President of TEAMSTERS LOCAL 284,
Responds to Maratto’s Email
Dear NJA Flight Attendants,
2014 is a milestone year for NJA Flight Attendants. Last month, your Union filed an application for mediation with the National Mediation Board (NMB). We were the first of the four NJA unionized groups to file. Unless something changes drastically, it is doubtful that we will be the last. Local 284, the FAEC and your Negotiating Committee made the decision because senior management’s unrealistic bargaining goals have thus far prevented us from reaching an agreement on a new contract. In the coming weeks, the NMB will appoint a mediator and contact the negotiating teams to schedule future bargaining sessions. We will keep you informed of all developments. We previously posted an overview of the mediation process on Flight Line and it can also be viewed on the website. http://netjetsflightattendants.com/ Flight Line — 12/15/13 Please review it so that you understand the process ahead of us. In this announcement, I would like to discuss in greater detail what management is really trying to do to Flight Attendants in bargaining and why it won’t work.
Despite the impression management tried to create in its most recent propaganda email (“FA Collective Bargaining and Mediation Update,” 12/23/13), the decision to file for mediation at this time was made by your Union leadership alone; it was not a joint decision with management. In fact, management repeatedly stated that it opposed filing for mediation. It was only after the Union told management that a final decision had been made and the Union was going to file for mediation that management accepted the Union’s offer to file a so-called joint application. Since there is no legal difference between a joint application for mediation and an application filed by one party alone, the Union had previously told management that it would offer to file jointly if the Union determined mediation was the best course of action. Nonetheless, based on management’s previous opposition to mediation, it is fair to assume that had your Union not decided to file for mediation, senior management would have been content to bargain for another three years without reaching an agreement all the while paying lip service to the urgency of its unrealistic bargaining goals.
To date, senior management has adopted a common communications strategy used by companies that are attacking employees’ pay, benefits and working conditions: blame union negotiators for everything in an attempt to distract employees’ attention from the truly rotten nature of management’s own contract proposals. Local 284 has seen this sort of thing many times before. It’s nothing new and it doesn’t work when employees see through it. In the future, senior management will try different approaches, including the so-called carrot/stick approach; the good cop/bad cop approach; and the team/opponent approach. They will tell you that you will be rewarded in the future for taking cuts now (carrot approach). They will tell you that the very future of the Company depends upon Flight Attendants agreeing to management’s proposals (the stick approach). They will tell you that NJA (good cop) doesn’t want to impose cuts, but Berkshire Hathaway (bad cop) demands a greater return on investment. They will tell you that senior management and Flight Attendants are all in this together (the team) and that the Union (the opponent) doesn’t care about what happens to the Company or you. We will discuss variations on these themes in future announcements, but you get the point. At this stage of bargaining, management will say anything, no matter how desperate it appears, to get you to start thinking about these negotiations on their terms.
Make no mistake; senior management’s bargaining goals are the problem, not your Flight Attendant negotiators and not you. No amount of senior management spin can change the fact that they are launching an all-out assault on your pay, benefits and working conditions. Take health, dental and vision insurance, as an example. Step 1 of senior management’s attack is to seize control of your insurance benefits. Step 2 is to shift a portion of the cost of insurance directly to individual Flight Attendants by deducting a percentage of insurance premiums from your paycheck and/or cuts in benefits and/or increases in out of pocket expenditures when you go to your doctor, clinic, hospital and/or pharmacy. Step 3 is to eliminate contractual language that would prevent senior management from imposing further benefits cuts and/or taking more money out of your paycheck for insurance. The Company is employing a similar 3-pronged attack against your retirement benefits. Step 1 – seize control of the 401(k) Plan for Unionized Crewmembers. Step 2 – remove contractual protections against a reduction in 401(k) matching contributions. Step 3 – reserve the right to make additional reductions to your retirement benefits in the future.
At the same time senior management is declaring war on Flight Attendants’ health care and retirement, they are also proposing in all seriousness to replace a substantial portion of guaranteed salary increases with the so-called profit sharing scheme that applies to non-union NJA employees. Linking your take home pay to senior management’s profit sharing scheme is very dangerous; profitability is determined by a variety of factors over which Flight Attendants have no control (e.g., aircraft purchases, maintenance costs, senior management compensation, sales and marketing strategies, inventory, overhead, etc.). If that isn’t reason enough to be skeptical, this so-called profit sharing plan doesn’t guarantee that you will receive a single dollar in additional pay even when the Company is profitable, let alone the thousands of dollars it may take just to make up for the income you lose as a result of senior management’s health care and retirement proposals. Finally – you might need to read this twice in order to believe what you are reading – you lose eligibility for a profit sharing check if you take more than 5 sick days or receive any discipline, which could include even a verbal warning. And just in case you thought they weren’t out to break the unity of Flight Attendants and all unionized groups at NJA, senior management also demands the right to discharge you for refusing to cross the lawful picket lines of NJA pilots or other employees who may be protesting the very concessions management seeks to impose on you and your family.
Not surprisingly, senior management has struggled to articulate a justification for its vicious attack on your pay, benefits and working conditions. Double talk has become the new normal at NJA. On one hand, senior management likes to tell us that NJA is “unique” compared to every other airline and business in America. At the same time, the Company that used to pride itself on raising the bar now desperately points to the increasing portion of health insurance costs paid for by the average American worker to support its own regressive bargaining demands. Senior managers invite you and your family to join the race to the bottom, never mind NJA’s profitability and the undeniable fact that buying power of its customer base is at historic levels. Indeed, senior management has the gall to demand a 5% reduction in Flight Attendant labor costs, as well as a 5% reduction in labor costs from the other unionized employee groups, when NJA is posting profits and its current and potential U.S. customer base have taken the largest share of total U.S. income since the 1920s. There is a word for what senior management is doing and that word is “greed.”
That senior management continues to send out an endless stream of patronizing messages chastising your Union negotiators in a failed effort to sell concessionary proposals indicates how far out of touch they are with the priorities of the Flight Attendants. But don’t be fooled; there is a method to their madness. Ultimately, senior management is trying to break your will, demoralize you and cause you to turn on your Union and fellow Flight Attendants. The end game is to wear you down to the point where you are willing to make massive concessions today that can’t be undone tomorrow. Theirs is an ill-conceived approach to negotiations and it won’t work. To the contrary, senior management has recklessly placed NJA on a collision course with its unionized employees. What is happening in Flight Attendant bargaining is also happening in bargaining with other Local 284 represented groups. Senior management’s unrealistic bargaining goals have undermined negotiations with the Mechanics and Related Employees and Stock Clerks, the Maintenance Controllers and the Flight Dispatchers. NJASAP, the pilot’s union, reports that senior management’s bargaining goals, which mirror what we have seen in our negotiations, have met with a similar level of initial disbelief followed by categorical rejection. It is not unrealistic to believe all four groups may be in mediation and moving further through the major dispute process in 2014. Senior management must change course if an escalating conflict is to be avoided.
Mediation can serve as an opportunity to reset negotiations on a different course, one that rewards rather than punishes Flight Attendants for providing world class service. We will approach mediation with an open mind while remaining true to our core principles and serving the best interests of the Flight Attendants that we represent. It is important that every Flight Attendant remain strong in the face of this unprecedented attack on our pay, benefits and working conditions. We have one of the best contracts in aviation and we aren’t going to stand by and let anyone dismantle it. If you stand with your Union, we can and will succeed. If you have any questions, please contact an FAEC or Negotiating Committee member.
Paul Suffoletto, President Teamsters Local 284
TEAMSTERS Local 284 and the FAEC settle Class Action Grievance #009-2013
Teamsters Local 284 and the FAEC are happy to report that there has been a settlement reached on the Class Action Grievance (CAG) filed in early November concerning the Letters of Investigation sent to 93 Flight Attendants over expense reports. The settlement agreement can be viewed at www.netjetsflightattendants.com. As previously reported, the Union filed the grievance because the letters to Flight Attendants appeared to require Flight Attendants to respond, i.e., perform duty, while in rest. In the settlement, the Company agreed that Flight Attendants are not obligated to complete a Company Letter of Investigation while in Prospective Rest, as that term is defined in subsection 3.35 of the 2006 Basic Agreement. The parties also agreed that Flight Attendants who are not in Prospective Rest are required, upon receipt of a Company Letter of Investigation, to be responsive; provided, a Flight Attendant may request, and the Company will not unreasonably withhold, a reasonable extension of the response deadline for good cause. Please remember that you are not obligated in anyway to read or respond to Company emails, including Letters of Investigation, while off duty, but if you choose to, you should be responsive, or request additional time to respond if needed. Also, always contact an FAEC member if you receive a Letter of Investigation.
DYK Contract Education
by Jill Mawdsley, FAEC
In the coming months we would like to encourage you to get to know your current contract better. With this in mind, we will be introducing a new section in Flight Line about language in the contract that applies to your day to day work here at NetJets and also very specific situations that you may encounter during your career.
DYK (Did You Know?) will present situations we are hearing from the road and show you how the contract language applies. Each month we will try to bring the contract to you in a practical, applicable way. In preparation for the new DYK section, we encourage to become more familiar with Sections 19 and 28 (Scheduling and Hours of Service respectfully). If you need a copy of the current CBA, please click the link to download or contact a FAEC member for a hard copy.
CBA Link on left side of page
PBI Crew Food Menu Peak Period —> Sun., Jan. 5th
Due to flight volume surrounding peak period and departure volume at KPBI, there will be a select menu available for crew meals ordered for flights at the NetJets Facility on Sunday, January 5. Please be sure to choose from the select menu options for all meals during this time period. If you expect to receive a meal in this location, you must enter a request on your blackberry.
B1 Breakfast Burrito
B2 Breakfast Frittata
B4 Granola and Berry Parfait
L1a Mixed Grill
L6a Peanut Butter and Jelly on Wheat
L8b (Chx) Chicken Caprese Panini
L8d (Fish) Blackened Mahi Caesar
L8e (Veg) Quinoa Salad
D8b (Chix) Chicken Parmesan
D8f (Fish) Salmon Croquettes
D8g (Low Fat) Teriyaki Beef Skewers
D7c (Veg) Black Bean (Vegetarian) Fajita
Please review the correct procedure on your BlackBerry under the N icon, Communications, BlackBerry instructions, crew food pre-ordered event. We always appreciate any feedback to help improve the crew and owner catering experience. If you have any immediate needs or issues, please send them to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com.
Have you registered on the new FA Message Board?
You can only register under your given name (no aliases) at netjetsflightattendants.com — click Message Board — and follow the instructions. If you have problems registering, contact the FAEC by email. The Message Board is a grand place to dialogue with peers, exchange information, find folks to vacation swap, and talk about issues, challenges, and offer solutions from work on the road.
As always, we encourage you to FLY SAFELY and BY THE CONTRACT. Our email address and phone numbers are listed below. Plug them into your phones, and call any of us if you have issues on the road.
Your FAEC and IBT Local 284
Michael Zois 386-402-5588
JoDelle Burwell 816-665-6023
Jill Mawdsley 940-230-1779
Darcy Jameson 850-933-9555
Paul Suffoletto, Teamsters 614-348-1040
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