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E-Lines: January 12, 2021

Date: January 12, 2021

Let’s Talk about our Careers

Over the past few years at our airline we’ve seen considerable change. Depending on your perspective, some of the change was received positively while others of it haven’t been received in the same way. Due to the differences in opinion, these changes and how we have all reacted to them have been interpreted by some to suggest we are at odds with each other as a work group. Nothing could be further from the truth. Diversity is part of our Union’s DNA which strengthens our collective and our resolve.

We are one community. One family of Flight Attendants, who like every family has our differences. Comparatively, perhaps never before in our memory has there been a time when so many Americans have had such broadly different opinions. As a result, the ability of most Americans to find common ground has become more challenging than ever. It’s hard for these types of differences not to spill over into every workplace. If we aren’t careful to safeguard that which we value in our relationship with each other, taking firm positions and closing our minds to other opinions leads to escalating tension in the workplace and, put simply, doesn’t serve any of us well.

The strongest and perhaps most basic concept we share is that we are “a crew.” Each of us is necessary; each of us plays a valuable part of every flight every time we go to work. Doing our personal best contributes to the success and safe operation of that flight. 

As “a crew”, we instinctively take care of each other. We have each other’s back. In an emergency we work as a team to each do our part and get the job done. In security situations, we are each other’s eyes and ears and overtly or silently support one another towards our common goal of a positive outcome. In times of illness we collectively support the goal of stabilization and recovery of those who are entrusted to our care who may be ill or injured. On layover we check in with each other to be sure each of us is safe and accounted for. And on our watch, as time has shown, we give generously of ourselves to help our flying partners in need in times of crisis. Whether that may be during a natural disaster, a co-worker facing a health care diagnosis, or causes that are important to our collective such as Breast Cancer & Alzheimer’s Awareness, we come together and bring out the best in each other to support and care for one another.

It is this indominable spirit within each of us, our capacity to put ourselves in another person’s shoes when called upon, that sets us apart. This is an important reminder of who we are and it is essential that we guard against reacting to a perception of “wrongs” that one group may have done to another. There is real value in taking a deep breath, realigning our priorities and holding our tongue as we remember, we ultimately have mutually shared goals.

  • We must defend our Contract. Our Contract contains provisions for mitigation of emergencies and tools to use in times of trouble. Sometimes, in extraordinary circumstances that could never have been anticipated during bargaining, we need to collectively look at the situation to determine the right course of action.
  • We must be resolute in our commitment to one another that we protect and defend each of our flying partners, irrespective of any perceived differences we may have. In the same way we advocate for conflict resolution through EAP/PS instead of reporting to management. It can be argued, this is the same philosophy we should apply towards our effort in saving the jobs of each and every flying partner. We don’t always need to be right, or even always agree, but we do always need to stand together.
  • We are in the midst of a horrific pandemic, where even the most favorable solutions are a choice between two “bad” options. This has and will be messy and despite the decisions we have been and will be forced to make, the outcome of these decisions may be perceived as unfair by some. All of this is temporary. And, while albeit not acceptable in normal times, while we know how important this job, this career is to each of us, we must also remember the value that comes from caring for each other. We must let the past be the past for now, and move forward together, recognizing the responsibility we have in protecting each other.

The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us and stretched available resources. The pandemic has stretched our capacity for generosity to the breaking point.

In a similar way, the politics of our nation this year, regardless of your personal beliefs, have likewise taken an enormous toll on our patience with one another. And the unprecedented furloughs and changes to our work environment have perhaps made us feel less secure and, more defensive. But we must not allow any of these challenges to change what is best inside each of us, at our core; as a crew, we leave no person behind.

Just as we would never leave one of our crewmembers on their own to face an emergency on the plane, we must not allow the pandemic, or politics or differences of opinion get between us as we stand together safeguarding our jobs and Contract protections that ensure we have not just a job, but a career that we are not only proud of, but that is worth having.

We must continue forward, together, through these challenges. We have an enormous opportunity in how we choose to do so. While we are not “against” the company, we do have competing agendas at times and their advocacy is not always in alignment with our unionist principals, values and beliefs. We must embrace the best within ourselves and despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles ahead at times, be supportive and protective of each other. There will be time enough to work though our challenges, together, once we are on the other side of what we must work through.

February Schedule Bidding

Earlier today, the company put out information for those returning from furlough and processes for bidding in February.

For those who have already responded to recall by today, January 12, and are qualified to fly in February: you should bid normally for your February schedule. You will be awarded a line of flying. 

For those who have not yet responded, and are qualified to fly in February, provided you do respond by January 17: you may still be a part of the line award process, and should put a bid on file to be sure you are awarded a line of your choosing. You will be awarded a line of flying.

If you are qualified to fly in February, and you do respond by January 17, but do not bid, you will be awarded the lowest numerical line or Reserve schedule your seniority can hold. Factors such as the timing of your acceptance, training qualification and return to work clearances may impact the awarding of a line of flying for February.

For those who are not qualified to fly in February, you should bid for a schedule.

If your seniority would have awarded you a Regular line, you will be pay protected 71 hours upon completion of training and have no flying obligation for February. If you do not attend your scheduled training, you will not be pay protected.

If your seniority would have awarded you a Reserve line, initially you will be pay protected for 71 hours in February. At your option, you may contact the FAST and choose to be pay protected for 78 hours and will be scheduled for training and have Reserve days of availability placed on your schedule following your training based on your awarded Reserve line.

* If the Company is unable to assign you a training class in February due to training capacity limitations, you will be pay protected by Section 4.C. at 71 hours for the month. Flight Attendants returning from voluntary furlough who accept a Special COLA and elect not to attend training will not be pay protected.

Escalation in Instances of Unruly Passengers

This past Saturday, through an AFA Interactive, our Union responded to the new challenges many of us are facing on our aircraft as they relate to the unprecedented, current political unrest in the United States.

Airlines and law enforcement agencies have bolstered security at Washington-area airports, and every airline flying over the region has experienced incidents on board. Unfortunately, the disruption onboard aircraft has continued and has spread beyond the Washington area. Often this may evolve from non-compliance with airline policy, most notably mask adherence. The company has offered us a reminder of our de-escalation techniques to diffuse potentially disruptive situations. However, with emotions running high and being fueled by an escalation, rather than de-escalation, of continued political fighting, our efforts are becoming less effective in the tensest of these situations.

House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss) on Thursday urged the TSA and FBI to add “violent perpetrators” who participated in the Capital riots to the federal No-Fly List. Today, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also called on the FBI to add anyone identified breaching the Capital during last week’s violent riot to the Federal No-Fly List as well.

The media reports further protests are anticipated now through Inauguration Day, some specifying January 17 in particular. It is likely things will be challenging for a while even beyond these dates. 

The two most basic lines of defense we have to get ahead of these problems is a very specific and thorough crew briefing, including with the pilots; and to prevent tense situations from ever occurring by heading them off at the pass while still on the ground. Remember, we should challenge behaviors, not people. Someone who has a belief one way or another and is a peaceful, respectful traveler is not a problem. However, someone who indicates they may fail to follow any of our policies while on our aircraft or in the air should be handled appropriately and early.

We should use all of our training and experience to guide us in our decision making. We should not allow personal views or profiling of others to influence us. However, if you have any concerns or feel unsafe, you should talk with those who can support you: your crew, your pilots, your customer service agents and your inflight management team.

AFA PSP Q&A Update

We have published additional questions and answers in our AFA PSP Q&A today. We have also clarified our response to previously published question 12:

12. Will I be paid by the PSP if I take a Special COLA in February and March?
If you take SPCOLA in February and March, you will receive compensation for the months of December and January, but not for February and March.

You may need to refresh the Q&A document to view the update.

2020 Reserve Christmas Wish List Wrap Up

MEC Reserve Committee

A total of 176 Reserve Christmas Wish List (RCWL) requests were granted to Reserves during the 2020 Wish List period, consistent with the terms of our Contract.

We recognize all those people behind the scenes who made the granting of these requests possible. In particular, we express appreciation to Christopher Lee, who played a vital role to ensure the Wish List programing was up to date and ready to receive the requests from those serving Reserve during the month of December. In addition, we appreciate the dedicated efforts of our MEC Reserve Committee in monitoring the process and being available to answer questions about RCWL during the month of December.

Base

BOS

DEN

EWR

IAD

IAH

LAX

LHR

ORD

SFO

TOTAL

Awards

1

29

31

14

27

10

11

25

28

176

 

The ability to award Christmas Wish List requests is directly dependent on the amount of Open Time available on the contractual dates that are included in the RCWL period at each location, as well as the number of legal and available Reserves with requests on file. Also, since RCWL is limited to evaluating layovers only, those locations with a higher percentage of turns assigned will not see as many Christmas Wish Lists awarded.

First Trimester CBT – Due January 29, 2021

The First Trimester CBT is now available for completion and is required to be completed by, January 29, 2021 at 2359 Central Standard Time. Log into TakeOff Learning and select Continuing Qualifications (CQ) 2020 Trimester 3. Compensation for completion of this training is outlined in our Contract.

We encourage you to make the dedicated effort to complete the first Trimester CBT prior to the January 29, 2021 deadline.

Reminder and Quick Links

January 12 – February Schedule Bidding Opens
January 17 – Bidding for February Schedule Closes 0800 HDT
January 29 – First Trimester CQ CBT Due
January 30 – First day of the February Bid Month

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