JNC Update – Jul. 26, 2013

Why Are Negotiations Taking So Long?

While each negotiation is different, more often than not, they take a substantial amount of time.  When you consider the complexity of creating one successor Contract from three separate Contracts, it most definitely will not be easy or quick.

Quick and easy, however, are not what we’re after–our goal is the worlds best Flight Attendant Contract, containing improvements to pay, scheduling, quality of life, benefits, and job protections. Determining what those improvements will look like is a necessarily slow and meticulous process.

It’s also imperative that, wherever possible, we preserve the history associated with the existing language in our Contracts, because it carries with it years of precedent on how that language has been applied, and provides the foundation for how it will be applied going forward.  United would like to “start fresh,” with new language, but look at how well that’s worked with the pilots and other groups who are now experiencing difficulty regarding the interpretation of new Contract language on any number of issues.

More often than not, negotiations also begin at a slower pace and gain momentum over time. Long negotiation periods can benefit management, because the longer the time before accepting improvements in the Contract, the longer they get to go without paying for those improvements.  Moreover, when negotiations take a greater amount of time, the more frustrated the Membership becomes. Management hopes that they can stall us into agreeing to settle for less.

If our goal was simply to end negotiations as quickly as possible, we could have a new Contract by tomorrow. But it would be on management’s terms, not our own. And frankly, that’s just unacceptable. That’s not what the JNC has heard that you want, from the calls for proposals, surveys, and meetings they have held to gather your feedback. Quite the opposite, in fact: while individuals may differ on certain specifics, our collective voice is calling for a Contract that sets the bar higher, one that improves our benefits and protections. It calls for us to not settle for anything but the best.

Understanding that negotiations take time, our negotiations are no exception.  Part of the perception that management hopes to foster is that they’re taking longer than necessary or longer than they really are.  Consider the following:

Taking a look at where we find ourselves today:

  1. The first step was concluding Section 6 Negotiations for the three Flight Attendant Contracts.
  2. Next, our JNC began the work on establishing the subjects that will be negotiated in the creation of our new successor Contract, which is based on our current Contracts.
  3. The JNC is currently negotiating on 26+ subjects, while continuing the work to conclude the remaining subjects on which we will negotiate.

To add additional perspective:

  1. The JNC first met with management on December 4, 2012 (just over 7 months ago).
  2. We have engaged in 8 total Direct Negotiations Sessions with management
  3. We have spent 37 total days Negotiating at the bargaining table
  4. We have reached 3 Tentative Agreements

So, while we may be frustrated by the slow pace of negotiations, we have made significant progress and will continue to do so the further we go in the process.

Whether you are content with the status quo or want changes tomorrow, it’s important that you remain engaged and informed, so that when the time comes to make a decision about your future, you do so with confidence and assuredness.

United may say “It’s Our Job,” but we know “It’s Our Contract.”

In Solidarity and Unity,

Your Joint Communication Committee

Negotiations to Date

8 Total Direct Negotiations Sessions with Management
37 Total Days Negotiating at the Bargaining Table
26 Total Subjects for New Agreement (as of April 5, 2013)
3 Tentative Agreements Reached with Management

Events and Trainings

Council 21 (DCA, IAD and BWI) and Council 62 (IAD, EWR and SFO) O.N.E. Training
Date: August 15, 2013
Time: 1100–1500
Location: IAD Conference Room A across from Baggage Claim
For More Information: Contact your Local Council for more details.

Council 21 (DCA, IAD and BWI) and Council 62 (IAD, EWR and SFO) Social Event
Date: August 15, 2013
Time: 1600–1900
Location: Macaroni Grill, Dulles Town Center
For More Information: Contact your Local Council for more details.

Council 65 (GUM) Social Event
Date: August 24, 2013
Time: 1100-1800
Location: Matapang Beach Park (down the beach from layover hotel)
Details: BBQ meats, rice and soft drinks will be provided.  Potluck style donations are welcome, but not required.
For More Information: Contact Jose C. Torres, Council 65 MEC Secretary at 671 858-0271 or via email at josectorres88@hotmail.com