Negotiations

May Update

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June 10, 2017

Dear AFA Member,

The items discussed in this Union update are:

  1. Negotiations Update (and discussion on Staff Travel)
  2. Random Drug Tests and Flight Attendant Drug and Alcohol Program (FADAP)
  3. *Save the Date* Union Meetings in FLL (June 20th) and JFK (June 21st)
  4. OSM’s 401(k) plan

1)   Negotiations Update (and discussion on Staff Travel)

The Company and the Union met for collective bargaining June 7-8 in Fort Lauderdale. The articles we have discussed since collective bargaining began in February are: Crew Bases, Hotels and Layover Requirements, Vacation, Health and Safety, Seniority, Grievances, Staff Travel, and Uniforms. As stated before in previous updates, the most important items of our collective bargaining agreement (compensation and rostering) will be discussed toward the end of negotiations.

Some progress was made at our most recent bargaining session this week but nothing has been tentatively agreed to. As discussed in previous updates, the Company has pushed back on many issues which are important to the Cabin Crew. In our last newsletter update, we discussed one of the issues (Hotels) and why it’s important for the cabin crew to have contract language to ensure certain hotel standards are being met and that the crew hotel is in a suitable location.

One of the other articles up for discussion is the Staff Travel article. This is an important area for cabin crew members because it’s the reason why many of us got a job with an airline in the first place.

One of the main issues when discussing Staff Travel is the Company’s unwillingness to enter into formal agreements with other carriers, which would be of little to no cost to the Company. We cannot force the Company to make agreements but we expect them to at least start the discussion.

One of the other key issues is “fairness.” We are proposing that the Company will offer our cabin crew the same benefits they offer to other employee groups. In the past month, the Company has moved in the right direction by publicly announcing enhanced travel benefits for the 787 crews and we will continue pressing the Company for an agreement in writing.  We remain optimistic that we can come to an agreement on Staff Travel soon.

We meet again with the Company July 12-13.

2)   Random Bag Checks and Random Drug Tests

The Company continues to require the US-based crew to undergo random bag checks and random drug tests. While these searches are LEGAL here in the United States, the Union has complained to the Company that the random drug tests are being required on a day off with no extra compensation. The last we heard about these tests is that they are being administered to the crew right after arriving at home base.

In addition, we are still trying to figure out the legalities of performing these searches in Europe, specifically for our European based colleagues who also work for the Company. To date, we have confirmed that the LGW based crews are being required to undergo random bag checks and drug tests, but that the BCN and BKK crews have not.

We want to emphasize that taking any illegal drugs and alcohol while on duty is of course, illegal, and you will be fired if you test positive on a drug or alcohol test. We are aware that some U.S. carriers have negotiated special “last chance” agreements with the Union for certain employees who test positive on their drug or alcohol tests, but such a program does not exist here. If you have a substance abuse problem you should seek help NOW by calling your insurance company or the AFA Flight Attendant Drug and Alcohol Program (855) 333-2327 www.fadap.org

There is a misconception in the airline industry that saying “you have a problem” when you are given notice of a required drug test will save your job and this is simply not the case. If you don’t seek help beforehand and it comes time for you to be tested, it’s too late. Refusing to take a test is the same as testing positive and you will lose your job.

If you are a recovering addict, you have the opportunity to help your colleagues free themselves from addiction by becoming a FADAP Representative. Please contact the Union at the email or phone number listed at the bottom of this email if you are interested.

3)     *Save the Date* Union Meetings in FLL (June 20th) and JFK (June 21st)

In 10 days we are hosting our very first official local council meeting as brand new AFA members. The FLL base meeting will be held on June 20th at the Residence Inn–Dania Beach 12PM-3PM, and this will also be a joint meeting with another new AFA council: Silver Airways flight attendants.  The JFK base meeting will be held on June 21st at the Hampton Inn JFK 3PM-6PM.  Both locations have free shuttles to/from the airport.

4)        OSM’s 401(k) plan

Many of you are concerned about retirement and rightfully so. If you are close to retirement age, you have less time to put money aside than most. If you are young, you have even more to worry about because the need for millennials to save for retirement is greater now than ever.

One of the things you may be thinking (if you haven’t already done so) is signing up for the 401(k) plan offered by the OSM. While some retirement is better than no retirement, your financial advisor may tell you that contributing to a 401(k) without a company-provided match is a bad idea. Currently, OSM does not provide a company match with their 401(k) plan.

One of the reasons why contributing to a 401(k) plan with no matching company contribution is a poor choice is because if 401(k) plans are based on the stock market and no match means that it’s only made up from your contributions. If the stock market drops significantly, so the money you contributed. If a 401(k) plan consisted of a company-match, any drop in the stock market would still cost you money, but it wouldn’t be all of your money—any drop in the market would be cushioned by the matching company contribution where you are still likely to come out “ahead.” And of course, if the stock market were to rise, you’d be earning a return based on the money you put in AND the matching contribution from the company.

Since OSM’s 401(k) plan doesn’t offer a match, a smarter decision would be to invest in a Roth IRA. The Roth IRA is one of the best (if not the best) investments for Americans making less than $100,000 a year. You can read more about Roth IRAs here:

http://www.rothira.com/blog/hacking-retirement-the-unique-tax-benefits-of-roth-iras

https://www.fool.com/retirement/iras/2015/08/04/the-5-best-roth-ira-benefits.aspx

As always, you should consult a financial advisor before making any major financial decisions.

We thank you for reading through this newsletter. Stay Unified. Stay Professional. Stay Courteous to each other.

Sincerely,

Your AFA Norwegian Air MEC

Valentin, Katarzyna, and Ted

May 20, 2017

Dear AFA Member,

The items discussed in this Union update are:

  1. NCCA transfer of Union Certification to AFA-CWA is official
  2. Negotiations Talk (Hotels and Layover Requirements & Negotiations Survey)
  3. *Save the Date* Union Meetings in FLL (June 20th) and JFK (June 21st)
  4. Random Bag Checks and Random Drug Tests

1)      NCCA transfer of Union Certification to AFA-CWA is official

The majority of our workgroup voted to join the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA in an election held on March 30th. The following day, we sent a request to the National Mediation Board to transfer NCCA’s union certification to AFA-CWA. The Company filed an objection with the NMB alleging that the vote was done improperly and made an additional submissions asking the NMB to reconsider the transfer of certification. The transfer of certification was not issued last month as it should have been because the NMB had to review both of the Company’s objections. On May 17th, the NMB determined that the Company’s claims were baseless and granted our request to transfer NCCA’s union certification to AFA-CWA. The NMB’s letter granting our request can be found here: NCCA-AFA Transfer of Certification

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA is now duly designated as the certified bargaining representative of the US-based cabin crew members of Norwegian. Even though we are now officially AFA, your elected NCCA Union Leaders Valentin, Katarzyna, and Ted, have now become AFA Leaders continue to lead our workgroup.

In the next couple of weeks, you will receive a welcome packet in the mail along with an AFA pin and membership application. It’s very important to fill out the membership application the moment you get it. Not only will becoming an official AFA member make you eligible for special union discounts and scholarship programs, but you must be an AFA member in order to vote for union leaders and most importantly vote on our Contract when it’s finally negotiated. Filling out the AFA membership application does not cost anything. As we stated before, AFA will not require our workgroup to pay ANY union dues until we negotiate our first contract.

2)      Negotiations Talk (Hotels and Layover Requirements & Negotiations Survey)

As we have previously reported, we have met with Management several times to negotiate a contract for our workgroup. So far, we have discussed eight articles of the agreement.

One of the articles up for discussion is the Hotel and Layover Requirements article.  This is an extremely important area for cabin crew members as we spend much of our working life in hotels. The quality and location of our layover hotels is critical.

One of the key issues in our bargaining is the location of our layover hotels, especially for stays of more than one night.  Staying out by the airport in an area with no amenities is not acceptable. We are proposing that on long layovers the hotel must be in a Downtown or Tourist Zone location whereas on short overnights, of course, we could just stay out by the airport. Our proposal is entirely reasonable and is line with other international air carriers.

Management has resisted our proposals to this point and appears to take the position that cost should be the only factor, rather than satisfaction of the crew or fairness should dictate our hotel locations.   Other issues we are proposing include basic standards for the quality of hotel including cleanliness and eating facilities. We are also advocating for more substantial food discounts at layover hotels, as well as a hotel cancellation policy.

Norwegian cabin crew members deserve basic standards of overnight accommodations.   To achieve these basic protections afforded other cabin crew members it is important that we as a workgroup remain unified.  Please discuss these issues with your flying partners and let’s send a strong message to Management that we deserve better. In future updates, we will address other issues important to us such as uniforms and health care benefits.

Finally, many of you have told your Union Leaders that you’ve not had the chance to take the Negotiations Survey that came out earlier this year because you forgot or because some of you weren’t hired yet. We are happy to announce that you now have one more chance to take the Survey and you can access it by clicking on the following link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZFLT397

3)      *Save the Date* Union Meetings in FLL (June 20th) and JFK (June 21st)

Next month, we hosting our very first official local council meeting as brand new AFA members. The FLL base meeting will be held on June 20th at the Residence Inn–Dania Beach, and this will also be a joint meeting with another new AFA council: Silver Airways flight attendants.  The JFK base meeting will be held on June 21st near JFK but location has not yet been determined.  If you are JFK based and have any suggestions on what would be most convenient for the JFK crew, please send us an email: info@norwegianafa.org

4)   Random Bag Checks and Random Drug Tests

As stated in our last Union Update, Management has started performing random bag checks after the completing of pairings into home base. We have also learned that Management has resumed the practice of randomly selecting crew members for drug tests on their days off. While random bag checks and drug tests are common at other US carriers, they are illegal in Europe. Right now, it appears that only the US-based crew members are being targeted for these events and the Union has requested more information from Management. The Union takes issue with the fact that the US crew members are not being compensated for the tests whatsoever (no bought day off compensation and not being offered an extra day off), all while being threatened to take these tests “within 48 hours or be terminated.” Be rest assured that your Union is working on addressing this issue right now and we will be updating you with more information shortly.

We thank you for reading through this newsletter. Stay Unified. Stay Professional. Stay Courteous to each other.

Sincerely,

Your AFA Norwegian Air MEC

Valentin, Katarzyna, and Ted

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