A union representing Hawaiian Airlines flight attendants said it expects to meet with the company once again this week in order to negotiate fair wages.
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which held its first picket of 2020 at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport last Wednesday says it has hired a financial consultant to present a wage assessment for flight attendants based on industry standards.
The consultant, Dan Akins, has previously worked on flight attendant negotiations for American, United, Southwest, Aloha and US Airways, the AFA said.
Since November, when 99.9% of AFA members voted to authorize a strike, with 95.1% of members participating in the vote, the union and airline have been trying to agree on costing models that determine wages.
“We have been haggling over the costing models,” said Sharon Soper, Master Executive Council president. “What the company has for their own costing model is not the standard costing model for the industry.”
Soper said a key part of negotiations is agreeing on the costing model to determine pay raises, but other issues include medical premiums, 401(k) plans, and work rules. The management had agreed to minimal pay increases in exchange for higher medical premiums, and cutbacks to 401(k) contributions, she said, which the union has rejected.
Soper said the two sides will meet on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, and is awaiting a counterproposal to the union’s proposal in December.
Hawaiian Airlines on Thursday issued the following statement: “We have been actively working with the AFA for more than a year to reach a deal under the guidance and direction of the [National Mediation Board] mediator. We expect to make our third comprehensive proposal to the AFA next week.”
Hawaiian flight attendants are making 20% less than their counterparts at the top of the industry, the union said, yet are based in cities with the highest costs of living in the nation.
Negotiations began in January 2017, and are overseen by the National Mediation Board, which follows a collective bargaining process. While Hawaiian Airlines pilots negotiated a new contract that year, flight attendants continue to negotiate, the union said.
A strike is illegal until the board releases both parties from mediation and a cooling off period expires, neither of which has yet occurred.