Practice Solidarity, Not Division
February 24, 2021
This week, some Members are engaging, both on social media and in person on flights, in criticism or questioning, as to why more senior Flight Attendants did not retire or take the Voluntary Furlough. To be crystal clear, this is inappropriate and needs to stop. The decision to participate in either of these programs is a personal choice, made when considering individual life circumstances.
As the award numbers for the VSL and Voluntary Furlough become known, we realize that this may feel overwhelming to those who are negatively affected. The reality of the airline industry is that it is cyclical, and there are none among our ranks that have not had to face down a furlough before. That may not make what we face today any easier, but it is the nature of the career we’ve chosen to pursue.
The decision by some to take the VSL helps reduce the overall population and those who participated in the Voluntary Furlough have also helped to bring down the seniority line affected. The remaining collective are grateful to those individuals whose actions have helped contribute to save jobs. However, views of any Member who extends judgement on any other Flight Attendant for not making the choice to participate in those programs is simply unacceptable. This is a career, not a job and we all have an obligation to the collective Flight Attendant family, but we also have a responsibility to ourselves to make decisions in our best interest.
When any of us inappropriately express our opinions, whether in person or on social media, we open ourselves up to scrutiny and possible discipline by the company for our actions. This week, some people are finding themselves in a situation where the company has become aware of this behavior and is taking consequential action. While we always advocate to look to AFA EAP/PS to resolve disputes, unfortunately not everyone makes that choice and instead involves the company. Once management is involved, we all lose control of the situation and it rarely ends well for the person subject to scrutiny.
This pandemic has wreaked havoc on our careers, and the division between the various segments of our population, particularly as they relate to seniority need to get better. We cannot, and must not, fight among each other in the way we are currently engaging in. It’s not who we are or what will allow us to heal and work together again when these challenging times are over. For the sake of our profession, and for your own personal career, the fighting and strife must end and we need to do better.