Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to Dear AFA. A democratic, Member driven Union of Flight Attendants for Flight Attendants. Today is Friday, June 22, 2012 and this is Council 9 Volunteer, Allen Ward, reporting and together we will do better.
Prepared and Ready To Go
In a letter from United Master Executive Council President Greg Davidowitch he gives an update on the status of final preparations by the United Master Executive Council for our Joint Contract negotiations.
This week the United Master Executive Council met with the representatives of the Continental and Continental Micronesia Flight Attendants in Special Session. Our International Officers called the meeting to present a State of the Industry Report and facilitate preparations for our upcoming Single Contract Negotiations.
Financial and legal advisors were also in attendance and stressed the importance of the successful outcome for our negotiations, not only for all Flight Attendants at the new United Airlines, but to set the bar for the U.S. aviation industry. Our representatives on the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) were present and had the opportunity to meet with the representatives who will serve on the JNC from Continental and Continental Micronesia.
Recognizing your involvement in these negotiations is critical to our success, Flight Attendants represented by the United Master Executive Council will be surveyed to identify the priorities we will pursue in a Joint Contract. The comprehensive survey will open on July 14 and close on August 5, 2012. Our goal is to achieve the best of the three Collective Bargaining Agreements at each of the separate airlines. Your feedback will dictate our course of action.
We’ve said it in previous surveys, but it cannot be overstated: your participation in the survey is critical to our success. Through your participation you are assured that our Joint Negotiating Committee knows the issues that are important to you. Failure to participate will result in allowing others to determine what priorities are important to you in a Contract that will govern an integrated workforce.
We know for a fact that an informed, educated and mobilized Membership results in solid, productive negotiation results. Our recently ratified Contract is the richest Flight Attendant Contract since the 1980’s and to date is the only new Contract in place for any United work group post bankruptcy. Our Flight Attendant Negotiations Network (FANN) proved instrumental to our success and we will continue to utilize the FANN to communicate with you on the details of our negotiations. FANN is about face to face discussions and sharing information. As we continue to gain momentum towards Joint Contract Negotiations our FANN activists have been collecting your feedback regarding how you wish to receive information about negotiations. For those of you who have participated in these face to face surveys, we appreciate your participation.
If you have previously signed up for the FANN, you’re already set to go. If you’re not yet a member of the FANN, we encourage you to sign up today. Assure yourself that you get accurate, relevant and timely negotiations updates. Members of the FANN get negotiations related information first; sign up on our website today.
Remember, Joint Contract Negotiations are markedly different than the traditional Section 6 process we recently concluded. But the outcome remains the same; these negotiations will define our careers at the new United Airlines.
We are prepared and ready to go! Be sure to become a Member of the FANN, participate in our surveys and set your goals high. We have an unprecedented opportunity to stand in Solidarity with our flying partners at Continental and Continental Micronesia to raise the bar with new standards in compensation, benefits and work rules at the world’s largest airline.
Monthly Schedule Max
Our Contract provides that the maximum domestic credited flight time per month is 95 hours.
Section 7.A.8. of our new Contract provides that any Flight Attendant may, at their option, elect to project their monthly maximum to either 100 hours or over 100 hours. Lineholders may opt to 100 or over 100 through picking up from open flying, trip trading, accepting an assignment or by calling the crew desk/service center. Reserves may opt to 100 or over 100 when bidding for their lines or by calling the service center/crew desk.
Establishing a Contractual limit to the maximum number of hours management can schedule us to, on a monthly basis, protects us from being forced to fly more hours in any given month, offers schedule trading opportunities to increase or decrease time, and protects our jobs. The more hours each of us can be scheduled to fly, the fewer Flight Attendants are needed to do our job and diminishes our schedule flexibility. Furthermore with out any monthly maximum we would be forced to work more that we plan to fly for the month.
Monthly Schedule Maximum language does limit the company on how many hours they can schedule us, but does not limit our ability to drop trips allowing us to discretionally decrease our own hours or opting to increase hours to fly more and maximize hour income. In fact, with our new Contract, we have the ability to fly unlimited hours (over 100) at our option. Monthly schedule maximums work only to protect us and in no way hinder our ability to trade or work more hours.
Visit our website for more information on this important work rule provision.
Protect Yourself against Turbulence
Turbulence is an occupational hazard that we all take very seriously. Summer time is a good time to remember that every day we fly, when it comes to cabin safety, place yourself and your flying partners first. It is only through these efforts that we may fulfill our duties as safety professionals for the passengers in our care. To minimize injuries caused in turbulence or chop, stow all but necessary service components when the service is over, especially carts, full coffee pots and glass bottles.
It may not always be possible to receive warning of turbulence or to return to your jumpseat when turbulence hits. FAOM pages 2.173 cover the precautions we can take against turbulence injuries starting with predeparture crew briefings through the actions we should take during turbulence. FAOM page 2.176 states that when we confront moderate chop to severe turbulence, in order to protect ourselves we must discontinue the service, set the cart brakes, leave the cart at its present location and sit in the nearest available seat or on the floor, if necessary. If turbulence persists through descent and the prepare for landing announcement is made, the cockpit should direct Flight Attendants to remain seated and we should immediately advise the cockpit if the cabin and galley are not secured for landing. Bottom line - protect yourself!
Safety Not Aligned
United Airlines has traditionally been a leader in the industry when it comes to safety and security procedures. For over a decade we have been successful in maintaining a good relationship between our MEC Safety, Health and Security Committee and United corporate security. Our recommendations and involvement post September 11th and through SARS, H1N1, the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami have been instrumental in keeping our Flight Attendants and aircraft as safe as we can make them.
Unfortunately on an issue that is now receiving media attention, United is choosing to go their own way and disregard our concerns. The issue of cockpit security and removal of the secondary barrier has received public focus in recent weeks and is of course a concern for our Members.
United has instructed Boeing to remove the secondary barrier for the 787 equipment that will be delivered to Continental Airlines. The barrier is standard equipment on this new aircraft and United will incur additional costs for its removal. Only aircraft operated by Continental will be affected.
It is our firm belief that the removal of the secondary barrier on any aircraft is not a good decision on the part of United management. We have strongly objected to their decision and continuing to engage in discussions with management regarding this important issue.
United management is removing these barriers as part of their continuing “alignment” procedures. However, our opinion is that the use of a secondary barrier, coupled with the best practice flight deck procedures provides a higher enhanced safety and security procedures than without. It allows Flight Attendants and pilots vital time if needed to assess a threat and respond to it.
United has traditionally been an industry leader in safety, and has maintained a standard well above that required by required by the industry. It is a fact that both United and Flight Attendants have been able to take pride in. By United lowering our security from industry leading to “industry standard” we risk compromising the safety of our aircraft and everyone onboard. It’s the wrong way for United to be headed.
In industry news, a federal bankruptcy judge has delayed a ruling scheduled for today on whether American Airlines can break its Contracts with Unions and impose cost-cutting steps including thousands of layoffs. This one-week delay gives the company and Unions more time to negotiate.
That’s all for this evening! Thank you for calling. As we move forward together, management must recognize the value that Flight Attendants bring to the world’s largest airline. We will stand strong together to do Whatever It Takes! to achieve an industry leading Single Contract.