E-Lines: March 02, 2021
March 2, 2021
PSP- The Next Hurdle
Early Saturday morning (February 28) we celebrated a big win in the fight to secure PSP through September 2021. The House voted 219-212 to pass the bill and move this vital legislation along to the Senate. While the vote did pass in our favor, it is important to understand that although we do have supporters on both sides of the political arena, no Republicans voted in support of the bill, and two Democrats voted against the bill as well. The margin of success was narrow.
We need to be prepared to push even harder as the bill makes its way to the Senate. It is up to us to ensure we have the support of our elected leaders in Congress. Each of us should be calling and emailing our representatives daily. The more action they see, the harder it will be for them to vote against a bill millions of Americans desperately need.
Shifting our primary focus to the Senate does not mean we won’t continue our push in the House. As the bill develops in the Senate, we will need continued support from the House to see this through.
Bob - Congress must extend the Payroll Support Program for the sake of all aviation workers. As a 30+ year veteran Flight Attendant, I do not want to see so many of our newest and not so new sisters and brothers of this amazing profession to be out of a job, no paycheck or benefits, especially health benefits during a pandemic. Extend PSP!
TAKE ACTION: Call, Write Congress
"Hello, I am a constituent calling to ask [Representative] /[Senator] to help save my job as an essential worker. Pass COVID Relief and extend the Payroll Support Program for essential aviation workers through September 2021. Keep us connected to our jobs, our paychecks, and our healthcare. Thank you for your urgent attention to this."
Hotel and Transportation Issues– We need the facts.
Our Hotel and Transportation Committee reminds us “when issues occur with our Contractually provided for hotel & transportation companies arise, our MEC Hotel & Transportation Committee is best prepared to address these issues when provided the specific details of any incidents." It is clear to AFA that there are instances where issues have been reported via company reporting systems, those details are not being shared with the MEC Hotel & Transportation Committee.
As our Hotel & Transportation Committee has previously outlined, incidents that are not reported via the United MEC website essentially “did not happen” in the absence of specific details. Without the specific data being reported using the Union’s reporting system, available on www.unitedafa.org, the MEC Hotel&Transportation Committee cannot completely address Contractual deficiencies. When these issues are received via the Union’s reporting system, details of the incident are shared with management at United as well as at the hotel to be addressed. It is regrettable that United management has yet to develop a system whereby reports to the company are consistently and reliably shared with the Union. Conversely, AFA’s system collects and records these issues at each property and effectively provides the Union with the data we require and use in addressing all of your concerns.
To be clear, we absolutely discourage the use of United Voices. The use of United Voices provides management with the exclusive knowledge of the incident. If they fail to acknowledge or follow-up on the issues, in fact, it is as if it never happened. Your experiences are never recorded, and management can (and does) effectively deny there are issues with our Contracted hotels.
We understand the frustration with repeatedly reporting the same issues with our layover hotels. However, management is betting that you will grow tired of reporting these issues and that we will simply come to accept these problems ultimately reducing the standards that have been negotiated on your behalf. Reporting issues via social media is not an effective way to have your voice heard.
We remind Flight Attendants that posting their experiences on social media is not reporting the issue. Your AFA MEC Hotel & Transportation Committee needs the appropriate documentation in order to address your concerns.
If you have additional questions, please contact your Local Hotel & Transportation Committee for assistance.
Women’s History Month – March 2021
Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society and has been observed annually in the month of March in the United States since 1987. What began as a week has grown to a whole month dedicated to honoring the success and contributions of women throughout history.
Working in aviation we have our own history of how women shaped the industry we now know as our career today. During the month of March AFA will be paying honor to women in the aviation and labor communities who have paved the way for all women in our profession and in the world.
Sunday, March 14, 2021begins Daylight Saving time in the United States. At 2:00 a.m. Sunday the clocks will spring forward one hour and sadly we will say goodbye to an hour of sleep.
For those members who will be flying we suggest setting a backup alarm or a wake-up call to ensure the time change does not cause issues that result in a late check in or missed crew van.
Update on Minimum Reserve Levels and Impact on Trading
Over the course of the past several weeks, we’ve received a number of questions about the Reserve coverage levels that have been set by Crew Scheduling. More specifically, we’ve been asked why the levels are set as they are and when we might expect a loosening of the Reserve levels to increase flexibility in order to adjust our schedules.
Management has indicated that Flight Attendants should expect future minimum Reserve levels to be similar to the levels set for February and March. The previous minimum Reserve levels seen during the early days of the pandemic aren’t being viewed in the same light as current levels. As the airline schedule increases and, in some cases, instances of COVID-19 increase, the company seeks to ensure that adequate Reserve coverage is available to cover the operation without having to turn Reserves, assign Reserves into days off or to draft lineholders.
Section 8.J.1.d. of our Contract provides that the Crew Scheduling will determine minimum Reserve coverage by day and for the entire month. Some of the variables management considers when setting the levels include: special days during the month, including holidays; weekends; beginning and end of the month coverage; and, of course, flight schedule variations. Generally, more Flight Attendants are needed on weekends, holidays, special days (like St. Patrick’s Day), at the beginning and end of every month, and during periods of increased flying.
While the ability to adjust schedules through Reserve pool numbers and bad day/worse day trading are important tools to assist us in adjusting our schedule, Flight Attendants have other provisions in our Contract to attain the desired flexibility in their monthly schedules. Tools available to each Flight Attendant include unlimited Flight Attendant to Flight Attendant trading: unlimited Reserve to Reserve trading of days off; unlimited advertising trips; PTO; personal drops; and unlimited pick up of trips from advertisements.
These updated minimum Reserve levels are part of the “new normal” the Company communicated earlier this year in anticipation of a reduced population. We knew changes were coming. This particular change in minimum Reserve levels has arrived. Local Council Reserve Committees in conjunction with our MEC Reserve Committee will continue to monitor these levels and, where possible, will work to persuade management to consider alternate possibilities in order to address our overall quality of life.
Vacated Vacation Periods for those Participating in the VSL Placed in Open Vacation Time
The unused vacation periods of those Flight Attendants participating in the voluntary separation leave were returned to vacation open time this afternoon at all domiciles and satellite bases. Replacing what would otherwise have been a time-consuming manual process to vacate these vacations, working with United’s IT Department, an automate process was put into place today.
As required by the language in Section12.H.3. of our Contract, vacation days awarded in the first or second rounds of vacation bidding that are later vacated throughout the Scheduled Vacation Year will be made available for trading.
This process took place this afternoon and, based on the volume of trades, there was what might best be described as a “back up” in processing the instant trade requests resulting in the requested trades showing as “pending.” However, what must be understood is that all of those “pending” instant trades were processed based on the time they were entered into the system – that is, in the order received. All vacation trades that were backed up were processed by around 4:45 pm CT today.
Please be sure to check you My Vacation screen to determine if any vacation trades you may have placed on file were processed as a result of clearing up the pending backlog this afternoon.
Reminder and Quick Links
March 14 – U.S.Daylight Savings Time Begins
April 30 – Joe Beirne Scholarship Closes
April 29 - CQ 2021 TrimesterCBT2 Due