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Hey everyone, I recently became aware of an "issue" that has been making the rounds on Facebook and which is also the subject of a recent JQP post. My response to his article was "detected as spam." So I'm re-posting this here with a desire to see what the BO rank and file thinks of this latest spear from JQ. As follows: JQP, much like the previous article on the Thunderbird mishap, you are way off base. "But things have gotten sideways. The question now on the table is what happens to those who lock in early only to find that the bonus increases in value significantly following year. This year’s ARP package is offering pilots in some career families $35,000/year — 40% more than last year." This is only a question to one of three people: 1. Those who didn't read the offer. 2. Those who read but didn't understand the offer. 3. Those who have an ax to grind and are now choosing to intentionally misread the statement to forward an agenda. 'The guys signing up early took this as a good faith “opt-in” clause indemnifying them against the risk of lost opportunity due to early action. They thought the USAF was saying “don’t worry … if we offer more next year, we’ll let you opt in at the higher amount.”' I'm sorry, but if anyone thought that, then they didn't read (or understand) the offer. It is CRYSTAL clear in the message that the offer would extended to those contracted pilots 'to sign a NEW CONTRACT worth the higher bonus amount AND/OR longer contract length, in the event...' This statement can mean one of three things: 1. (AND) The AF will let you sign up for a higher bonus AND a longer contract term. 2. (OR) The AF will let you sign up for a higher bonus amount OR a longer contract term, but not both. 3. (AND/OR) The AF will let you sign up for whatever terms they come up with for the next years' bonus; higher amounts, different contract lengths, etc, because they don't know what they will be (i.e $25K for 7 years; $40K for 8 years; $50K for 13 years, etc.). 4. (NEITHER) Keep the bonus you already signed and STFU. Of course, it's advantageous for the complainants to go with option 2a, just take more money and run, but unfortunately, not even a 3rd grade reading is admissible for those who are disinterested. Notice also, that the message specifically references LONGER contract lengths - not SHORTER ones. Hmm. "They were, it now appears, wrong to place that much faith in the service. What those officers are being told when they try to opt in is that if they want the higher bonus payouts, they must commit to an additional year of service commitment. They’ll get five bonus payments but be expected to serve six additional years." Just like everyone else in the Air Force would have to. Jeez, why not back-date the $35K bonus to those who signed up 4 years ago? 6? 9? As you go down that argument trail, hopefully you can begin to see the absurdity of the position which holds that the ones who signed up last year should get something for nothing. That said, philosophically, I agree that if the "bonus" goes up, everyone one who's on it should be given the increased amount - unfortunately, that's not what the agreement says or how it reads. "Finally, and most interestingly, this instruction did not exist when the FY16 early takers made their decisions. It was published months later, in October. The rules governing their opt-in decisions should not spring from this DO DI, but whatever rule was in effect at the time they signed. If no rule existed addressing this situation, they’re entitled to the plain language in their agreements, which would allow them to opt-in without any additional service commitment." Ummm, no, the plain-language interpretation decidedly DOES NOT allow them to pick and choose the terms of the new contract. "They can’t claim a lack of bargaining power constrained them from a fair deal in FY16 ARP negotiations. Nor can they claim the USAF engaged in fraud. There is a clause containing sufficient vagary to portend the mess that has ensued, and they knew or should have known that opting in would come with additional requirements of some sort." Finally, an accurate statement. Seriously, no, seriously - what is vague about the FY16 offer? It is perfectly clear to me and I'm no lawyer. "And just to be clear, this cohort has pretty much no legal leverage. There’s nothing that will invalidate their old contracts and there’s nothing making them enter new ones. They are all bound by their original agreements unless they’re willing to be coerced into new ones." Except for the same leverage I had, which was to not sign the bonus; they made choices. What is the problem? "This is a moral issue. Playing shell games will forfeit the goodwill Gen. Golden and his team have worked to rebuild over the past year. That would be truly unfortunate." No. Just, no. This barely rises to the level of ethics. And if it did, it's not unethical on part of the AF. The only unethical thing I see going on is intentional misinterpretation of the offer and an attempt to exploit an AF that's in a bad situation. "It would be a shame if this turned into yet another social media campaign to interest legislators in an issue that commanders and senior staff should be able to handle tomorrow morning with a 5-minute meeting and some clear direction." Nice veiled threat. Good thing is that most legislators are lawyers by trade and will instantly recognize that this is a baseless complaint. I like to point out problems the AF has as well, and I appreciate some of the work you do, but this is a non-issue, and detracts from actual issues that the AF is suffering from. I hope these folks do take this to the legislature and come away with egg on their faces. ViperMan Anyway, I'd like to know what you all think.