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C20 Update

Old 01-30-2020, 04:54 PM
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Company Withdraws from Direct Negotiations

By now you will have heard that the company unilaterally withdrew from 1v1 negotiations and has asked to accelerate the timeline to request mediation from the National Mediation Board (NMB). This date was previously at the end of March. After a complete vetting of the situation, the MEC unanimously elected to accept the Company's offer to jointly apply for mediation.

You can read some more of the details HERE in a Chairman's Letter, and directly from the Negotiating Committee (NC) HERE. If you haven't already, please take the time to read both, as they contain some really good information and provide some context for what we're about to say.

As we mentioned in our previous update (available HERE), the NC had been making some progress with the company, in fits and starts, mostly on low hanging issues, or items that other carriers have had for years. Some of our long-standing issues, however, the company simply won't address, no matter how little they cost, and that has been a source of considerable frustration for the negotiators.

One of these items that is a great example is deadheading, where we rank nearly dead last in the industry (a place we occupy in a number of areas). Like similar areas, the company has dug their heels in on any area where improvements are readily observable by other employee groups (read "Flight Attendants" & "Gate Agents"). The company's manta here is clear: "if we give this to you, we have to give it to them". Before everyone starts hyperventilating, we dismiss this line of reasoning categorically and we are confident any mediator will as well. Whether the company thinks this is too expensive (it's not) or they think that it will give motivation for the FAs to organize (we don't care), it is completely immaterial since we don't negotiate for other employee groups. But that is their mind set, and it will apparently require a third party to explain that to them in case our words weren't enough.

The PWA we have is a product of decades of a "pay only" mentality. In fact, all the way back to C2k, there has been a willingness to accept "concessions for pay", and one of the phrases from the TA1 negotiators was a bold "unlocking the value of the PWA", which still makes us gag when we think about it. Comparatively speaking, the Company LIKES pay. It's cheap for them. They even like DC contributions, because that's really no different than pay, and they get to benefit from tax savings. Work rules & Scope, however, the company doesn't like so much, because that means they have to change their behavior, and that's something they don't like, for any number of reasons.

When we talk about "work rules" and "quality of life" MANY of those issues are linked to the Company changing the way they do business, even if it is just internally. One of the reasons they don't like to change their behavior, is in many cases, they can't or they don't know how. They don't want to change because that means figuring out (or allocating resources to) how to run things like a training scheduling department that can pick up the phone after 4pm (for one of the world's largest airlines).

We took a call from a pilot last month who had an improper simulator assignment (no proper notice, no travel day assigned, no consideration for the required PWA rest period, etc.). When the pilot attempted to call the training scheduler back, not only could he not get through (scheduler had gone for the day...and it was 4:30pm) but their voicemail box was full. The pilot was UNABLE to contact anyone with responsibility for the situation, even at the numbers listed for after hours support. It finally took us contacting the DTW CPO to intervene on the pilot's behalf.

Even when we got the pilot sorted out, no one had bothered to tell the poor instructor that it was an incorrect assignment and had been cancelled. The instructor called the pilot at 0600 to ask where he was (of course it was an A period). This hardly seems like a way to run one of the largest training organizations of its type in the world.

This seems like a small example, but it typifies the kind of "administrative malaise" that the Delta pilots find themselves dealing with on daily basis, in which they constantly have to step up to make the system run. This is a good example because despite numerous complains, the Company refuses to change their behavior on something as simple as running a Training Department like a one of the largest operations of its type in the world, that operates nearly 24/7/365, and instead like some mom-n-pop commuter.

Another example is Advance Entitlements...a system that is clearly broken, stranding pilots in unwanted categories with absurd conversion windows that force pilots to put their lives on hold for up to a year with zero recourse. Even with this extreme flexibility, the Company still can't seem to staff the categories correctly.

The "we just don't know how to do it any other way" answer goes beyond managing these relatively small, but important, examples. Last year, the Company lost both Steve Dickson and Brendon Branon, two people who had significant working knowledge of the PWA and the history behind it. We may not have agreed with their positions, but at least they knew what they were talking about. Those that are left, or were brought in after, to put it simply...don't. The Negotiating Committee has often times found itself having to explain how the PWA works (or in some cases, doesn't) to the Company's side, THEN explain what needs changing, THEN explain our position. It's like trying to argue with yourself.

In some cases, the company refused to make any meaningful improvements in no or low-cost items. In some cases, the company offered up some gains in areas not readily observable by other employee groups.

"Negotiating in bad faith" is a legal term that comes with some very serious implications, one that we'd be very reticent to use unless the situation really warranted it. It is typically used when one side negotiates with a clear intention either not coming to an agreement or reaching an agreement they have no intention of honoring. We don't think that's the case here.

However, it appears that management came to the table with no real plan, no real goals, and what they did ask for was either the status quo ("current book"), clearly concessionary or made no sense in the context of the operation (I.E. "throwing darts"). In some cases, what was offered was worse than what some regional airlines have in their agreements (if you're sensing a trend, you'd be correct). What they did make clear is that any changes to the PWA that would force them to change the way they did things (scheduling, filling of vacancies, and most importantly, scope) would be a non-starter. In some cases, the company doesn't seem to know any other way to do things, despite our Negotiators offering up multiple solutions that addressed their issues (I.E. the "win- win").

The sad part is, despite all of this, the Negotiators were very close to closing out several other sections of the PWA. Had management decided to stick it out another few weeks, we could have gone to mediation with several more sections closed out.

So, here we are. Given the situation, we actually welcome mediation, as it appears that a third party will be necessary to goad the Company into bringing someone to the table with the requisite knowledge and ability to close out the deal.



Darren's Comments:

The Art of Bargaining in "less that good" Faith

I'm sure by now everyone has heard or read that Delta management has requested to file for mediation more than two months prior to the contractual date of required joint filing of March 31, 2020. The actual sequence of events that has led Delta management to this decision should serve as a "How to Guide" of bargaining if not in bad faith, which as Rich said, is a very picky technical term, but let's just call it "less than good".

It starts with the departure of Steve Dickson, SVP of Flight Ops and Brendon Branon, management's Managing Director of Employee & Labor Relations, who comprised the majority of the company's knowledge and expertise on collective bargaining. In my opinion, Management didn't know how to react to these departures and had no real game plan as to how to replace this loss of knowledge and further accentuated this error by waiting four months until after negotiations have begun to replace their labor expert. I'm certain that if you or I were to prepare for a check ride in this manner we would find ourselves out of a job.

Management then begins to negotiate small items, which to be fair, is consistent with normal negotiating strategy in which small items are agreed to with the hopes of building momentum as larger more contentious items are addressed. However, even with the smaller less contentious issues, Management continuously shows up unprepared, cancels scheduled negotiations and fails to return proposals in a timely or meaningful manner. What I find deeply disturbing about such behavior, is that this Management team appears to have the time and capacity to negotiate complex international agreements (such as LATAM) but fails to respond to our negotiations in the same manner. It appears to me that the Delta Management's statements on how important Delta Pilots are to the success of this airline is simply empty rhetoric.

Next, Jim Graham, publishes a letter that is largely revisionist history and insinuates that our Chairman has been less than truthful in his recent letter to the membership on January 16, 2020. Further, Management has made some rather ridiculous claims and has utilized some misleading economic assumptions to arrive at a concessionary position. All this mind you, while the Company announces a 6.2-Billion-dollar profit, to bring that number into context, that would equate to $707,762 dollars per hour of profit, 24/7 365 days a year. Making matters worse, Delta Management has only offered 28 million dollars of net contract improvements to date. To bring this proposal into perspective, if we divided the 28 Million dollars over 14, 500 pilots on an annual basis, that would essentially equate to a windfall of $5.29 cents per day to each pilot or as one representative aptly pointed out "Delta has essentially offered to buy each pilot a nice latte".

Perhaps Delta Management is out of touch with reality because they haven't engaged in normal negotiations for more than two decades. As a reminder, the last normal "full" non-concessionary contracts were negotiated in 1998 for Northwest Airlines and 2000 for Delta Air lines (TA2 was a "focused plus" strategy). Let me be perfectly clear, we are not in a concessionary negotiating environment and Delta Management should not anticipate a concessionary agreement. Professional Pilots are in high demand and short supply and Delta Management should not expect a discount. Furthermore, 23,000 Pilots will retire from American, Delta and United from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2025 and that number does not factor in Southwest, UPS, FedEx or any other carriers regional or otherwise. Simply stated, if we don't have an industry leading contract, we won't attract the future talent we will need to be competitive.

Finally, many contractual improvements we are seeking were standard industry benefits contained in previous Northwest and Delta contracts when profits ranged between 200 to 500 Million dollars. Now, we post profits that are more than 10 times those amounts and return more than 3 Billion dollars a year back to shareholders and yet those fundamental contract improvements have been considered too costly by Management. For instance, we are last in vacation value amongst our peers and we lag behind the industry leader by a value of 80 hrs. Management's offer for vacation improvement was so pathetic that it left us, yes you guessed it, in last place in the industry.

In closing, our Pilot Group is the long-term stakeholder in this Company and we are better prepared for negotiations.



2019 Delta Air Lines Corporate Results

To summarize, the Company made a boatload of coin (a technical term). It was a veritable cornucopia of cash. A virtual horn of plenty. Maybe the sky wasn't raining cash, but it certainly was a heavy drizzle.

Delta reported $6.2 billion pre-tax income for the fiscal year 2019 on $47 billion in revenue. Earnings per share came in 31% higher than last year at $7.30. There was $4.2 billion in free cashflow, even after $4.5 billion invested back into the airline, plus Delta returned $3.0 billion to shareholders

You can more on the topic HERE.



Special MEC Meeting(s) Atlanta January 14-16, 2020..

The MEC met in special session on February 14th-16th at the MEC Offices in Atlanta. Practically the entire meeting was in closed or executive session to discuss all of the above, review negotiating direction and to review and approve the strategic planning and communications. A comprehensive review of the final positions from the Negotiators was received. The MEC was unanimous in their support of the Negotiating Committee and the direction they have been given.



Special MEC Meeting(s) Atlanta January 13th, 2020

As part of the normal election cycle in the fall, Councils 54 (SEA), 66 (NYC) and 108 (CVG) held the elections for the Representatives. Some issues surfaced in the Council 66 election, and there was an appearance of some attempts at "tinkering", specifically the rights of a member's ability to express themselves.

There were some rather interesting interpretations of this chain of events, especially on, as always, on social media (little 's', little 'm'). A few folks reached out to us for the real scoop, which we always happy to provide.

"Why are you guys fussing with this stuff when we have ALL this other stuff going on??"

A most excellent question. The problem stems from the Constitution & Bylaws. It's pretty super serious stuff, especially when you have the Department of Labor overseeing things. If someone makes a complaint, especially along the lines of a restriction on speech during elections, you pretty much have to stop whatever else you're doing and address it, which is what the MEC did. We always enjoy having the Council of Frowny Attorneys bring their clouds to an already rainy day.



Rich's Comments: I'm going to blatantly steal what the Chairman of Council 66 said on the matter: "I urge all New York pilots to use caution when reading inflammatory posts on social media, especially when posted by a few individuals with questionable intentions. Please consider verifying these inflammatory posts with other reliable sources of information."

Tom is right on the mark here, but this goes not just for this kind of thing, but a lot of other items as well. We're going to be entering a period increased activity with negotiations. There's going to be "lots of talk", and it's important to understand that most Reps do not participate in social media for any number of reasons (not the least of which is getting "blamed for leaks" or getting sidetracked by cat videos when they should really be writing council updates).

It's no secret that social media can run amok. Back in the day, we used to have a centralized forum where everyone could go to interact with the committee folks under a relatively closed environment, and there was more interaction to damp the wild swings. The MEC at the time thought it was a waste of resources and a pain to manage, so they elected to shut down the forums (a move I strongly opposed, and I think I even quoted Star Wars "the more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers"...well, that turned out to be quite prophetic.).

Back to the point: There are a lot of people who may have an agenda that is not immediately apparent. That's not always a terrible thing, and we are all pre-disposed to view things from our own enlightened self-interest. But some are naturally going to be pressing their points of view, and heck, may even coordinate with like-minded folks to give the impression of "a thing". They might even have some access to a spreadsheet and an F1 key to put some graphics to their argument. This may put some "spin" on their narrative, and they might not even be aware they're doing it. All we ask is that you use some critical thought and remember, all it takes is a phone call, email or text message to reach out to one of us to get the actual story.



Eric's Comments:

I would like to address some of the false narratives that were tossed around by the events of last week. It was said that there was a faction of the MEC that was going to recall the MEC Chairman. That is simply not true. Also, there is dysfunction in the leadership and the MEC is divided. Well, frankly I don't see it. In fact, what I do see is a MEC that for almost a year now has been setting direction unanimously. I also see a knowledgeable negotiating team that is methodical, organized and extremely prepared for Section 6. I see a Communication Committee doing an excellent job of keeping our pilots informed and up to date. I see a Scheduling Committee doing an unprecedented job keeping the company adhering to the PWA and recovering pay owed to our pilots. I see an administration that is proactive, not reactive, to the company's daily assault on our quality of life. I could go on and on, but this is an administration that is doing an exceptional job working on the behalf of the Delta Pilots.



Vacation Tips

We've received numerous complaints regarding the vacation day distribution for the 2020-21 Vacation year (including no small amount of incredulity as to the "leap year" rational). We did check with Contract Administration, and they did say the distribution was "in compliance". This kind of like going to the 24 hour Mi-T-Mart and finding it closed. The sign says it IS open 24 hours, just not all in a row. While "technically correct", it's irritating none the less.

If you did not get your desired vacation period, there are some other options still available to you to get the time off you desire:
  • Vacation Move up - After the quinary vacations are awarded, a pilot may bid to change an awarded vacation period through the vacation move-up bidding process in iCrew. Projected vacation periods will be available for move up before 0800E on the 25th day of the month that is two months prior to the bid period of the vacation. Vacation move-up requests are made through iCrew and available weeks are published in Deltanet under the Crew Resources & Scheduling page under "Pilot Vacation & Known Leaves of Absence".
Bids close at 0800E on the 1st of each month and awards are posted before 1800E on the 4th of each month.



More information on this topic can be found on page 93 of the Scheduling Reference Handbook.
  • Vacation Trade If you can find a willing pilot, you can elect to trade vacation weeks. Both pilots must submit their request to the Vacations section of Crew Resources at 404-715-1096/800-325-2719.
  • Vacation Slide If you want to move your vacation period inside a bid period to a different spot inside the same bid period, you can utilize the "vacation slide" option during monthly bidding to attempt to move the days to where you'd like. There are a number of caveats to this process, too numerous to list here, but you can read all about it in the PBS Reference Handbook, starting on page 82. The PBS Reference Handbook is available HERE.
  • Individual Vacation Days (IVDs) If you have remaining vacation days in a vacation period in a future bid period that has not been included in a bid period published in DBMS, you may use up to 4 IVD days (total) on up to two separate occurrences since the beginning of the vacation year. If your category "won" the sick leave contest, this number may be higher.
IVDs work almost exactly the same as APDs, including reserves available requirements and "blackout dates". You "pull days" off a future vacation and use them essentially as APDs to drop trips, except that you will be credited for each vacation day you drop as vacation (IE 3:45 or 3:30). Drop one IVD on any day of a rotation, and the entire rotation will drop. They are a very powerful tool if you wish to drop flying.
  • Pay Back Days (PB) If you have any, pay back days can also be used. Details on their use can be found in the Scheduling Reference Handbook starting on page 33.
  • Authorized Personal Drop (APD) You get one per year (based on your employment date). Only 25% of the reserves required must be available (subject to certain blackout dates).
  • Personal Drop (PD) You have an unlimited number of personal drops available, but reserves must be sufficient.
NOTE: Any IVD/APD/PD requests that cannot be fulfilled after the first run will place the trip into open flying as a "QPD" request.

Pay Recovery for IVD/APD/PD requests (Section 23.I.18): A pilot may, at his request, recover pay and credit for rotations and reserve on-call days dropped pursuant to a PD, QPD, IVD, or APD, by utilizing vacation bank time. You must contact Crew Scheduling to make this request.

In other words, you can use the IVD system to move future unused vacation days to drop a trip, and you can use Section 23.I.18 to move future unused vacation credit to a IVD/APD/PD.

READ THIS (potential gotchas!): If you pull off vacation days by utilizing IVDs, note that both the PAY and DAY OFF are removed from the vacation period you select, and the credit assigned to the day(s) you drop it on will be the same as the vacation you took it from.

If you utilize 23.I.18 to "fill" an IVD/APD/PD award with pay from your vacation bank, ONLY THE PAY moves. You will be left with an "empty" vacation day(s) in its original location that will have zero pay, but will still act as a vacation day, in that it "blocks" any other activity.

There are some other rules that go with IVDs/APDs/PDs, such as some MSL requirements for widebody categories. PWA Section 23.I covers all the permutations, and Section 7.I discusses the number of IVDs days/events available.
  • Pilot to Pilot Swap Board Pilots may list their rotations for pickup on the Pilot-to-Pilot swap board. This is an independent system from the open time list, and pick-ups from this list is not subject to the ALV+15 white slip pickup limit, so your drop requests may garner more interest.
You can request a IVD/APD/PD for a rotation as well as post it on the P-t-P Swap Board simultaneously. This gives the rotation maximum exposure to facilitate dropping the rotation. If it is not dropped during the first PCS run after the request, the rotation will appear on both the Open Board (as a 'Q' trip) and the P-t-P Swap Board. If dropped by one method or the other, the trip will disappear automatically from the other venue.

If you weren't awarded your desired vacation, we hope these tools allow you to get the time off you desire.
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Old 01-30-2020, 05:16 PM
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The bottom line is we need to win together.

Our position is more than affordable, more than fair and long, long overdue.

The Delta pilots billions and billions in concessions was the major force of the success Delta enjoys today.

Time to do the right thing.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:25 AM
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Bottom line is to not expect a contract until the FA card drive, and quite possible a union vote, is completed.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:30 AM
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Originally Posted by DALMD88FO View Post
Bottom line is to not expect a contract until the FA card drive, and quite possible a union vote, is completed.
Another drive will start as soon as that one ends. Its never ending..
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:41 AM
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Originally Posted by sailingfun View Post
Another drive will start as soon as that one ends. Its never ending..
Unless it's a different union, they have to wait two years. At least that is what it used to be.
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by DALMD88FO View Post
Unless it's a different union, they have to wait two years. At least that is what it used to be.
They rotate the unions.
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by sailingfun View Post
They rotate the unions.
tell you the truth, I wish they would just pull the trigger and vote one in. It would take care of the excuse that they would have to give it to the FAs.
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:57 AM
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Originally Posted by OnParole View Post
As Rich said in the C20 update: we dont care. FAs are not our equals and we do not negotiate for every employee group. Using the companies if you give it to them.... tag line we should be getting crew meals more often, we should get our luggage paid for, and a uniform allowance.
Hopefully this is what they told the company or started asking for these items to throw it back in their face.
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:34 AM
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Great update.
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:36 AM
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It appears the guy who posted the resolution to eliminate retirement age in C20 is already going to have 41 years of service at current retirement date. How much more do you need? Get a hobby.

Anyone going to the meeting who can swing a proxy?
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