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E-Lines: January 1, 2021

Date: January 1, 2021

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Well, it’s been quite a year. What started out with a boom, as our airline was soaring through profitability and abundance, brought us to our knees this past fall as we endured the most difficult furlough in our history.

There really aren’t words that could ever adequately describe the challenges we’ve faced this year to anyone on the outside. The shock, the uncertainty, the confusion, the fear, the loneliness and isolation, the loss and the grief. I think it’s important that we acknowledge how difficult it has been and recognize that we have made it through to today. What we can do on the first morning of a new and hopefully better year, is have equal perspective with what is behind us and where we look towards the future.

While we most definitely are not out of the woods yet, there are glimmers of hope we can look forward to. Most immediately, we have two viable vaccines being actively distributed, which we hope will lead towards some normalcy and most importantly a return to the skies for our passengers and our flying partners.

We also have an extension of the Payroll Support Program in place to carry us over the next few months, and while it may not be perfect, it will reconnect many of our flying partners with much needed income and benefits.

We have a new Presidential Administration which promises to look more favorably on keeping our communities safe and connecting the American people with financial support. Depending on the results of the Senate election in Georgia, it may be possible to accomplish much more over the next few years, if we can elect a Congress that is friendly to our industry and our profession.

There are most assuredly hard days ahead, and while I want to be optimistic, we need to also be realistic. The next few months are going to be messy, confusing, frustrating and in one way or another to each of us, may feel or appear unfair. While in a perfect circumstance, we would find this objectionable, given the late signing of the legislation, it is an outcome that we are going to have to come to accept in order to move forward; and while it will be difficult, we are up to the challenge.

I look at Thanksgiving as a time of Gratitude, and Christmas as a time for Hope. The New Year is both a time of Reflection and Renewal. We look at the year behind us and with hindsight see how we can do better tomorrow than we did yesterday. It is incumbent upon all of us to accept what has been, let go of outcomes we wish were otherwise better, and move together towards what may be.

We have a little breathing room over the next few months with the Payroll Support Program, but we all need to gear up for the challenges we will face soon. With the good news I shared above, these positive changes need to be our foundation to rise to the challenges and overcome the pessimistic outlook of some in order to achieve outcomes that, in our collective view, are better.

And, do better we must. Even one involuntary furloughed Flight Attendant is too many, and we must work tirelessly and relentlessly to reduce those numbers, with a focus on eliminating the need for any involuntary furlough. 

We have opportunity in the forms of a vaccine, time and American leadership; and it is incumbent upon us to maximize it. Yesterday was hard, tomorrow will also be hard, but since this entire pandemic started, there has never been more reason for optimism.

Thank you for persevering. Thank you for your professionalism and dedication. Thank you for taking time off to save the job of a junior flying partner. Thank you for keeping faith when you’re away from a job that you love. Thank you for returning to work. Thank you for coming to work day after day in the midst of a pandemic. Thank you for making difficult decisions when there are no good options. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your constructive criticism of what we need to do better and your support when we get it right.

We will get through this, together. Let's get to work!  To each and every one of you, I wish you a very Happy New Year!

In Solidarity,

Ken Diaz
United AFA MEC President

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