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As We Look Back: Happy New Year

Date: December 31, 2015

Dear Flying Partners:

It is our tradition as we stand on the door step of a new year, to take the opportunity to reflect on the events of the past. We do so in an effort to make a plan for and to set in motion the necessary steps for our future success - both personally and professionally.  Each year at this time, as we look into the future, our traditional New Years’ message contemplates a fresh start, a new beginning and resolutions –the promises we make to ourselves as we look toward a brighter future and set our goals for the coming year.

This year as we look back, it’s difficult to get past the events of the past few days.  In fact, the events of the past few days are really symptomatic of and crystallize in our minds the actual experience we have lived over the past year.  Try as we might to put the past behind us, to start everyday renewed, refreshed and re invigorated, our work life experience does little in the way of fostering an environment where this is possible.  

Over the course of the past few days, we’ve heard many of you tell us of your experiences in the operation.  You’ve shared your experiences of management attempts to intentionally disregard the Contract under which we work and of the ongoing empty promises to fix scheduling and hotel issues.    As many of you have said, it seems that any kind of weather results in a breakdown in the operation as if ours is an airline in its infancy, unable to anticipate the impact of adverse weather conditions or respond to national weather forecasts.  Others have expressed disappointment and dismay at what appears to be an inability to make decisions in the operation of the airline. None of this, you say, is truly reflective of the heritage of our now merged, once great airlines.

As Flight Attendants, we’re repeatedly expected to manage our passengers’ ever growing dissatisfaction with our operation.  Apologize and put our best face forward, we’re told.  At times like this, we are relied upon by every employee of this corporation to overcome passenger dissatisfaction with our operation and create an environment that not only fosters customer satisfaction but also encourages very, very dissatisfied passengers to want to return to fly our airline. Why such reliance on us?  Simply, we are relied upon to do this because the livelihood of every employee of our airline depends on our unique skills and talents.  Let there be no confusion; we do this well, every day, successfully. 

In return for this extraordinary commitment, we expect to be recognized for our contribution and dedicated efforts.  Instead of the repetitious, meaningless, “We appreciate all that you do” we expect management to do something meaningful.  We expect a management team that is more interested and has as one of its top priorities, coming to the table to meet with our representatives and reach agreement on a new joint Contract than one interested in creating conflict and excuses for not meeting.  Passengers and employees alike share an expectation that management will run the airline in a way that produces better results for everyone.

The right way for us to determine our future is by creating it.  An essential component in creating the future we want is courage which is an integral part in realizing our objectives.  Now, more than ever, it is clear that management is not interested in addressing our issues by negotiating a contract. In order to obtain our priorities, we must expect something different of ourselves. 

This year, we must replace the superficial, yet purposeful, promises we make to ourselves with a genuine sense of resolve.  We must put behind us the chapters filled with worries, fear and division.  We must turn our focus from the opportunities that may have been missed in the last year and resolve to stand together in our reasonable expectation that management will recognize our unique and personal contributions to the bottom line success of what they may view as a business and we know as “our airline.”  In order to achieve this, we must choose our actions and words wisely so we don’t find ourselves in the same position and ours is a message we are proud to read.  We must find the courage and resolve to embrace the change that will come through meeting the priorities of all of the Flight Attendants who make up our unique work group.  Our very future depends on this.

In the days and weeks ahead, you will be asked to participate in activities that will reflect our solidarity as we work to determine our future.  That is, the future we create and not the one pre-ordained by a management team interested in reducing the benefits we expect from a financially successful, multi-national corporation all while making you work harder for less. Together, we reject management’s assertion that we must give up something to get something else.  At the same time, while management continues to expect to have it all.   That’s not how this works.  It’s not how any of this works. 

Despite it all, when we are traveling with each other over this holiday weekend, take care of yourself and each other.  Don’t forget to commit yourself to showing up for each other and being a part of making a difference in the New Year.

On behalf of the United Master Executive Council, we wish you and your family a safe and festive New Years’ celebration and look forward to the future we will create together in the New Year. 

In Solidarity,
The Officers of the United Master Executive Council                                                            

 Ken Diaz

Andreas Curlee
Vice President

Jeffrey Heisey
Secretary Treasurer

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