Hello TWU Local 578 Family!

Hello TWU Local 578 Family!

Since becoming our Local’s President this past January, I have been asked by many members, “What is a union and why do we need one?” I thought I would use my 2nd President’s Letter to address these questions and the concerns brought to me.
In general, a union is an organization formed by workers who unite and use their collective voices to have influence in their workplace. Through their union, and because of this unification, workers can negotiate from a position of strength with employers over wages, benefits, workplace health and safety, job training (or lack thereof), and other work-related issues.

I know that there has been frustration expressed regarding our first union-led contract. By far, it was not perfect. First contracts for new unions often aren’t. It is very difficult to make substantial improvements until you get a first contract in place. It takes time, and solidarity, to get a contract that most of our members will agree is a great one.

One of the challenges with newly formed unions is that their members look to other contracts in their industry for comparison. First, it is important to remember that FSI is unique in the fact that we do not work for an airline. It would be much easier for us if we were negotiating directly with Atlas Air, but unfortunately, that is not our case. It is also important to note that those contracts at airlines took years, sometimes decades of fighting and multiple agreements that made progress each time to get it to be that good. When you’re looking at other companies’ contracts, comparing, you don’t get to see the wars that were fought in those negotiation meetings to get it where it is today. You don’t get to see the blood, the sweat, the tears that were shed. We can’t fix everything in one contract.

These past few weeks great things have been transpiring for TWU Flight Attendant Locals. Our sisters and brothers at Local 556 representing Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants and Local 577 representing Allegiant Air Flight Attendants both ratified new, industry leading and changing, contracts by overwhelming percentages.

The Local 556 / Southwest Airlines Contract provides immediate raises of over 22%, putting them at industry leading wages that are 19% over the current leader, Delta. In addition, it provides a new Reserve System eliminating 24-hour call-out, additional pay for reschedules and delays, a retro bonus based on how much flight attendants have worked, and paid maternity and paternal leave with continued benefits at a major airline.

The Local 577 / Allegiant Contract offers immediate raises averaging 25%, a signing bonus based on longevity, and paid maternity and paternal leave. Also, they will now receive a duty RIG minimum of .7 hours for every one hour away from base if their RIG is greater than their block hours. And, they will get 200% compensation for delays, reschedules, and extended days, and a walk-off option or 200% pay for a duty period delayed past 18 hours.

While Southwest is a very mature contract, we should all take notice of the great increases for Allegiant. This is only their second contract. So, let’s be encouraged by this news. Negotiations for our second contract are just around the corner. We should be proud that we achieved uniting our Flight Attendants under our first contract and we will continue to move forward to seek the improvements we deserve for contributing to the success of FSI and Atlas Air in our future ones.

In closing, once again, we ask everyone to please keep an open mind and be patient with us as we forge ahead. We ask that if you have not already registered with the union, please do so as soon as possible. We ask that our members to please get involved where your skill sets are most applicable. And finally, again we ask that we all work together to take this job that we love so much to the next level.

I remain excited to see where we go from here. I hope you all are as well!

Sincerely In Solidarity,

Nikki Doby
President, TWU Local 578
One Team, One Dream