AFA MEC President Ken Diaz - Thanksgiving Message
November 25, 2020
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thanksgiving is an annual national holiday observed in the United States during which we celebrate the blessings of the past year and take stock in all that for which we are grateful. This year, as with so many other events in our lives, Thanksgiving is going to be different, joining the seemingly never-ending list of items impacted by the world-wide pandemic. At times, it seems as if we will never get back to normal and it’s difficult to find things to be grateful for especially when we see so much suffering around us.
In light of the impact of the pandemic, finding things to be grateful for this year is just another of the many challenges we’re faced with every day. And while I acknowledge it is a challenge, I would suggest it is a challenge worthy of our time and attention.
I am grateful for my Flight Attendant family. For those who took the COLAs over the summer to protect the jobs, reduce expenditures of the company and ensure the personal safety of so many, I thank you.
More recently, to those who made the commitment to our company and Flight Attendant family by participating in the Voluntary Furlough in order to save the job of others, I am grateful to you.
For our colleagues who participated in the various furlough mitigation programs, Furlough Mitigation Partnerships as well as the Involuntary Furlough Mitigation Program, we recognize your commitment not only to our profession but to the broader group of United Flight Attendants. I am grateful for the bold, innovative and unanimous action of our Union Leaders who, through their work and dedication, were able to save thousands of jobs ultimately keeping people connected to their company, their jobs, their base and, most importantly, their health care benefits in the midst of a world-wide pandemic.
While acutely aware of all that for which we are grateful and despite our best efforts to do all that we could to save as many jobs as possible, it saddens me to acknowledge those who ultimately became subject to the unfortunate outcome of the declared reduction in force and who sit on the sidelines eagerly awaiting an opportunity to return to flying.
For those of us who continue flying, day after day, wearing masks, and gloves and navigating the unimaginable world of flying through a pandemic, you are not unnoticed. You are responsible for ensuring our flights take off each day and for uniting our passengers with their families and loved ones. You are the life-blood of our airline, valued and appreciated.
Despite being faced with all this adversity, I marvel at and remain grateful for the incredible spirit of perseverance and dedication to our profession which is as clearly evident in the work we do as it is in the desire of those to get back up into the skies and the aisle with us. And, through this all, none of us are alone. No one is forgotten and our efforts will continue, dedicated in our commitment to work to bring everyone back as soon as possible.
As professional Flight Attendants, we are accustomed to traveling and being away from friends and family. Despite the familiarity with the loneliness that accompanies such travel, none of us can really ever get accustomed to the need for social distancing over such a protracted period of time. Fortunately for us, we have each other. We share a common bond and understand the unique world that comes with being a Flight Attendant. We value each other and appreciate all that we bring to our chosen profession.
This Thanksgiving, more than anything, I want to convey to each of you that there is hope. And while it may feel as if what we are going through will never end, we must focus on the positive things on the horizon.
Development of three separate vaccine candidates coming to market in the near future is well underway. Our country is working on the development of a national strategy to combat the pandemic and distribute the vaccines expected to emerge in the near future. We will move from a model of survival into a model of growth and, ultimately, a return to prosperity. Be assured, we will renew and invigorate our efforts with a new Congress and new President as we seek assistance focused on people through a Payroll Support Program dedicated to bringing people back to work. With each passing day, we move closer to attaining this, our ultimate goal.
This Thanksgiving, I wish you the spirit of gratitude, I offer you a message of hope and, most importantly, look forward to growing that ever elusive list of items for which we are grateful. I wish you and your family, wherever they may be, a very safe and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday.
MEC President - Ken Diaz