Questions and Answers
Why are we taking a strike vote?
We need and deserve a fair contract. In the year since we voted down the tentative agreement, management has not made any substantive improvements to its compensation proposal. To get them to make a fair
offer, we need to demonstrate that the flight attendants are united and that the membership supports the Negotiating Committee. A strike vote is far and away the most effective way to increase our leverage at the bargaining table.
Can we strike right away if members vote for it?
Taking a strike vote does not mean that we are able to strike right away. Under the Railway Labor Act, which governs negotiations in the airline industry, Flight Attendants are not free to strike until released by the National Mediation Board. We have not been released nor have we yet requested a release to strike.
Will the NMB release us to a 30-day-cooling off period and give us the right to strike if management fails to reach an agreement with us?
We cannot answer this question with a simple yes or no. The NMB certainly could release us if it determined that we were at impasse. It could also "recess" our negotiations, meaning that the mediator schedules no further sessions until one or both parties agrees to make significant movement.
We don't want that to happen. To get to a release (or better yet, to get management to make a fair offer), we need to show the Board that we are unified and that we will do what it takes to get an agreement we can ratify.
Assuming we vote for a strike, what would have to happen before we could strike?
The following steps would have to be exhausted before a strike could occur:
- The NMB would continue to schedule mediation dates. We have a session scheduled for April, but after that, we may get additional mediation dates, or we could be recessed.
- Either the union or management could request a Proffer of Arbitration.
- The NMB would decide whether to issue a Proffer of Arbitration or continue mediation sessions, or recess the parties.
- If the NMB issues a Proffer of Arbitration and one or both parties reject a Proffer of Arbitration, then the NMB would "release" the negotiations to a 30-day cooling-off period, followed by self-help.
By voting yes, does this mean I will be going on strike?
Voting yes for a strike does not mean we will actually go on strike, but it does mean we are willing to go on strike if necessary. As we have stated above, there are many steps to take before we actually strike and that the vast majority of strike votes result in a successful agreement prior to even striking. Additionally, by utilizing the CHAOS strike method, we limit the number of Flight Attendants actually striking while still putting pressure on the company. Furthermore, we attempt to operate CHAOS by striking flights where Flight Attendants have volunteered to strike first. However, to be clear, by voting for a strike, Flight Attendants are indicating they, we, are willing to strike if necessary.
What if the company threatens to discipline Flight Attendants for striking?
AFA has a long history of defending our right to strike. If the company were to take action against any Flight Attendants for participating in CHAOS, AFA lawyers would immediately be in Federal Court to enjoin the company and get full back pay for the Flight Attendants. At Alaska Airlines, all striking Flight Attendants were returned to work with back pay. At other carriers, including Midwest Express, the threat of CHAOS proved so successful we were able to reach agreements without actually striking a flight.
Voting Q and A
Am I Eligible To Vote in an Election?
In order to be eligible to vote, you must be...
- Actively flying, or continuing to pay your dues each month while on a leave of absence
- Member of AFA
- In good standing as of day of the ballot count. (Your dues may not be more than 30 days in arrears. If you are in bad standing and wish to vote please contact the AFA Membership Services Department at 800- 424-2401, [ext. 707])
- A member of the base where election will be held
How can I be sure that my vote is protected?
AFA is committed to providing the most secure and effective means for our members to vote. We do this by contracting with Votenet Solutions Inc,
the leading provider of secure on-demand voting and balloting software and telephone voting for organizations including unions, membership associations, trade associations, and many other types of organizations. Votenet routinely goes through highly sophisticated vulnerability and penetration assessments to ensure that malicious scripts and hackers can't interfere with your vote.
Electronic balloting is simple and effective. It can be done over the phone or on-line through a computer. As long as you are an active member in good standing, your completed electronic vote will be counted.
How will I know that my vote has actually been cast?
You will be issued a confirmation code. If you are voting over the phone, you may copy down the confirmation code for your records. If you are voting on-line, you may print the confirmation screen containing your code for your records.
Can anyone else see how I voted?
No, no one has access to how you voted. Once you have cast your ballot it is sealed and cannot be viewed by anyone.
Can I change my vote if I have already voted
No. Once you hit "submit," your vote is cast and you cannot re-vote.
Am I eligible to vote if I am on furlough or a leave status?
All active AFA Members in good standing are considered eligible voters. "Active" means paying dues. The AFA Constitution and Bylaws provides that any Flight Attendant on an inactive status (voluntary furlough, leave of absence, etc.) may keep her/his AFA Membership active. In order to exercise this option, a Flight Attendant may choose to place herself/ himself on a "Leave and Remain Active" status with AFA. Contact the AFA Membership Services Department at 800-424-2401 [ext. 707], if you would like to use this option.
Can Flight Attendants on probation vote?
Flight Attendants do not become AFA members until they have four months of service. In short, you can vote if you have been a Mesa Flight Attendant for at least four months, even if you are still on probation, as long as you are in good standing. Flight Attendants who have been here fewer than four months are not eligible to vote. We encourage Flight Attendants in this situation to remain informed, ask questions and participate in our union.
This is about the future of all Mesa Flight Attendants.
Do probationary Flight Attendants have the right to strike?
Yes. In the event of an actual strike, probationary Flight Attendants have the same legal rights as everyone else and the full protection of the union. We encourage all members to support our newest flying partners – they are the future of our union and our careers. Let's be sure they know how to get accurate information from our union and that they have the support and solidarity of all of their flying partners. Even though a Flight Attendant is on probation, the Company cannot legally discipline a probationary for voting to strike or for participating in a legal CHAOS strike.