There appears to be some confusion with regards to the Tentative Agreement (“T.A.”) ratification process - especially in discussions on social media. We hope this communication will clarify that process.
First - the T.A. will be ratified, or not, solely based on the number of flight attendants who actually vote. Members who do not vote do not count toward either “FOR” or “AGAINST” ratification.
If a simple majority of voting members vote “FOR” ratification, the T.A. is considered ratified, and will replace our current Collective Bargaining Agreement (“C.B.A.”). It would then implement on October 1, 2013, with an amendable date of October 1, 2015.
If a simple majority of voting members vote “AGAINST” ratification, the T.A. is not ratified and our current C.B.A. remains in full effect. If this happens, our Negotiations Team would return to the table with Southwest Airlines and attempt to reach a new agreement. Any new T.A. would also have to be voted on by the membership. However, if it becomes clear that Southwest is not interested in reaching a new agreement, then we could file for mediation with the National Mediation Board.
NOTE: Mediation is not Arbitration. The mediator is simply there to help bring the two parties to a new agreement, however at no time would our C.B.A. negotiations be placed before an arbitrator - this is different from the Seniority Integration and Transition Negotiations which could have gone to arbitration.
However, pursuant to the Railway Labor Act, there is no clear timeline for these negotiations. If the T.A. fails, we will of course make every effort to negotiate a new one using whatever means possible, but it is also difficult to anticipate what the other party may do in that circumstance.
Ultimately, the most important aspect of this ratification process is YOU - the voting member. Your Negotiations Team is relying on your direction in this unusual merger landscape - as we work at the will of the membership. Therefore, if you have not voted, do so - the polls close in less than a week on Friday, September 27. The process only takes a few minutes.
If you have not received your voter information, please call 1-800-424-2401 ext. 706.
Finally - remember your vote, is YOUR VOTE. Please base it on facts - not rumors or speculation. If you have questions, get them answered by the Negotiations Team. Contact information for the negotiators, and all union leaders, can be found on our website www.afaairtran.com.