car you ask for moving of, needs to be registered in the FAs or their spouse/domestic partner’s name.
  3. Lease termination assistance – Mandy or Nina will need a copy of your lease and a written request from the FA requesting assistance in terminating the lease.  PDT will attempt to terminate the lease for you.  If unsuccessful, and payment will need to be made to terminate the lease, a check will be issued by the company directly to the landlord.
  4. $350 to defray relocation costs – Request for this money must be made in writing specifically to Mandy or Nina.  Include a statement that you are requesting Section 21. B. 4. and give your name and address that the money is to be sent to.  This money is taxed.
  5. $700 cash advance – Request must be in writing to Mandy or Nina. 
  6. Per diem – Information must be provided to Mandy or Nina, in writing, as to the specific day(s) you traveled to your new crew base (include mileage covered), and the number of family members traveling with you.
  7. Hotel costs – After driving 400 miles, a FA is eligible for a hotel.  The company will reimburse the cost of the hotel with submission of a receipt and a request for reimbursement.  (Keep a copy).
  8. $300 for hookups and terminations of electricity, phone, etc. – Copies of actual bills (receipts) and proof of payment must be provided in writing with a request for reimbursement. The company will then issue a check to the FA.  Please provide correct name and address where the check is to be sent. OR, if necessary, payment may be made directly to the utility company by the Company.  This specific situation must be worked out with Mandy or Nina in advance.

Can an eligible flight attendant receive moving expenses from a location other than the closed domicile?

 Yes, however, the Company will not pay more than the cost for moving from the closed domicile to the new domicile. For example, a flight attendant is based in SBY, but lives in SYR. She is moving to her new base ROA.   The Company will pay to move the flight attendant from SYR to ROA (555 miles), however they will only reimburse the costs as if the flight attendant had moved from SBY-ROA (364 miles).

Can a flight attendant negotiate with the company and agree to an amount to be paid to the Flight Attendant for a move in lieu of the expenses set forth in this section? Yes. (21.G, page 21-3). However, AFA recommends that you confirm any request and settlement in writing and provide a reasonable date for receipt of the check. For example, ask that the check be received no later than ________ (about two weeks from request is suggested), and that you thoroughly evaluate the cost of the move before any agreement. Include correct name, address and employee number.  Please remember, there is no requirement that the company come to any type of agreement. The intention behind this language is to pay for a move that has actually occurred. Actual receipts proving an actual move will insure the best results.

Will the company provide reimbursement for storage of my household goods until I actually move? No. The contract only provides reimbursement for the actual move.

Do I have to move in order to get moving days?

No.  Every flight attendant who is force moved is eligible for moving days.

When does a flight attendant request her/his five (5) consecutive moving days? During the monthly bidding process or agreed to in advance with the Director of Inflight. In order to get the BEST result and the specific days requested, agree on the days prior to bidding with Inflight.  Then you will know when you are bidding what days you are guaranteed.  If you do not get the days agreed on prior to bidding, and you just write them on your bid request, you are taking your chances and will likely not get the days you want or the line you expect.  Move days can be applied to days off.  Any trips that are touching the move days will drop out without pay.

Are moving days like vacation?  Do they slide to touch a trip?

NO.  Moving days are fixed and consecutive.  They can touch trips or days off.  Once moving days are mutually agreed, they will be on those days – whether it is a trip day or a day off.  AFA recommends that you get the days mutually agreed in writing prior to your bid so that when you are bidding you will know how the days will impact touching trips. Remember to write the move days on your bid.

How long do I have to take moving days?

18 months.

How long will a flight attendant be eligible for moving expenses? 

18 months.

Can I take moving days in February 2017 to get my arrangements set up for my crash pad or new home?

Piedmont management has stated they don’t foresee doing any moves in February.  The move days will take place after the base closure and reduction.  However, if someone has a mover lined up, they have offered to work with the employee(s) as the needs arise. A FA will need to have the conversation with Inflight to determine the steps moving forward.     

What happens if a FA requests moving days and they are not awarded? Refer to page 21-3.  If requested moving days are not awarded, the flight attendant will be considered out of domicile starting with the first day of the “requested” moving slot. This entitles the FA to travel expenses from Section 6 (company paid accommodation and 24 hour per diem) until the moving days are granted.  For example: A FA requests moving days on 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. If the Company denies the moving days and awards them on the 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, the flight attendant is eligible for a hotel room and 24 hour per diem until the 10th.  If the company does not award any days at all, the FA will receive per diem and hotel until the start of the move days.

Moving days are by mutual agreement with Crew Scheduling.  What does this mean?  Here is how this works:

  1. All requests must be in writing regardless of when they are requested.

  2. Moving days requested prior to the bid shall be submitted to Inflight or Flight Support.  Days will be mutually agreed on between Inflight and the FA and will be non-movable.  During the bid, the agreed upon move days will be placed on the FA schedule as requested, dropping trips if necessary. Make sure to write the move days on your bid.

  3. Moving days requested during the bid on the bid sheet (however not agreed in writing with Inflight prior) – These days will attempt to be awarded mutually with Flight Support, however they are not guaranteed.

  4. Moving days requested after the finals and during the bid month should be requested from Crew Scheduling.  Crew Scheduling will work to accommodate the FA request, but nothing is guaranteed.  A conversation should ensue between Crew Scheduling and the FA after the submission in writing to get mutual agreement on the move days awarded and trips dropped.

    What if the moving days touch a trip?  Will the FA be pay protected for the dropped trip?  Yes and no.  The flight attendant will not necessarily be paid for the dropped trips, however, during the moving day month, the flight attendant’s minimum monthly guarantee will be protected (72 hour guarantee/75 if holding a reserve line).

    Does the flight attendant qualify for super seniority during a moving day month?  Yes.  The eligible flight attendants will have super seniority along with those flight attendants in a training month.  Flight Support will determine the seniority of the eligible FA’s and then trip adjustments will be considered. The flight attendant MUST improve the value of her/his line, since the purpose of super seniority is to recover lost time due to the moving days impact.  Make sure to write “Super Seniority” on your 48 hours request in the comment section.

    Will Piedmont keep paying for parking in MDT/SBY in exchange for the cost of parking at another domicile?  

    Piedmont management has stated they will contact the MDT and SBY airports about continued parking in these locations as they do not cost anything

    .

Vacation – Section 5

Piedmont & AFA are working on what will happen with each FAs vacation at this time.  It is anticipated that the FAs will be able to keep all their vacation as bid in the 2017 vacation bids.  More details will follow from AFA and PDT on this topic.

Unemployment Questions:

The company is closing my crew base.   I will be resigning from the company because I chose to not commute or move. Am I eligible for unemployment? Whether or not a flight attendant qualifies for unemployment is determined by the State.  After inquiry we have learned that if your place of employment has closed and another place of employment is not available within 50 miles of the closing domicile, an individual can qualify for unemployment benefits. Each unemployment claim filed is handled on an individual basis. Please contact unemployment benefit services in your area for further information.

What will I need if I apply for unemployment? You need pay stubs from the last year of employment (whether Piedmont or prior employer), and your social security number. Double check on this with your local unemployment office.

What if my domicile closes and I try to commute for a few months and it doesn’t work out? Am I eligible for unemployment benefits? Each case that is filed for unemployment benefits is evaluated individually. Information provided on the unemployment application should clearly state that your place of work was closed. The company’s role in the unemployment process is to verify the information provided. As long as the information contained on the unemployment application is truthful, the company has stated that they will not contest the claim. The final determination will be up to the unemployment office.  Normally, once 30 days has passed, the employee is considered to have accepted the new employment and location.


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