jayunited
Topic Author
Posts: 1570
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:03 am

Flight Attendant question Union/Nonunion

Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:36 pm

I have a question about airline operations as it pertains to flight attendants. Many airlines including UA have union FA's however there are just as many airlines shoes FA's are nonunion.
First I'm not a UA flight attendant so if I get jargon wrong please forgive me. UA FA's have a duty day or a duty period domestically its not really much of a challenge except during inclement weather. However on international flights if there is a extensive delay that passes their duty day UA has to ask the FA's if they are willing to waive so we can operate the flight. If we don't get the FAA minimum required number of FA's to waive UA has to either replace those FA's, re-crew the flight, tech stop the flight at a hub or major line station to re-crew, or cancel the flight. Case in point last week UA180 had to do a tech stop at SFO for to re-crew because thunderstorms over HKG had closed the airport to departures. The flight crew agreed to waive and go to max duty day allowable which would have allowed the nonstop to happen, however not enough FA's agreed to extend their duty day so UA's options were cancel or tech stop at SFO (which was the only airport they could make it to without extending the FA's duty day). The flight was tech stopped at SFO and a full re-crew was done however the entire delay including diversion to SFO to re-crew resulted in an extensive delay.

My question is at airlines whose FA's are nonunion if the flight crew agrees to extend their duty day to maximum allowable time do the FA's have a choice or are they forced to work the flight because the flight crew extended? Or can the FA's tell the company no I'm not waving, I'm not extending my duty day. And don't get me wrong there are times when all the FA's are willing to waive but the flight crew refuses to do the same but I think for many major airlines pilots do have the choice because the last thing anyone wants is a fatigued pilot at the helm.

I don't want this to turn into a bash UA flight attendants thread. UA FA's have the right to refuse to waive it is in their contract. I'm just trying to understand do nonunion FA's also have the same rights and work rules UA FA's have.
 
WNCrew
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Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:22 pm

Re: Flight Attendant question Union/Nonunion

Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:51 pm

I can only answer for WN:

Our contractural duty day is 10hr 30mins, meaning the company cannot create pairings or assignments with a duty day longer than 10hr 30min. That being said, irregular operations can and do take us beyond that time and we receive specific financial incentives after certain time limits..... we do not "time out". Our only option in extended duty is to use a fatigue policy which is non-punitive. This is rarely utilized as most people prefer the financial incentives.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Flight Attendant question Union/Nonunion

Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:07 pm

jayunited wrote:
I don't want this to turn into a bash UA flight attendants thread. UA FA's have the right to refuse to waive it is in their contract. I'm just trying to understand do nonunion FA's also have the same rights and work rules UA FA's have.


The one, big, non-union (FA) U.S. carrier is Delta.
 
TW870
Posts: 746
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Re: Flight Attendant question Union/Nonunion

Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:19 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
jayunited wrote:
I don't want this to turn into a bash UA flight attendants thread. UA FA's have the right to refuse to waive it is in their contract. I'm just trying to understand do nonunion FA's also have the same rights and work rules UA FA's have.


The one, big, non-union (FA) U.S. carrier is Delta.


Non-union flight attendants do not have the same rights. Non-union flight attendants are "at-will" employees, which means that they must follow whatever directives the company gives as long as it complies with US law. The company may order flight attendants to work up to the absolute FAA max - even if there is a company policy manual that mandates shorter duty periods. Scheduling is one of the key reasons why flight attendants are so much more heavily unionized than the rest of the workforce. At a union carrier, the company must follow the duty time limitations in the union contract, which provide shorter and healthier schedules than the FAA restrictions. For 50 years, flight attendants (with the notable exception of DL) have been voting for union representation to achieve these scheduling protections.
 
LightningZ71
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Re: Flight Attendant question Union/Nonunion

Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:51 pm

As someone that grew up in a DL household, the non-unionized employees of DL certainly do get the benefits of most of their competitors operating union shops. DL can't go too far afield on a regular basis with respect to work rules as they would quickly find themselves at a hiring disadvantage as opposed to other airlines. What I'm trying to say is that, while DL does get a bit more flexibility in some cases as a result of being non-union, they largely have effectively similar policies to other airlines (with a few notable exceptions to be sure).

I can also add that a majority of the DL employees understand that they get the benefit of reasonable treatment due to the fact that most other airlines are unionized top to bottom. I know that my DL employed relatives did when they still worked there before retiring.
 
Woodreau
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Re: Flight Attendant question Union/Nonunion

Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:40 pm

Union or non-union, flight attendants are working under some agreement with the airline, whether it is a union negotiated contract or some other agreement. While Delta flight attendants are non-union, there is more than likely some sort of working agreement that the flight attendants and airline have agreed upon.

For flight attendants there is no FAA mandated duty time or rest limitations. Part 117 applies to pilots only. All of their rest and duty times are dictated by whatever their flight attendant group has been able to negotiate with their airline.

For my airline, the flight attendants and the airline in the flight attendant contract agreed to use the limitations of Part 121 Subpart Q, which implies a maximum duty day of 16 hours because it only requires a minimum of 8 hours of rest within the past 24 hours. Every airline and every contract is different. Some groups are more fortunate in that they have been able to negotiate more restrictive duty times, or financial compensation/incentive for working longer. As in any profession where you have to negotiate your working conditions, you get what you negotiate, not what you deserve.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
CobaltScar
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Re: Flight Attendant question Union/Nonunion

Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:57 pm

First, there are FAA limitations on crew rest (minimum 8 hours) that must be followed. Second Delta is the last non-union major carrier in the USA and even they have a agreed upon set of work rules they must follow. Just because Delta is not Union does not mean they can make up rules on the fly. jetBlue only recently unionized and are still working based on their old company imposed set of work rules, even they (and everyone else, including WN) had a magic number of hours past which they could throw in the towel and be removed from duty, and I don't mean by calling in fatigue. For jetBlue its based on what your scheduled duty day is, but the max scheduled duty day for them is 14 hours and if you are delayed enough to turn that into a 18 hours on duty, you can request to be removed and placed on rest. (incidentally jetBlue was (is) the only major carrier in the USA that has a full 14 hour max scheduled duty day with a requirement to work up to 18 hours, which is probably a big reason why they decided to Unionize, because that company mandated work rule was very out of line with the rest of the industry. Even the likes of Spirit and Frontier allow their FA's to end their duty day at 16 hours).

So next time your flight is cancelled or delayed because the crew needs to be replaced, remember its not the crews fault. They are not the ones pushing the scheduling envelope to the brink in the name of $$$. Union or non-Union.
 
WNCrew
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Re: Flight Attendant question Union/Nonunion

Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:11 pm

CobaltScar wrote:
jetBlue only recently unionized and are still working based on their old company imposed set of work rules, even they (and everyone else, including WN) had a magic number of hours past which they could throw in the towel and be removed from duy....


Not true for WN, we have no maximum, no time-out, nothing. I've been on duty for, 16-18-21-23- 42hr and didn't have a choice. I got paid a LOT of money, and could've called in fatigued but there were a variety of circumstances preventing that.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
jayunited
Topic Author
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Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:03 am

Re: Flight Attendant question Union/Nonunion

Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:39 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
As someone that grew up in a DL household, the non-unionized employees of DL certainly do get the benefits of most of their competitors operating union shops. DL can't go too far afield on a regular basis with respect to work rules as they would quickly find themselves at a hiring disadvantage as opposed to other airlines. What I'm trying to say is that, while DL does get a bit more flexibility in some cases as a result of being non-union, they largely have effectively similar policies to other airlines (with a few notable exceptions to be sure).

I can also add that a majority of the DL employees understand that they get the benefit of reasonable treatment due to the fact that most other airlines are unionized top to bottom. I know that my DL employed relatives did when they still worked there before retiring.


So on an ultra long haul flight that take lest say a 2-3 hour delay if the flight crew were willing to extend their duty day to the maximum allowable time can a Delta flight attendant refuse to extend their duty day like a UA flight attendant or can Delta step in and say the pilots waived their duty time so you as a FA have to take the flight or call out fatigue. UA Fa's they are not calling out fatigued they are there at the airport on the aircraft then there is a delay and in some cases on these 16+ hour flights there are some who will not waive their duty time. Can nonunion FA's do the same regardless of the decision the pilots have made?
 
CobaltScar
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Re: Flight Attendant question Union/Nonunion

Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:01 pm

Technically no airline has a maximum or legal time out for irregular operations for FAs, all of them can concur to go over, and do so regularly for money or to get home on the last leg or to just be nice. The other airlines just give more guidance or training wheels for when they think a FA will be fatigued. (example, Spirit at 16, jetblue at 18, and I suppose WN at 12.5).

You did have a choice not to go past 12.5 hours (42 hours?????) or really at any hour amount , call fatigue.
 
Woodreau
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Re: Flight Attendant question Union/Nonunion

Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:03 pm

It depends on the working agreement that the Delta flight attendants have with Delta. You have to ask a Delta flight attendant who is the only one who can answer your specific question, which will be different from a United flight attendant or an American flight attendant or a Southwest flight attendant.

It doesn't matter if it is a unionized group or not. It's all subject to the agreement in place between the workgroup and the airline.

Even though there is a contractual language in place, anyone in the airline industry has heard at some point in their career, "Fly it and grieve it." basically we don't care, work the flight and file a grievance with the union/workgroup representative for violations against the contract. The only limit you cannot exceed is the FAA duty time limitations, which for flight attendants don't exist.
Last edited by Woodreau on Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
CobaltScar
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Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: Flight Attendant question Union/Nonunion

Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:07 pm

jayunited wrote:
UA Fa's they are not calling out fatigued they are there at the airport on the aircraft then there is a delay and in some cases on these 16+ hour flights there are some who will not waive their duty time. Can nonunion FA's do the same regardless of the decision the pilots have made?



Well from what we have learned in this thread so far, the answer is: depends on the airline. At non-union jetBlue there was/is a company policy that tells FA's they can be removed from the parring after a certain amount of hours on duty, without calling fatigue. At union WN it seems the choice is only to call out fatigue.

Calling out fatigue is a no questions asked situation. There is no pleading with them or throwing more money at them once they say they are fatigued. Thats FAA policy, union or no union.
 
WNCrew
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Re: Flight Attendant question Union/Nonunion

Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:39 pm

CobaltScar wrote:

Calling out fatigue is a no questions asked situation. There is no pleading with them or throwing more money at them once they say they are fatigued. Thats FAA policy, union or no union.


Yes, calling out fatigued is our only option no matter how long the day becomes. The thing is, even though it's punitive, the company can choose to not pay the portion missed for the fatigue call.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.

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