Masks Required – No Kidding.
July 22, 2020
Earlier in the evening on July 21, 2020, Executive Vice President Kate Gebo sent an e-mail to all employees calling attention to the corporate policy requiring employees to wear masks. Citing safety in all we do as our #1 priority, her communication emphasized that combating COVID-19 is no exception to this commitment.
While referring to the current corporate policy that requires all employees to wear masks in any shared spaces including the airport terminal, break rooms, elevators and onboard the aircraft, Kate also pointed out the mandatory mask policy for passengers and the consequences of any failure to comply – refused travel and risk of having travel privileges taken away. In an effort to ensure there is no confusion about the corporate commitment to doing all possible to protect employees and passengers and to reduce the transmission of the virus, there was an acknowledgement that not everyone is wearing a mask when they should be. Making the face cover/mask policy and consequences clear, Kate communicated that if an employee violates this policy, they are subject to discipline up to and including termination.
Your MEC officers want to be very clear – we fully support the concept that everyone should wear a mask – all employees, including management, and passengers. As Kate and others have pointed out, the scientific information that demonstrates the efficacy of wearing masks in minimizing the spread of the virus in incontrovertible. And while there are those who might wish to debate the scientific findings or even assert that their rights are being violated, there is a very simple concept in place here. It’s this; I wear a mask to protect you. You wear a mask to protect me. It is a matter of respect and we understand this.
However, while we affirmatively support the requirement to wear masks in the workplace nor do we dispute management’s ability to establish the policy, we have expressed concerns at the highest levels of management that we believe the policy, as written, is too harsh. We are prepared to challenge the way management proposes to discipline Flight Attendants on an accelerated basis. As such, we will be filing a MEC Grievance.
Having told you that we dispute the manner in which management prepares to accelerate discipline, we also need to be clear about what the company will expect from you. While we have this dispute, the company will expect that you will comply with the recently communicated policy that has been incorporated as part of the Working Together Guidelines.For this reason, we encourage you to review the policy and ensure you are fully aware of what is expected of you anytime you are on company property.
Know that we will fight to ensure your rights under the agreement are fully protected and that we will require the company fully comply with all aspects of the Contract before the issuance of any discipline. If you have additional questions, please contact your Local Council Office.