DATE: Tuesday, April 7, 2020
SUBJECT: Negotiated Agreements
We are living in unprecedented times right now, but it is important to inform you about some of the positive changes that your 577 Leadership has been vigilantly working on. The airline industry we all knew just a month ago, is no longer the same and it will take months, if not a year, to recover. With that said, this pandemic and the economic effects from it will bring many more changes to the industry. Although these changes may seem difficult, we are all in this together and we will have to adapt to the changes that are to come.
Throughout these difficult times, we have been able to negotiate and work on behalf of our members in many areas of improvement. As many of you know, negotiation points vary from airline to airline to see what works best for their Flight Attendants. Parts of our negotiated agreements may seem better or worse to some members; it is very important to look at the totality of all agreements combined as they are interrelated to create a complete picture. On that note, below you can read a few highlights and important information to all TWU Local 577 members.
Most carriers were unable to bid for their schedules for the month of April and then 'only' received Guarantee or Less for this month during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our pay for the month of April is above industry standard given the practice of guarantee applied at other carriers during this pandemic.
Some carriers offered Voluntary Leave with or without Pay weeks before the pandemic escalated in the United States. Your TWU577 Executive Board negotiated the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for Voluntary Short Term Leave (VSTL) with 40 hours paid and benefits (partial paid by employee) that was announced on March 30, 2020. This was very beneficial for our membership during these very difficult and uncertain times.
Your Executive Board was also able to reach a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with regards to Open Time for the month of April. All Flights that the company deems will 'not' be cancelled will be dropped into Open Time 72 hours before the trip. They will not be assigned to a Reserve (R) until 10am the following day. During this Open Time window, Trip(s) that are in the process of being canceled, and not available, may appear as ‘shaded’ in the Open Time trade board. Once the cancelation process is complete for the Trip(s), they will no longer be visible as ‘shaded’ and will not be assigned to a Reserve (R).
Due to the dramatic drop in flying in many Domicile(s), the Company will 'not' assign Airport Standby (AS) for any periods when NO flight activity is scheduled for that day in that domicile. This AS clause is extended through May 31, 2020. This was a big win as it enhances the safety priority that Flight Attendants should not needlessly need to expose themselves by leaving their house.
For those of you who participated in the Company’s Town Hall today, we would like to clarify some information that was given regarding Unemployment benefits. The company’s position about not qualifying for unemployment, while on voluntary leave, does not give you the full picture. Prior to the announcement in the Town Hall, the company never gave us a definitive answer whether they will contest unemployment. Keep in mind, unemployment is a process that varies in every state. Each states regulation determines the rules and qualifications of their program, it is not mandated by a company. The company’s roles is whether to contest the claim or not. Ultimately, the state will determine if you qualify for unemployment.
Lastly, we’ve had many instances over the last few years on TDY's, Charters and unscheduled layovers where hotels have required Crew Members to use their personal credit cards. This last Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) 'NO longer' requires Flight Attendants to use their own credit cards to secure rooms on layovers for incidentals. This is also a big win, especially now since we are all worried about our finances. The last thing right now is having our own money being placed on hold to satisfy this old practice.
With these agreements we have negotiated with the company, it is their responsibility to uphold the terms of each agreement and to communicate to the workgroup, in a clear and concise matter, how these agreements will be executed. If the union starts answering hypothetical questions, or to much detail on specific questions, we can be establishing the wrong intent and ultimately agreeing to non-negotiated items. Stay Healthy and Safe, we will get through this together.