January 11, 2018
Participants for AMFA:
Bret Oestreich – National Director
Earl Clark – Chairman and Region I Director
Jason Munson – Airline Representative, Local 14
Mark Dahl – Airline Representative, Local 32
Lucas Middlebrook – AMFA Counsel
Participants for Alaska Airlines:
Kurt Kinder – VP Maintenance & Engineering
Greg Mays – VP Labor Relations
Bob Hartnett – Director, Labor Relations Ground
Sonia Alvarado – Manager, Labor Services M&E
?Maranda Rosenthal – Alaska Counsel
AMFA and Alaska Airlines met in Dallas, Texas on January 2 and 3 to discuss a Virgin America – Alaska Airlines Transition Agreement. Our Committee started by explaining to the Company that before we would have any discussions on a Transition Agreement, we needed to make every effort outside of arbitration to resolve three contractual items recently taking up a lot of time and resources.
The first issue presented was Article 20, paragraph K, the exchange of sick leave hours for medical coverage. The Company is denying the use of this language to anyone retiring over the current Medicare eligible age of sixty-five (65) and needing medical coverage for a younger spouse and/or dependent. This language was negotiated in 2005 and the intent was that it could be used to bridge coverage for a retiree and/or spouse and dependents for up to five (5) years or when reaching Medicare age eligibility. After much discussion we believe we have a resolution. If retiring after the age eligible for Medicare and having a spouse and/or eligible dependents, you will be able to cash in twenty-five (25) hours at your current rate of pay for every month needed to cover a spouse and/or eligible dependents for up to five (5)years, or when reaching Medicare age eligibility. This will be in the form of lump sum cash payment. Once we have agreed to language, we will put out a Letter of Agreement (LOA) to amend the Article 20, paragraph K for membership approval.
The second issue discussed was the farming out of de-icing work, as AMFA does not believe the Company complied with the intent of Article 2, paragraph D. They did not provide any data for the reasoning for farming out de-icing in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and San Jose. We also believe they did not comply with LOA #9, that the Company would not use McGee Air Services for any services for work performed by AMFA. After a short, heated discussion both sides agreed we could not come to a resolution and we agreed to settle this breach of contract through arbitration.
The third issue discussed was a recently negotiated and agreed to benefit in our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for selling back vacation within LOA #12. When selling back vacation, the LOA requires the Company to provide for 401k match per Article 20, and would also allow you to deposit the total vacation buyback amount into your 401k. The Company now says that it is against IRS 401k laws and would jeopardize the plan. AMFA has consulted with our outside professional retirement firm and they are saying it is allowed if it is part of the plan document. After much discussion we have agreed to get our retirement consultants from Milliman and legal counsel to meet with the Company experts to determine the legality of LOA #12.
We then started discussing the Transition Agreement, which is a LOA to implement and comply with our CBA after integrating the Virgin America Technicians. This will happen after the National Mediation Board (NMB) has granted us single carrier status, when AMFA is determined to be the sole bargaining agent of both groups. As stated in previous updates, AMFA will not file for singe carrier status until the integrated seniority list and transition agreement are independently approved by both the AMFA-Alaska and Virgin America groups.
The remainder of the meeting was spent reviewing article by article to identify potential issues with implementation. Some of the issues identified have to do with:
- Information Technology (IT) – computer programing of the Virgin Technicians into our systems
- Shift and days off biding in stations where we have Technicians from both groups
- Vacation conversion for Virgin America Technicians
- Sick leave conversion for Virgin America Technicians
- Wage rules implementation
- Schedule A implementation for Virgin America Technicians
- Job security for all
There were no agreements made during this session and we are hopeful the Company will be providing us with a proposal at our next session. Our Committee felt the Company was very reluctant to open any articles of the agreement during this session, and we recognize this as something that will have to happen to achieve an agreement.
Our next session is scheduled for January 24 and 25 in Seattle, Washington.
AMFA Negotiating Committee