Joint Contract Negotiations Update – Oct 19, 2012

The Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) has just wrapped up two full weeks of negotiations preparation in Chicago. As we briefly reported to you last week, we have been researching our respective Contract provisions and industry practices.

In order to more thoroughly address the work, the nine of us have divided ourselves into three sub-committees, made up of one member from each carrier.

Using Crew Meals as an example:

The sub-committee reviews the Contract provisions on Crew Meals for each airline. How are they provided? When are then provided? How many meals, or are there meals at all? The next step is to then review how our colleagues at other airlines are provided Crew Meals. The sub-committee goes through all of your thoughts on Crew Meals if you submitted them via AFA surveys or calls for Proposals. All of this background and information is used to compile a list of interests with respect to how Crew Meals will be addressed in the new Contract.

Conditions or situations like long duty days or days with multiple legs – without a chance to eat are examples of “interests” which we would want to solve. The sub-committee then puts together a list of options which would improve or change existing Contract language or practices, such as more meals, better meals, adjusting the circumstances which call for Crew Meals. These are just a few of the many “options” that the sub-committee would generate.

When the sub-committee reaches this point of its work it reports back to the entire JNC. The nine of us review the list of options the sub-committee generated for Crew Meals, and may add more or make modifications. The JNC then goes through all the options to see which ones we have consensus on. As a matter of practice we have agreed “consensus” means all nine of us agree. After this review, the sub-committee takes the options which the JNC has reached consensus on and writes the Contract language which will provide the improvements and changes we are trying to achieve. The final step in this process is for the JNC to review the proposed Contract language and approve it. We have found this process to be helpful in getting our work done.

The JNC’s decision to work in sub-committee was obviously designed to help us more quickly work through the countless sections and subjects in each of our Contracts. However, you can see it is still a great deal of work. We have found that some subjects, like Crew Meals, are simple to address, others which we are currently researching will be a lot harder.

Despite the inherent differences and complications some of our current provisions present, the JNC is committed to using the process we have just described as a tool to get the best understanding possible of Flight Attendants’ interests and our options to meet them.

The sub-committees will continue to work through our assigned subjects in preparation for our next meeting together in the beginning of November.

We have confirmed with United management that our next negotiations session will take place in Chicago the first week of December.