E-Lines: July 06, 2019
July 5, 2019
Rushing & Distraction Have No Place During Cabin Door Operations
The message from senior management intended to convey “Safety is our number one priority” is apparently being muted by the noise of quick turns and on-time departures. Arguably, our safety culture is at risk of becoming a “make it work” culture that is fraught with the perils that accompany divergence from standard operating procedures. We are aware that many of you are frustrated by what appears to be management’s heightened focus not only on issues that appear to compromise safety, but also about how you express these concerns. Safety is a sensitive subject that should concern all of us. As Safety Professionals, we should not be reaching the point of frustration from having systems that don’t support reporting of safety issues nor should we be feeling as if our concerns are being minimized simply because we’ve submitted a report expressing our frustration that has a “tone” management doesn’t like.
What should be clear to all of us in today’s environment is that we cannot allow these other distractions and company priorities to distract us from our primary mission – safety in all things, at all time. Take your moment for safety. Do not let pressure for on time departures, quick turns or pre-departure services take you away from standard operating procedures. Each of us have specific assignments and the arming and disarming of cabin doors must be among our highest priorities. We needn’t tell you of the responsibility that comes with any door assignment or the risk of injury, to yourself or others, that might result from opening an armed door.
On Friday, July 5th , yet another partial inadvertent slide deployment (ISD) occurred in Chicago. No one comes to work intending to deploy a slide inadvertently. Yet these ISDs are occurring with far greater regularity than anyone would like or expect. What can we, as Flight Attendants, do to reduce these increasing events?
As Safety Professionals, we must focus on our specific responsibilities. Only we can prevent inadvertent slide deployments. Arm & disarm those doors for which you have a responsibility. Don’t arm or disarm doors for which you do not have a responsibility. Use your eFAOM to review your responsibilities before every flight, to review door operations with a special emphasis on those aircraft you do not fly frequently. Most importantly, don’t allow yourself to be coerced into hurrying. Stop. Drop. Review.
At the same time, we need to have a full discussion about the heavily distracted environment that has been created by management. Unless and until management accepts its responsibility in the creation of this “rush, rush” mentality, our fear is that things will only get worse. Rush, rush has become ingrained in the day to day operations of our airlines. The message from management must change. Compliance with all FARs, making safety a priority over on time departures and making a commitment to employees that these items, above all else, is the prime directive from the highest levels of management.
Until then, we must support & encourage each other to maintain our commitment to safety. We must remind each other to take our time in completing our safety responsibilities especially when it comes to door operations. When you are arming or disarming a cabin door, nothing else matters. There is no passenger request, no on time departure or quick turn objective that takes priority. We are on the aircraft for this purpose specifically and we cannot delegate that responsibility to another crew member or delay acting on the direction to arm or disarm a cabin door. When you are told to arm or disarm a cabin door, stop what you are doing and go to your assigned exit.
Let’s make good use of the safety briefing before each flight departure to remind ourselves of the priorities that we are empowered to set as safety professionals.
Passenger Incident Review Committee Intended to Support Flight Attendants
The Passenger Incident Review Committee, often referred to as PIRC, is a cross-divisional team that includes Director level Leadership from Inflight Services, Corporate Security, Corporate Legal, and Airport Operations. It also includes Investigators assigned to each division. Since 2007, United and AFA have partnered in this industry leading program that supports Flight Attendants, as well as other front-line employees.
In 2005 AFA discovered that in some instances due to jurisdictional issues, assaulted Flight Attendants were unable to get judicial remedy. Additionally, there was no mechanism in place for United to hold these passengers accountable. In an effort to find resolution for our Members, AFA approached Corporate Security. They agreed to partner with AFA to develop a program which would fairly investigate employee assaults, and yet where appropriate, still allow for passenger accountability. In order for an incident to be reviewed by the PIRC, it must be a Level 2 or higher, and involve an actual physical assault. This can range from pushing and shoving to inappropriate touching and sexual misconduct against an employee.
Once a Level 2 is declared, or a crewmember assault is reported, the Inflight PIRC investigator gathers information, reviews the facts around the misconduct, and makes a recommendation to the PIRC committee. The committee is comprised of a member from Corporate Security, and Corporate Legal, as well as Senior Leadership from Inflight Services. They will then review and discuss the facts of the case, and determine the best resolution. Based on the severity of the incident, the outcome could include a loss of miles from one’s Mileage Plus account, pre-screening for future flights, or, up to a permanent travel ban on United. Although these types of occurrences are rare relative to the number of daily flights, Inflight has seen an increase in the amount of cases reported year over year.
Recent trends have shown an increase in cases involving intoxicated passengers. AFA has been working with Inflight Safety to identify the various factors which may contribute to passengers being over-served before their flight. Please keep in mind that it is an FAR violation to board a passenger who is, or appears to be intoxicated. Work with the Captain and CSR, if you are concerned about any passenger during boarding.
For further information on the PIRC program, go to Flying Together – My Work – Inflight Safety Quick Links – Passenger Incident Review Committee. Additionally, contact your Local Safety, Health & Security Committee.
Quarterly Incentive Compensation Detailed & Paid on July Advice
As the second quarter of the fiscal year closes, we recommend that Flight Attendants be on the lookout for their Incentive Pay on their July 2019 Pay Advice. Incentive pay is contractually negotiated compensation for Flight Attendants that fly in excess of two hundred (200:00) per calendar quarter, including vacation and deadhead, to a maximum of three hundred and thirty hours (330:00), except that no incentive pay will apply for block hours flown in excess of one hundred and ten (110:00) hours in a bid month. JCBA 4.B.1
Questions concerning Incentive Pay, contact your Local Executive Council.
One Month Special COLA for August 2019 with Medical Benefits at Active Rates
Flight Attendants interested in submitting a bid for the one-month Special COLA which is available for the August schedule month are reminded the deadline to submit your request is Monday July 8, 2019, no later than 0800 (CT). To submit a bid, using CCS > Leaves > Special COLAs. The awards will be published before July 12th. For further details regarding this Special COLA, please refer to the "August 2019 One Month Special COLA Program Information" document found on Flying Together > Inflight Services > Crew Scheduling or the E-lines publication dated June 23, 2019, which is available from unitedafa.org.
The August 2019 Special COLA includes medical benefits at active rates.
Commuter Policy – Review Listing Requirements
MEC Communications Committee
During this past week, Flight Attendants have reported issues when trying to utilize the commuter policy, due to scheduling stating “improper listing procedures concerning available seating.”
The language provided in section 28 of our JCBA, the commuter policy, provides a Flight Attendant commuting by air leeway when their commute is affected by situations identified in the policy, such as delays caused by unforeseen weather or mechanical issues. Another provision of the policy defines the listing parameters and the steps a Flight Attendant must adhere to in order to utilize the contractual benefits of the policy.
As stated in Section 28.B.4, a Flight Attendant must exercise good judgment and exert every reasonable effort to report for work, including having the legitimate reasonable potential to commute on either of at least two flights listed twenty-four (24) hours prior to the first flight’s departure through the Company’s employee reservations systems. The inventory for these seats must be controlled by the Company and, at the time of listing, both flights must be under authorization levels as displayed in the Employee Reservation System. This must include accounting for non-revenue space available (NRSA) travelers that have listed and have either a higher boarding priority or greater seniority than the commuting Flight Attendant. Finally, these two flights must be scheduled to arrive at the Flight Attendant’s domicile or the point where her/his duty assignment is scheduled to begin at least one (1) hour prior to report time.
Flight Attendants are cautioned that listing must occur through the company’s reservation system. Use of other apps when listing or checking for seat availability may be inaccurate.
Questions can be directed to your Local Council representatives.
Cabin Jumpseat (CJA) on Weight Restricted Flights – Contractually Protected
JCBA Section 3.A
Section 3.A. of our JCBA ensures that Flight Attendants following established procedures when requesting Cabin Jumpseat Authority (CJA) will not be denied boarding on weight restricted flights when cabin jumpseats are available.
If you encounter difficulty or are denied CJA authority on weight restricted flights, immediately contact your Local Council Office.
Hotel & Transportations Issues – Use AFA Reporting & Avoid United Voices
MEC Hotel & Transportation Committee
When issues occur with our contractually required hotel & transportation issues, our MEC Hotel & Transportation Committee is best prepared to address these issues when provided the specific details of any incidents. It is becoming clear to AFA that there are instances where issues have been reported via company reporting systems, those details are not being shared with the MEC Hotel & Transportation Committee.
Hotel & Transportation incidents that are not reported via the United MEC website essentially did not happen. Without the specific data being reported using the Union’s reporting system available on www.unitedafa.org, the MEC Hotel Transportation Committee cannot completely address contractual deficiencies. When these issues are received via the Union’s reporting system, details of the incident are shared with management at United as well as at the hotel to be addressed. It is regrettable that United management has yet to develop a system whereby reports to the company are shared with the Union. Conversely, AFA’s system collects and records these issues at each property and effectively provides us with the data we use to address your concerns.
It is for this reason that we absolutely discourage the use of United Voices. Using United Voices provides management with the exclusive knowledge of the incident. If they fail to acknowledge or follow-up on the issues, in fact, it is as if it never happened. Your experiences are never recorded and management can (and does) effectively deny there are issues with our contracted hotels.
We understand the frustration with repeatedly reporting the same issues with our layover hotels. However, management is betting that you’ll grow tired of reporting these issues and that we will simply come to accept these problems ultimately reducing the standards that have been negotiated on your behalf.
Reporting issues via social media is not an effective way to have your voice heard.
We remind Flight Attendants that posting their experiences on social media is not reporting the issue. Your AFA MEC Hotel & Transportation Committee needs the appropriate documentation in order to address your concerns.
If you have additional questions, please contact your Local Hotel & Transportation Committee for assistance.
Additional Information for New United Voluntary Benefit Offerings
Beginning July 1, 2019, United launched a new offering
of voluntary benefits that goes beyond the traditionally negotiated medical, dental and vision benefits. Enrollment packages for Phase I benefits have been mailed to our homes.
The United Voluntary Benefits website was launched on July 1, 2019 at which time the voluntary enrollment period began. Flight Attendants interested in enrolling for these additional voluntary plans may do so on-line by visiting CCS > Flying Together > Managers Tool Box> Your Benefits Resource (YBR) and clicking on the Voluntary Benefits icon or by contacting a representative by telephone at 800 448 3460 or by e-mail to email@example.com.
The new benefit plans will be offered in two phases; Phase I opened on Monday, July 1, 2019 while Phase II Benefits will be offered during our annual Open Enrollment Period to become effective January 1, 2020.
Additional information can be found at Unitedvoluntarybenefits.com
Reminders and Quick Links
July 1-7 Absence Certificate Required for Absences July 1 – July 7
July 8 Deadline to submit a request for August one month COLA
July 19 New Hire Class 1923 Graduates from United Inflight
July 29 – 31 77th Annual CWA Convention, Las Vegas, NV
Aug 1 – 3 Summer 2019 Regular Meeting of the United Master Executive Council