In the airline industry, contracts under the Railway Labor Act do not “expire” at a set time. They become “amendable” and renew year after year. This means that there are no immediate consequences to not reaching an agreement: the workers cannot strike and management cannot impose work rules. As a result, negotiations can be short, but more often than not they can be long and drawn out.
Some of you may recall it recently took the pilots 24 months to reach an agreement with the company. They began direct negotiations with the company in March 2015 and entered into Federal Mediation in December 2015. The pilots had almost a singular priority for their negotiations: wages.
By comparison, we have a number of priorities and we are fighting back against several concessions that management is demanding. During our 22 months of direct negotiations (January 2017 – October 2018) time was taken away for the Japan Airlines Code Share/Joint Venture agreement and the Boeing 787-9 New Equipment negotiations. This stopped Section 6 negotiations. That is why we demanded and insisted that those negotiations include items that immediately benefited all of us – such as the March 2018 3% signing bonus.
We did not want to take time out from these negotiations to work on the Joint Venture and 787-9 agreements. However, management threatened to cancel the 787-9 order, which is really in the long-term best interest of everyone at Hawaiian Airlines, if we did not immediately engage in the 787-9 talks.
After the 787-9 agreement there was a marked lack of responsiveness from the management in negotiations. They were slow to respond to proposals and engage in substantive and informed discussions of the issues. This led us to file for Federal Mediation. We’ve been in mediation for nine (9) months, since November 2018 and have seen some progress.
Everyone needs to understand that management will not be swayed at the bargaining table just by our arguments. They are hungry for concessions. Our leverage is the collective force of ALL Hawaiian Flight Attendants standing up and saying “Enough is Enough!” No more Delay! We must show them we are unified and we will do that through ACTION!