The Transportation Workers Union just released the results of the first contract vote held for Virgin America Flight Attendants.
The results are as follows:
- 415 YES
- 490 NO
- 88% of the flight attendant work-group voted.
The first TA comes at a time when the airline is being acquired by Alaska Airlines. Although Alaska says they’ll be quick to merge the airlines, which would eventually place Virgin America flight attendants under the AFA contract negotiated by Alaska Airlines flight attendants, Alaska Airlines declined the Virgin negotiating committee’s request to allow Virgin flight attendants to vote on accepting the AFA agreement. Many believe Alaska plans to benefit long term from the lower labor costs that would have come from the ratification of Virgin America’s cheaper tentative agreement.
Virgin’s TA didn’t contain duty rigs, block or significant improvements in pay; it also only provided a pay raise on day of signing, one year later and then when the “transition” to Alaska was completed, therefore, only granting 2 years of pay raises even if the merger took 4-5 years to complete. There was also a $1450 signing bonus for the most senior flight attendants. Seniority of those flight attendants who went offline to work on “special assignments” in the company’s headquarters since launch was also grandfathered in though they haven’t flown in 7-9 years.
The contract was being sold to the flight attendants as a “Transition Agreement” rather than a “Tentative Agreement” citing some protections and rules to hold them over until the workforces of Alaska and Virgin were merged. However, many were not impressed with the contents of the agreement and also were concerned about previous airline mergers that took 5-7 years to complete.
With the decision to strike down the TA, Alaska Airlines will now be negotiating with the Virgin America flight attendants as they are expected to close on the acquisition of the airline in early October.