There’s supposed to be “More To Love” with the Alaska Airlines acquisition of Virgin America (as much as they call it a “merger,” it’s important to remember it’s technically an acquisition) but the Virgin flight attendants aren’t feeling the love from the company or the TWU and are seemlingly stuck in the middle of a “he said – she said.”
The Transport Workers Union was elected to represent the Virgin flight attendants in 2014 after the first vote failed in 2011 when many wanted to give the company a chance to turn the culture, morale, workrules and pay situation around; many flight attendants also said they never expected a merger or acquisition this early in the company’s history. Late last year the TWU hastily put out a their first tentative agreement (reached with Virgin America management) to the membership for a vote. With many unanswered questions and confusion, the outcome lead to a “No” vote.
Fully aware that immediately following their selection the company was to be sold to Alaska Airlines, the flight attendants took the risk that Alaska would honor it’s word be a “textbook merger” and ensure things ran smoothly. Shortly after the acquisition, Alaska did decide to offer a second tentative agreement.
There’s many rumors about who was, and wasn’t at meetings; what’s in and not the draft agreement. Was pay changed? Wasn’t it? Alaska says TWU has the answers and flight attendants should talk to the union as to why they haven’t allowed flight attendants to see the agreement yet. The TWU has remained silent. Rumors say portions of the agreement have been changed and isn’t what the union agreed to, and the TWU is deflecting back to Alaska.
Many sources close to the situation say that the TWU is afraid to put the TA out for a vote for fear of another “no” vote which would hurt their reputation. A quick cost analysis would also say that the TWU is evaluating the cost of putting the TA out for a vote fully aware that in just a few months time any union dues they may receive from Virgin’s would be re-directed to the AFA once a “single carrier status” is issued and that day is quickly approaching. So why spend the money? Those assigned to Virgin America, on behalf of the TWU have also gone silent on the situation.
So the flight attendants are speaking out. Many have began to email Thom McDaniel and Harry Lombardo demanding to see the agreement the union is holding on to. Publishing the agreement, even just to be read, would put the rumor mill to rest, would also allow the flight attendants to see just who is being truthful and would also allow Alaska Flight Attendants to see what the company is agreeing to on the other-side of the fence ahead of their joint-contract negotiations.
Is there really ‘more to love’ or is the TWU failing flight attendants over profits? Publishing the copy of the agreement that’s out there may be the only answer.