Voice your concern for the DCA Spring 2019 Bid
Several agents are deeply concerned with the proposed Spring 2019 bid. Many of us were shocked by the recent changes. First, we want to acknowledge that as a station we want our company to succeed. We take pride in customer service and representing our brand. We also believe taking care of our internal customer helps us take better care of our external customers. We are hopeful that management will work with us to create a bid that meets operational needs and incorporates some of our feedback.
All of us are here because we want to be here. The Rules of the Road states care for our customers, our community, and each other as one of our company's core values. Regarding the bid, we hope that we can reach a resolution that embodies this value. While, there is a distinction between Benefitted and Ready Reserve Employees, the concerns mentioned below are shared between us. We hope that this letter will start a dialogue towards reworking the spring/summer bid.
- Reworking this bid will help us take better care of our customers.
- Adding more flexibility to this bid will help us take better care of our community.
- An open dialogue with actions towards reworking this bid will make DCA stronger.
As mentioned earlier, we understand that taking care of our customers is our first priority. We know that operational needs must be met first. However, we believe the changes made to the bid will hinder the operation. One significant change was the elimination of the 8 AM shift. The 8 AM shift plays a significant role in our operation.
As it stands, the morning shift is scheduled to end at 1230 PM with the afternoon shift starting at noon. We have seen in the past that this overlap has led to a lack of coverage because the transition time gives very little room for error. The 8am shift gives much needed coverage to fill this gap and helps to cover lunches for the morning agents. We fear this change without altering the 12 PM start will disservice our customers
Also, we would like to highlight that the removal of the 1600 benefited start time from BSO and the limited amount of 1600 benefited in the afternoon will hurt our operation. We understand that you cannot make a bid based on IROP's but limiting the night BSO operation to Ready Reserves places the operation in an unfavorable position. Most Ready Reserves, understandably, have a second job. If they have to stay past 12:30a they will be forced to choose between our company and their primary source of income. Additionally Ready Reserves that are consistently called on to stay beyond their end time will potentially surpass the 1400 hour limit.
We are also concerned about the lack of coverage in the evening. The Ready Reserve evening shifts were pared down from 17 to 9. Given the higher demand for travel in the summer and the consistent late day summer IROP's we believe more evening coverage will set DCA up for success.
We believe that a new bid addressing these concerns and the ones listed below will create a bid that balances operational needs and employee feedback.
We understand that every six months we might have to change our lives around based on operational need. The biggest thing that helps with rearranging our lives is a flexible bid that allows us to adjust. As it stands this is very restrictive bid. A healthy work-life balance makes us all better employees. As it stands many of the options we've had for years are nearly eliminated. Benefitted and Ready Reserves rely on swapping and doubles. This bid limits both. Doubling for Benefitted has become harder with the increase in Ready Reserve hours. Not to mention, it is nearly impossible for 1600 shift to double without staying here the entire day. We are a strong community that looks out for each other. Helping out our co-workers is within the DCA culture. However, this bid makes it harder to help others, which makes it harder for us to address our lives outside of this company.
We also want to note that when Ready Reserves were hired, we were told that this position was a flexible position, ideal for; students, individuals with second jobs, and individuals wishing to grow with the company. Despite lacking some of the benefits our fulltime counterparts have, we have embraced the opportunity to work at our company. There have been changes to our schedule before but most still allowed for flexibility within the program. Since we do not have medical insurance and there are limitations on hours, a good number of ready reserves have employment outside of the company, a fact that was made known to management when we were hired. Besides the need for benefits, a second job or second income is necessary to live in this region. The DMV area is number 9 on the most expensive places to live in the US list. It also has the 5th highest cost of living In the country. Maintaining in this region on the salary of a Ready Reserve alone is impossible.
Given that a fair number of the DCA community have second jobs for the reasons mentioned above, we were hoping to see a bid that reflects our community. As the bid stands, it removes a lot of flexibility we had in previous bids. Flexibility is more than just swapping ability. It also reflects having various start times that gives individuals the opportunity to accommodate for life outside of the company. If the bid were made final today, more than 40% of the shifts offered start at 12, each of the other times represents roughly 20% of the available start times. The majority of the shifts available start at a time that makes it hard to accommodate other responsibilities outside of the company. The elimination of the 8 am, and 4 pm shift also limits much-needed flexibility, especially in a bid that is requiring ready reserves to commit more time in a day to the company (6.5-hour shifts). Longer shifts force us to limit the type of revenue producing opportunities needed outside of the company to ensure we can live in this expensive region. Additionally having only one afternoon shift of 6pm to 12:30am virtually ensures that any Ready Reserve with a weekday job will only get 4-5 hours of sleep per night barring any late night IROP's.
Aside from flexibility and Ready Reserves with second jobs, we feel that feedback from the Ready Reserves when the survey came out was not reflected in this bid. The Ready Reserve survey that was sent out before the bid created a healthy discourse with our coworkers. However, there wasn't an option to provide freeform feedback on the survey and the choices were extremely limited.
Even though Ready Reserves were able to state a preference of 5.5 or 6.5 hours shifts the 4.5 hour option was not reflected and there weren't any 5.5 hour shifts to chose from in the second question. We do not feel the results gave a true representation of what the Ready Reserves wanted. Many of them used this as an opportunity to reach out to the bid committee and express their concerns. It is unclear how those concerns were translated into this bid, but many of the things communicated do not seem present in this bid.
A bid that gives more flexibility not only helps us but will help the operation because we will be stronger employees in the long run. Operational needs can still be met by adding more flexibility.
There are many things we would like to discuss. After the town hall meeting, many felt hopeful after being assured that most would be happy with the bid. After discussing with our coworkers, we do not feel that most of us are happy with the results. Nor do we feel this represents what we communicated to the bid committee.
There are several things we would like to discuss:
- Making the Benefitted and Ready Reserve lines more flexible
- Coverage at night, especially at BSO
- The reinstatement of the mid-morning shift to improve flexibility and meet operational needs
- The elimination of the 6.5-hour work shift as it reduces much-needed flexibility. We believe that operational needs can be met with 5 and 5.5-hour shifts
- The reinstatement of a mid-afternoon shift that isn't required to stay past midnight
We understand that the company and its customers come first. We are all willing to put in the work to make a bid that has a good balance of operations and employee input. We are invested in our company and we want to see it succeed.