After nearly eight years of negotiations, one failed tentative agreement, base closures, and ongoing furloughs, ExpressJet flight attendants have another IAM-negotiated tentative agreement (TA) to consider.
Since the 2011 merger of Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) and ExpressJet, flight attendants have remained on two separate seniority lists with different work rules, pay and benefits. In July 2018, the majority of the combined ExpressJet flight attendants rejected the first IAM-supported tentative agreement, which would have resulted in a combined seniority list.
If ratified, the current four-year TA would at long last combine the two seniority lists and offer legacy ExpressJet flight attendants their first pay rate increase since 2009. Pay rates would increase 5% on date of signing, with annual increases of 3%, 1%, and 1%. While some favorable work rule changes and benefits are included, flight attendants must take into account negotiated work rules that align trip trading into a first-come, first served basis, place limits on medical leave, and integrate the respective reserve programs.
There is a “lump sum” payment to resolve two outstanding grievances, but it only applies to eligible legacy-ExpressJet flight attendants. A short-term furlough protection clause is also included in the TA, however, it expires on October 31, 2019 and applies only to flight attendants active as of the date of ratification of the TA. It is unclear if flight attendants recently notified of an impending furlough effective April 2019 fall under the short-term “furlough protection” in the TA.
In December 2011, IAM was elected to represent the combined group of 2,300 flight attendants. Since then, the flight attendant ranks have steadily dwindled by more than 50% leaving just 947 flight attendants to consider yet another IAM-supported tentative agreement.
The IAM is limiting the voting window for the tentative agreement to six days, and flight attendants are required to vote in-person. Results are scheduled to be released the week of April 8th.