Status of Class Action Grievance and Arbitration

On Tuesday of this past week, the Union and Company arbitrated before the System Board of Adjustment the Class Action Grievance that was filed over the Company’s attempt to strip away cabin-safety duties from Flight Attendants on certain long-distance flights with augmented pilot crews.  The neutral Chairperson of the System Board was Arbitrator, David Twomey, and the Union Members of the System Board were NJA Flight Attendant, Andrew Collis, and Teamsters Local 284 President, Mark Vandak.  Also in attendance at the hearing were FAEC Members, Darcey Kniseley and Jill Mawdsley.

     The dispute arose earlier this year when the Company sent an email to Flight Attendants stating that it intended to strip away cabin-safety duties from Flight Attendants on certain flights in response to an FAA memorandum that addressed the applicability of 14 CFR §135.273, duty period limitations and rest time requirements, to voluntarily-assigned flight attendants. In the memorandum, the FAA ruled that:

 if an operator voluntarily assigns individuals to a crew on a part 135 operation and assigns cabin-safety-related responsibilities to those individuals during flight time, then those individuals are “flight attendants” for purposes of §135.273.  Because the duty and rest provisions of §135.273 apply to individuals who meet the “flight attendant” definition of §135.273(a), the FAA concluded that flight attendants who are assigned to a flight, in addition to the minimum crew complement, are subject to the flight, duty, and rest rules of §135.273.
     A decision in the case is expected in the next 60-90 days, and we will keep the membership informed of any additional developments.