Thread: Substitution
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Old 02-03-2007, 09:57 PM
FX Bone Guy
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Joined APC: Jun 2005
Position: MD-11 FO
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Default The Long Version - Part 1

This is a good of place of any to post this lesson learned about Substitution, when I lost 22 hrs of pay. It's LONG, so skip it now if you don't want to read it and stop your wining.

I never grieved this with the union, because they told me not to. I probably should have any way....

/////// PART 1 /////////

SUBJECT: Letter of Grievance - July 02, Pairing #YY - Substitution Pay Issue
Sent in compliance with Collective Bargaining Agreement, Section 20.


On July 16, 2002, DC-10 pairing #XX was revised from a return to Memphis on a revenue flight on July 16th, to a deadhead return to Memphis on July 17th. This revision caused a conflict with pairing #YY, starting July 16th. The crew was placed in substitution status. Two days later, each of the crewmembers was offered a substitution trip, which was declined by each of them. According to the collective bargaining agreement, since pairing #YY had over 72 hours time away from base, the crew was entitled to 18 hours of pay towards their substitution guarantee, even though they declined the 19 July trip that was offered. Instead of paying the 18 credit hours due, the company paid 3 hours of pay at draft pay for overage.

Here is a summary of what happened. Background begins a week prior to grieved occurrence.

July 9th, 2002, approx 1530z – Crew is notified that the pairing they are currently on (#72) will be revised. The crew discovers this after block in at IND, on what should have been a quick hub-turn from EWR to IND to MEM. Reason for the revision – there is no aircraft.

July 9th, 2002, approx 1600z – Crew learns the revision is for them to jumpseat to MEM on the next FedEx flight out. There’s not enough time to accomplish this without delaying the flight. Crew notifies CRS they can’t make the flight. CRS revises the pairing to a deadhead to MEM that afternoon.

July 9th, 2002 – approx 1620z - Crew is placed on sub status because it is obvious they will not make the next scheduled pairing, #YY. Capt G. calls Crew Resources Scheduling (CRS) to discuss the situation. CRS offers a trip to all three crewmembers. This pairing, #1YY involves a deadhead from MEM to DFW on July 10th to operate out of AFW on July 11th, and picks up the scheduled flights, originally part of pairing #YY. All three crewmembers accept the pairing, and deviate on the front end of pairing #1YY and back end of pairing #1072 by deadheading from IND to DFW instead of going from IND to MEM to DFW. The crew works with CRS to arrange a hotel in DFW for the extra night.

July 16, 2002, approx 1530z – After arrival at IND, crew is notified that the pairing they are currently on (#72) will be revised. Pairing #72 contained a hub-turn between EWR and MEM at IND. Reason for the revision – there is no aircraft.

July 16th, 2002, approx 1600z – Crew learns the revision (now paring #2YY) is for them to go to the Holiday Inn, and deadhead to MEM the next morning (July 17th). Capt G. speaks with CRS about the situation, asks about substitution. CRS advises that the crew is in substitution status, because of conflict between current pairing #1072 and the next pairing #YY, with initial window from 1620z to 2400z. CRS advises there is no trip for them at this time.

July 16th, 2002, approx 1630z – Capt G. calls ALPA to discuss the situation. ALPA

July 16th, 2002, approx 1900z – Capt G. and F/O H. proceed to the airport, and accomplish a back-side deviation, and fly to their repective homes.

July 16th, 2002, approx 1900z – S/O G. calls ALPA contract administration to ensure that he’s reading the contract correctly. The ALPA contract enforcement paralegal personnel are in a conference and not available. The questions is directed to a volunteer pilot. NAME? S/O G. and NAME? Read through the contract together, and look at letters of agreement, and the flow chart and letter produced by Capt S. (who helped write the section on substitution) which is posted on the ALPA website. (See attachment NUMBER 1) S/O G. and NAME? agree that the situation here entails 18 credit hours of substitution guarantee, whether G. accepts the a substitution trip given during the next sub window or not.

July 17 – Believing he is fulfilling a requirement in the contract (paragraph 25.H.3.C.i) to call in to Scheduling every day from 10:00 to 16:00 LBT (He needed only to be able to be called for substitution assignment during these hours, and only after the 72 hour time off), Capt G. calls CRS. The timing of his call, just happens to be (by chance) within approximately 30 minutes of block in block in from the scheduled deadhead back to MEM. CRS advises that there is no SUB trip for him at that time, he is released for 72 hrs, and he will earn 18 credit hrs trip guarantee. After this phone call, Capt G. calls S/O G. and F/O H. to explain the situation. S/O G. was working outside, and the phone call was answered by his wife. She gave him the message – which was that Capt G. had spoken to CRS, who advised him that they were off for 72 hours, and they get the 18 hrs trip guarantee.

DISCUSSION – Why Should the Crew be Paid?
The overriding argument that the grievants have for requesting to be paid for the 18 Credit Hours is fourfold.
First, the collective bargaining agreement and letters of agreements, as written, state that pilots will be an 18 hour trip guarantee toward this long term substitution. The wording of the contract, the materials available to the crew to help interpret the meaning, context, background, and intent of the contract, and advice they sought from both Company and ALPA officials provided information that backed up what they read in the contract.
Second, had the pilots taken the substitution trip, they would have earned the trip guarantee for the pairing. (22:36 CR) The decision to not take the substitution trip was based on the information obtained from ALPA and the company, and based on the belief that the credit hours to be put in the make up bank (and not get paid for them) only amounted to approximately four hours.
Third, it is justifiable and fair to pay the grievants the 18 credit hours, given the fact that Trip #72 and #169 conflicted with each other by no fault of the crew, and the crew acted in good faith to comply with company policy and the collective bargaining agreement in the case of conflicting trips.
Fourth. When looked at from an objective view, nearly every person would agree that the pilots should get paid for their bid trip, when a company caused conflict causes a loss of a trip. The grievants got the same answer on this question from multiple Assistant Chief Pilots and flight managers, schedulers, and pay personnel, and Duty Officers. That is, nearly everyone they’ve spoken to agree, “Yes, it looks like, that according to the contract, you should get the 18 hours of pay ” … with one exception: FedEx Legal (Contract Administration).

DISUSSION: FedEx Legal Department’s position and what’s wrong with it.

The contract administration department of FedEx has reviewed the request for pay of the 18 hours and subsequently denied the pay. Their reason for denial of pay stems from a historical situation where a conflict of one trip causes the aircrew to miss a follow on trip. Under situations in the past, the pilot could be paid either the overage of the first trip at 150% as specified in section of the collective bargaining agreement, or accept substitution. Since the crew was on a trip during the initial availability period, the computer automatically calculates pay based on the pilot electing the overage pay instead of accepting substitution.
The underlying reason FedEx legal has taken this position, is they say the initial substitution window never existed. They say it never existed because the pilots were out on a trip the time and other substitution windows are based upon the pilot being able to be called for a short notice trip from MEM. Therefore, if the initial substitution window as defined in the contract never existed, then you should never enter the flow chart, and the section of the contract that leads to the 18 hour trip guarantee doesn’t apply.
Their logic may lead to the company saving money by withholding trip guarantee from the pilots, but it doesn’t match with FedEx practice. The week prior, the crew was placed on substitution and given a trip during the initial availability period. This set the precedent for the week at issue. FedEx shouldn’t apply one interpretation of the contract one week and then change that interpretation the next, just to short pilots of their paycheck. If the initial availability period didn’t exist, the company should have released the pilots from duty for the first 72 hours of the original pairing, and not assigned a trip that starts the next day.

DISCUSSION: Election of Open Time Priority (OTP).
For original trips with a SUB Window greater than 72 hrs, a pilot will earn 18 CH of SUB guarantee if he elects OTP after the 8-hour Availability Window. (He has until the next 0900 LBT to elect OTP.) The grievants didn’t elect OTP and get this 18 CH of SUB guarantee because they were planning to be available for the next sub window. According to the opinion of the FedEx legal department, the crew could have received the 18 CH for electing OPT instead of loosing the 18 CH if the next sub trip is declined. No rational person would have made that decision under these circumstances. (In otherwords, if it would have mad sense that selecting OTP would have provided 18 CR towards trip guarantee as FedEx Legal department says, the grievants would most certainly elected that option, and got the 18 CH.

DISCUSSION: Personal Notes from the S/O

I rejected a SUB trip for personal reasons dealing with my wife and children – worth 6 CH ($508.68), knowing I would still get the 18 CH ($1526.04) for the last week’s work. Because…
· I couldn’t get to MEM because of a trip I was current trip
· FedEx revised my current trip
· I read the contract, the Q&A, the letters of agreement
· I backed up what I read by calling ALPA contract Admin on July 16,

My paycheck was $1526.04 short last week. Simply put, it is not fair to take away 18 hours of pay away, when every indication and source available to me said that I would loose about $500 for staying with my family during a difficult time.

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