Negotiations Update – Federal Involvement



Federal Mediation for our first Contract continued this past week is Fort Lauderdale under the supervision of the National Mediation Board. Attending the negotiations were your AFA Negotiations Committee composed of Valentin Lorien, Katarzyna Mroczek, and Ted Pavlik, assisted by Joe Burns, Director of Collective Bargaining/Attorney and John Morse, AFA Staff Attorney. Management was represented by Phil Villani and Beate Jakobsen from OSM Aviation.

At this session, our plan was to focus on scheduling (rostering) issues. In March, your AFA Negotiations Team proposed a comprehensive scheduling proposal to the company which addressed key concerns raided by CCMs.

The issues that we raised are fairly standard and included increased flexibility, transparency, and more control over our monthly rosters and days off. These are simple provisions that unions and air carriers routinely negotiate in Flight Attendant agreements both in the US and Europe.

One of the issues we face is that scheduling matters for our carrier are not handled by OSM Aviation because it’s a human resource company. All operational matters including scheduling are controlled and handled by Norwegian. AFA has been clear that we need to be discussing scheduling matters with Norwegian because OSM Aviation has neither the expertise nor authority to handle scheduling matters.

OSM Aviation also lacks the authority to get Norwegian to come to the negotiating table. After requesting someone from Norwegian to come in person to discuss Scheduling, OSM’s request was denied and Norwegian offered someone via Skype. A Skype appointment was set up, but Norwegian cancelled that appointment and two other appointments that were set up by OSM.

On the fourth attempt, we finally had a Skype conversation with a representative of Norwegian Crew Planning to go over the most important issues affecting the cabin crew and asked many questions about the planning process. While the discussion was informative, it was determined that other Norwegian employees in the Scheduling department were needed to address all of our questions and concerns.

We are now entering a critical time in negotiations. Many of the sections of our Contract have been partially or fully negotiated. Now we are discussing the key items that affect our lives such as scheduling, health insurance, and the remaining unresolved issues. US-based Norwegian CCMs are proud of our work for this company and will not accept second class status. When we ask Management for comparable treatment to our European colleagues we are told “you can’t because you are employed in the United States.” When we ask Management for comparable treatment to what American flight attendants receive, we are told “you can’t because we are not an American company.”

Norwegian and OSM Aviation seem to want us to have the worst of both worlds and this is simply unacceptable. We will continue fighting hard to get the contract we all deserve and we will soon be calling on all CCMs to join us in winning the respect we deserve.

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