TA and Voting FAQ

Below, we answer the most frequently asked questions about the Tentative Agreement and the voting process. If you just need information about voting, skip to the Voting FAQ by clicking here.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Tentative Agreement (September 2018)

Where can I read the full Tentative Agreement?

Each article of the Tentative Agreement is available here on our website.

Is there a short summary?

Yes, there's an easy-to-read Highlights document here.

Where do I find specifics about my wages?

You can take a look at the Wage Scales document, listing wages by station.

How were members of the bargaining team chosen?

The bargaining committee chair is assigned by the President of CWA, and the members of the committee are appointed by the District Vice Presidents.

I see that we get two raises per year. How much is each raise?

There is no flat percentage for each raise. Raises vary depending on years of service, station location, and year of the contract. Check out the Wage Scales document for details.

What is the top out rate of the contract?
There is a different top out rate in each year of the contract. The top out rate for the last year of the contract is found in the last row (14) of the last column (Date of signing + 48) of each Wage Scale.
Going year-by-year: 
The first year of the contract (2018) can be found in the column labeled "Date of signing." If you look at the last row, labeled "14," this is the rate that will apply to everyone who has completed 14 or more years of service on the date of signing. The next year (2019) is in the next column, which is labeled "Date of signing +12;" the third year (2020) is the next column, which is labeled "Date of signing +24;" the next year (2021) is the next column, labeled "Date of signing + 36;" and the final year (2022) is in the last column, labeled "Date of signing +48." You can find the top out rate for each year if you look at the final row (14) for that column.
 
Do we still receive points if we call in sick? 
The dependability policy has not changed. The only change, if the tentative agreement is ratified, is that you will have the option of swapping your shift and then bringing in a note from a medical professional so you may use the time in your sick bank to get paid. This would not result in a point, because you would have swapped your shift off. 

Why do some stations, such as DCA, top out at a higher rate than others? And why are high-volume military stations so low on the pay scale?

The wage scales are based on a combination of several factors, including current minimum wages, cost of living, and what it costs to hire and retain employees at each station.

What about seasonal stations (ACK, ANC, and MVY)? Those do not appear on the wage scales.

The seasonal stations fall under Article 13 D with a flat rate of pay. ACK, ANC, and MVY agents will receive the 3% bonus each year.

Why does the wage scale stop at 14 years? What if an agent has worked 18 or 20 years?

Wage scales usually progress up to a point where all employees reach a "top out." In this TA the top out is 14 years of service.

The raises do not seem large enough, and the contract is not representing the realities of the cost of living. Shouldn't the scale be the same for all stations, with the station paying the highest rate setting the standard? Did the bargaining committee look at minimum hourly pay rates in each state?

With the TA, a new wage scale is being implemented that should stop pay disparities in the future. The committee did investigate the minimum wage in place in each city and state.

Are our new wage rates retroactive?

The wage rates are not retroactive, but there is a bonus for hours worked in 2017. Provided the Tentative Agreement is ratified no later than November 30, 2018, an employee with at least one (1) year of completed service as of the date of signing will receive a lump sum payment equal to 6% of the employee’s 2017 W-2 earnings, minus applicable taxes and deductions. All eligible employees will receive a minimum payment of $400 minus applicable taxes and deductions.

What happened with retroactive pay?

 In November 2017, while the Union and the Company were negotiating the first tentative agreement, a senior executive emailed employees about retroactive pay.  The email indicated that the parties were still negotiating wage rates, the next bargaining session would be in late January 2018, and the Company would apply any 2018 wage improvements in a new collective bargaining agreement retroactively for the year.

As it turned out, the parties reached a tentative agreement in late January 2018.  However, the tentative agreement was rejected by the membership.  The Company’s view has been that the retroactive pay promise was only applicable to the first tentative agreement, which would have resulted in one or two months of retroactive pay on the wage rates agreed to in the first tentative agreement.  When the members rejected the first tentative agreement, under this view, retroactive pay was no longer on the table.  The Union’s view has been that the retroactive pay promise was applicable to any new collective bargaining agreement.

 The Union insisted on retroactive pay during negotiations for the new tentative agreement.  An underlying issue, however, was that the retroactive pay promise did not specify the wage rates to which the retroactive pay would apply.  Even if the Union’s view was correct – that the retroactive pay promise applied to any new collective bargaining agreement – the Company could then trade on the promise, depending on the wage rates, since no particular wage rate was agreed upon at the time of the promise.  In other words, the Company could say:  we will pay retroactively, but not on these rates; if you want these rates, then we will have to adjust the promise.  

In the end, thanks to member mobilization, the Union was able to keep retroactive pay on the table, despite the Company’s efforts to avoid paying anything retroactively.  A compromise was reached.  Instead of retroactively applying the 2018 wage increases back to January 1, 2018, the parties agreed to retroactively apply a 6% pay increase on all hours worked in 2017 for employees with at least one year of service, with a minimum $400 guarantee if an employee worked too few hours.

Article 13 is confusing. Can you explain parts e, f, and g in more detail?

If the company determines that it can't hire enough people at the starting rate on the scale, the company can raise the starting pay to any amount on the scale. If at some point the company determines that they no longer need to pay the higher starting rate, the company can lower the pay back down to the starting rate on the scale, but that rate cannot be lower than the starting rate for that station in the appropriate year of the contract. If the starting rate is raised and there are people making less than the new starting rate at that station, the company must increase pay to match the new starting rate. The company may also pay a city differential if they determine there is a need to do so.

Could you just confirm that we're getting 2 raises each year?

Members will get two raises per year until they reach top-out pay after their 14th year: one raise on the first payroll period after the date of signing (DOS) and a raise for longevity, or years of service (YOS), effective on their date of hire.

Why do operations and tower agents get a higher wage than ramp and gate agents?

The union proposed several differentials, but the company agreed only to the operations differential. The company believes that there are additional skills needed to work operations.

Could you explain the scope language?

The company will notify the union 30 days in advance of any station opening or closing.

It seems that part-time employees are getting more improvements in this TA than full-timers.

The scales are all based on years of service, not on full-time or part-time status.

Does a part-time agent really top out at 30 hours per week? With mandatory overtime of 4 hours, plus shift extensions, part-timers often work 38 hours per week—and sometimes 40 or 42 hours per week.

The language of the TA limits the number of hours any part-time employee can be scheduled for work to 30 hours. Part-time employees will be required to work fifty percent (50%) of their scheduled hours. They will be able to swap off more of their shifts to reduce their scheduled hours.

I want to know if after 40 hours of work we will qualify for overtime regardless of shift swaps. I have worked over 80 hours a week and missed out on overtime because the shifts I picked up were swaps.

Overtime is regulated by state law. Most states only include scheduled work hours as the basis of accruing 40 hours towards an overtime qualifier. This is true for all airline employees.

I'm a part-timer working 6 hours per day. Why do I only get 4 hours on holidays?

We proposed that all employees should receive 8 hours pay, but the company wouldn't agree to the change.

I'm not sure who counts as a "new hire" in the explanation of who is provided with two sets of uniforms—people working less than a year?

A new hire is anyone hired after the ratification date of the contract.

Why can't we get back some seniority for Mesa?

The company would only agree to honor the terms provided at the time the Mesa employees were hired. This is the same treatment that has been given to other employees.

In the new contract will we be credited prior seniority if we worked for Envoy previously and now work at Piedmont? Both companies are wholly owned by AA.

Unfortunately, no. Although they are both wholly owned by American, Envoy and Piedmont are treated as two separate companies. The time you have accrued at both carriers in most cases accrue toward your travel benefits when you retire.

I want to ask a union representative some questions. How can I do that?

There are several ways to get your questions answered.

1. Informational Meetings: Several in-person meetings will be held during the week of September 24. As soon as they are available, we will send details about the in-person meetings via email and post details on the homepage of our website and on Facebook.

2. Town Hall Calls

3. Contact your Local. You can find phone numbers and emails for your Local here.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT VOTING AND RATIFICATION

What are the next steps, now that we have a Tentative Agreement?

Members must vote on ratification of the agreement. We encourage every member to vote, so please read all the information below to make sure your voice is heard.

After a series of meetings and conference calls to explain exactly what is in the Tentative Agreement, an independent company, BallotPoint, will oversee the ratification election.

When will we be able to vote on the TA?

Voting will be open from October 15 to November 2, 2018.  As soon as you receive your voting information from Ballot Point you can cast your ballot. The last day to cast your vote by phone or internet will be November 2, at 12 p.m. EDT.

Exactly how does the voting work?

You will get instructions and a personal identification number (PIN) in the mail from BallotPoint, the independent company that oversees the voting. You may vote by phone or online with your PIN. To make sure you get voting information from BallotPoint, you MUST be a member in good standing by October 5. Please contact your local union immediately to make sure they have your membership form and you’ve paid your dues. 

Is my vote secret?

Yes. BallotPoint, an independent company, will issue a PIN number to every member. You’ll use that PIN, not your name, to access the voting system.

What if I lose my PIN or don’t receive mail from BallotPoint?

BallotPoint will provide a contact for requests for replacement PINs. If you request a replacement, the original record of your first PIN will be deleted so no one else can use it.

What if I change my mind? Can I change my vote?

Yes, you can change your vote. You will use the same PIN to vote a second time. ONLY the final vote you cast will be counted.

What happens if the majority of voters vote "no"?

We would remain in mediation, and there would be no new wage scale or 6% additional payment based on 2017 earnings. The mediator has stated that she will not schedule more mediation dates until one party is prepared to make a new proposal. In effect, this means we could remain in mediation indefinitely. Under federal rules we cannot pursue a strike or other actions until after we are released from mediation and complete a “cooling off period.”

Who is eligible to vote?

Piedmont passenger service employees who are CWA members in good standing may vote on the agreement. To be a member in good standing, you must be current on your union dues and you must have completed a membership form.

All eligible voters will receive voting instructions along with a personal identification number (PIN) in the mail from BallotPoint, an independent company that will oversee the election. In order to receive your voting packet from BallotPoint, you MUST be a member in good standing by October 5.

How can I find out if I’m a member in good standing, so I can vote? I thought I was a member in good standing during the vote earlier this year, but did not receive a ballot in the mail.

Check with your Local union officers. You can find contact information for your Local here. The last day to check with your Local to ensure that BallotPoint has your address and you receive a ballot in the mail is October 5.

But what if I don't contact my Local by October 5—does that mean I can't vote at all?

No, but it means you will not receive a ballot and information in the mail. You can still vote if you are a member in good standing by October 30, when all the member information must be in the BallotPoint system. Contact your Local as soon as possible—before October 5 is best. If you miss the October 5 deadline, an officer at your Local can still provide you with information about voting, as long as you make contact with your Local by October 30.

Who counts the votes?

BallotPoint, an independent company, counts all the votes.

If I don’t vote at all, is it a "no" or "yes" vote?

If you don't vote at all, your vote is simply not counted. The majority of the members that actually vote will determine if the contract is ratified.

How soon will I be able to see the results?

CWA will publish the results on our website and Facebook as soon as the voting is complete on November 2, 2018.