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E-Lines: May 04, 2021

Date: May 4, 2021

 

Honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

In 1992, May was designated to be Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI) as a way to shine the spotlight on these remarkable people, their unique cultures, achievements and contributions to the success of not only our airline but also of our diverse nation.

As a Union, AFA in partnership with our greater Union, CWA, continues to champion inclusion while advocating for the continued support of the AAPI community working with the leadership of our Union to ensure the unique representational needs of this community of individuals.

We continue to focus on the accomplishments and dedicated actions of our sisters and brothers in the AAPI communities as well as on the work still to be done within our greater society. Within the United community, we need look no further than within two Pacific locations which both have a rich, long history; not only of our airline, but also of the AAPI communities and their accomplishments which have contributed to our collective success.  These communities are in HNL and GUM.

United service began in Honolulu on May 1, 1947. When United Air Lines Inaugurated Stratocruiser service from Hawaii to the mainland in 1950, Honolulu was linked directly with 87 mainland cities. At the end of 1949, United hired eight men, the first men to fly in the cabin for United, all from Hawaii, to serve as stewards on United flights between Hawaii and the U.S. Mainland.

The first eight were chosen to represent the “8” main islands in the Hawaiian chain. They begin service on January 14, 1950. The level of hospitality, pride and professionalism these gentlemen exemplified continues to not only resonate through the HNL base today, but their examples also set a standard of accomplishment envied by other carriers.   The contribution of the Pacific Islanders of Hawaii is very much an important part of why United has been a successful airline.

On a more recent path, in May of 1968, Continental Airlines and other investors founded Air Micronesia to serve the U.S. island territories of Micronesia.  The initial fleet consisted of a B727-100 and a DC-6, with two other amphibious aircraft that were used to provide air service to destinations without airports.  As many Pacific territories reorganized and gained more autonomy during this time, air traffic increased, and the airline moved its headquarters from the island of Saipan to Guam. In the early 1980’s the airline began its first flights between Guam and Japan and started Continental Micronesia.

Air Mike”, as it became known, had the distinction of flying the only scheduled service between Guam and Hawaii.  The airline, as was the case with its sister island of Hawaii, became known for its friendly, warm, and inviting spirit. The Flight Attendants based there knew each other and some called one another family. With the merger of our three airlines in 2010, we joined with our flying partners at “Air Mike” forming a new and much larger family. And while the name may have changed, the pride and distinctive role our flying partners in Guam play in our success in the Pacific continues.

These are but two examples of how the contributions of our AAPI colleagues contribute to our collective diversity and success while representing a small percentage of our larger collective; they are, in fact, integrated into the very fabric of our collective culture and we have learned much from their contributions.

As we recognize the heritage of this distinct group of sisters and brothers, we are reminded by some of our AAPI flying partners of the difficulty many faces in the wake of recent events. While the pervasiveness of the anti-Asian sentiment has been prevalent in the U.S. for some time, the COVID-19 pandemic has given the level of intolerance new fuel. With the nature of our work being that we interact with a diversity of the public every day, it is unacceptable for anyone to feel fearful to come to work or live their daily lives.  As a Union and as a community of Flight Attendants, we understand and value this and have always worked to be inclusive; we must advocate for our communities and society to take a likewise enlightened approach.

While we live in an imperfect world, it is our shared responsibility, every day, to be aware of these undercurrents and take-action to change that part of the world over which we have influence.  We are a nation of immigrants and an airline of diverse, amazing cultures and a heritage that together give us our unique and special place in aviation.  Our success is in our diversity.


Reminder: Reserve Telephone Availability

There has been some recent confusion from members returning to the line and transitioning to Reserve status about phone availability requirements while on Reserve. The United MEC Reserve Committee covers this issue in their recent Transitioning to Reserve Guide available on our website.

While on Ready Reserve, and when Contractually required, Flight Attendants must be telephone available. This includes promptly checking and responding to any voicemails you receive from Crew Scheduling, which may at times come from unexpected or unknown caller ID telephone numbers. This is especially true while many schedulers are working from home. Be sure to take this into account if you use special settings on your mobile phone to screen calls.

A Reserve will not be deemed unavailable for contact and assigned an Unable to Contact (UTC) or Missed Trip (MT) unless Crew Scheduling has made three (3) calls over thirty (30) minutes, spaced approximately ten (10) minutes apart, to all numbers listed on the Employee Info screen in CCS.


Reserve Status

Can Crew Scheduling Call Me?

Am I required to be Phone Available?

How Much Time Do I Have to return a Phone Call from Crew Scheduling?


Released for the Day (RLSD)

Yes

No

Not Applicable


During Legal Rest at Home

Yes*

May only attempt to contact during last hour of legal Rest at Home.

No

Not Applicable


During Legal Rest on Layover

Yes*

Following 8 hours free-from-contact (starting after debriefing), may call to notify or irregularities or return assignment.

 

No

 

Not Applicable


While Serving Ready Reserve

Yes

Yes

30 Minutes from 1st contact following completion of Legal Rest.

OR

Starting at 0001 following a day off

Crew Scheduling will call 3 times, approximately 10 minutes apart.

 

While on a Day Off
(Other than Below)

No

No

Not Applicable


While on a Lineholder Day off on Last Day of Old Bid Month if Assigned Ready Reserve for First Day of New Bid Month.

Yes

Starting at 2000 HDT

Yes

Starting at 2000 HDT

30 minutes from 1st contact starting at 2000.

Crew Scheduling will call 3 times approximately 10 minutes apart.

*Sustained MEC Grievance 3-19 provides that if a Flight Attendant’s legal rest period at home is interrupted by a call from Crew Scheduling (outside of the last hour), the rest period shall be restarted as soon as the error is discovered or is brought to the company’s attention within the same rest period in which the improper contact was made.

More information regarding Reserve availability and other responsibilities, can be found in the Reserve Survival Guide starting on page 80. The entire guide contains a wealth of valuable information and we encourage you to be familiar with its contents.


REAL ID Enforcement Delayed

The Department of Homeland Security announced this week for U.S. citizens, that it is extending the REAL ID full enforcement date by 19 months, from Oct. 1, 2021, to May 3, 2023, due to circumstances resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


A Real ID will be paramount for boarding any passenger aircraft or having access to a Federal facility when May 3, 2023 rolls around. 

Without it, passengers will need to show two forms of ID, such as a standard driver's license that is not a Real ID, plus a US passport.  A Real ID also requires far more documentation than the typical ID renewal. If you are not sure whether you already have a Real ID form of identification, look for a white star in a yellow circle the upper right-hand corner of the ID.

Congress passed the Real ID Act in 2005 to establish minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards following a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission.

Older IDs will continue to be suitable to allow people to drive, buy liquor or other age-regulated products, and gamble at casinos.

Also, travelers can use military IDs or passports to access flights and federal facilities. One thing that is important to note, is that once the REAL ID enforcement begins, if you use your driver’s license to access KCM, you will be required to have a REAL ID driver’s license or use an alternate form of allowable identification when passing through that checkpoint.


ALS Month: Support Wings Over Wall Street

AFA Members, Toni Diamond and Warren Schiffer, became founders of the extraordinary benefit, "Wings Over Wall Street" when Toni was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.   

They turned their greatest challenge into inspiring work to fight ALS through research funded by the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). In 2004, we lost Toni, our flying partner, but her care-giver husband, Warren, continues to work in her memory.

"Wings" brings together the spirit of our work in the skies, the financial contributions of Wall Street and events throughout the month of May. While Wings has accomplished a great deal by raising millions, none of this would have been possible without the support of Union Members and the generosity of the business community.

Read more about the ALS and visit MDA's Wings Over Wall Street for more info about the program and please support the MDA through Wings Over Wall Street by donating. 


Easy Chat Reminders

The company reminds us that as we continue to use Easy Chat to communicate with other employees in other departments working your flight, it is important to remember to not use this tool for any safety, security, medical or maintenance issues.

If safety, security, medical or maintenance issues arise during boarding, please notify the purser who will then notify the flight deck immediately. If the flight deck is not available when the issue is identified and you are at FAA minimum crew during customer boarding, please follow the guidelines within the eFAOM at eFAOM> SOP > MINIMUM CREW REQUIREMENTS > MINIMUM CREW EXCEPTIONS to step off the aircraft to briefly use the jet bridge phone to contact operations directly.

The company has also acknowledged that they have received reports which indicate that some Flight Attendants are experiencing technical delays in sending and receiving messages within Easy Chat.  This is a known issue and IT is actively working to address and resolve this issue.

Any concerns regarding Easy Chat, should be addressed with your supervisor.


Section 28 – Commuter Program

The commuter provisions, provided for in our Contract, give us the flexibility and ability to live where we want while still flying out of our home domicile. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many of us to make necessary life changes leading more people to commute.

For Flight Attendants who commute by air, this past summer (July 1, 2020), AFA negotiated and attained a temporary modification to the language of Section 28.B.4.b. Normally when commuting via air travel Flight Attendants had to list for two separate flights that would have them arriving at their Home Domicile prior to their assignment. The temporary modification takes in to account the reduction of flights available to commuters during the pandemic, and currently only requires a Flight Attendant being listed for one (1) flight. The secondary flight requirement is temporarily waived.

Regardless of the flight requirement reduction, when commuting via air travel, Members are reminded to keep track of travel records including PNRS in the event they have trouble commuting to ensure they have the necessary information in order to avail themselves of the protections offered by the Commuter Program provisions.


Drug and Alcohol Random Testing

It has been some time since we last reviewed Drug and Alcohol Testing procedures. As many Members are aware there are two types of tests to which Flight Attendants are subject while on duty. The first, is The Department of Transportation (DOT) federally mandated Drug and Alcohol Testing program which allows for unannounced and random testing for all Flight Attendants within the US and its territories.  In addition to the DOT program, Flight Attendants are also subject to company drug testing.

Q: How can I determine which test is being administered?

A: (DOT) Drug testing is completed using a Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (CCF). The words Federal will be printed at the top of the form provided to you by the collector. Company tests cannot be put on the Federal CCF form.

Q: Can I ask which test I am being given?

A: Yes, you are entitled to ask the collector what type of test you are taking.

Q: How are Flight Attendants selected for random testing?

A: The selection method must be random.  All active safety sensitive employees are in the pool of eligible employees by file number for each selection.  Everyone has an equal chance of being selected, even if you just got selected last month, your file number goes in each pool.   Under current DOT random selection rates, 10% of the DOT safety sensitive population at each airline must be alcohol tested and 25% must be drug tested.  This provides an unbiased, equal chance of any Flight Attendant being tested each time selections are made. The selection could include both an alcohol and drug test or just an alcohol test or just a drug test. 

Q: When could I be selected to be tested?

A: Random testing may occur anytime just before, during or after duty.  That means it can be conducted at any point during a pairing for all Flight Attendants. For Flight Attendants based at international locations, testing may occur prior to your layover at any U.S. location.  Effective May 1, 2021 any Flight Attendant attending any training course in any U.S. training location is subject to random drug testing. 

Q: How am I notified I have been selected to be tested?

A: If you are selected for random alcohol and/or drug testing, a representative will provide notification to you upon flight arrival. The notification will include the type of test to be administered, the location to report for collection, as well as consequences for refusal or failure to immediately report or comply with testing procedures. In addition to random testing procedures, Flight Attendants, under the direction of the DOT, are also subject to testing in the following instances: 

  • Pre-Employment
  • Post-Accident
  • Reasonable Cause
  • Return-to-Duty
  • Follow-Up

As a reminder, although there is no limitation as to the number of times a Flight Attendant can be tested there is also no limitation on the number of times the contract provisions in Section 4.F., Drug and Alcohol testing Pay, will be applied and paid.

If you have any questions or need clarification on drug and alcohol testing, please contact AFA EAP at 800-424-2406. 


Act to Remove All Barriers to Ending the Pandemic

Flight Attendants know our jobs depend on a strong global network. For full recovery of the aviation industry, we must work to ensure that people around the world have access to the vaccine.

At the current vaccine production level, it is estimated that most people in developing countries will not have access to vaccines until 2024. Without these vaccines, there is a possibility the virus will continue to mutate and spread.

The airline industry, hospitality industry, every industry in America will not function and our lives will be on the line if we don’t remove all barriers to producing the vaccine around the world.

Tomorrow, May 5th, we are joining 400 organizations in calling on President Biden to support the emergency WTO "TRIPS" waiver for COVID-19 vaccine production.                                                                                   

See how to take action on our May 4th AFA Interactive

 

Reminders and Quick Links

May – Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
May 5 – Take Action: Tell Biden to Remove all Barriers to Ending the Pandemic
May 5 – Cinco de Mayo
May 9 – Mother’s Day 
May 13/14 – AFA Board of Directors Meeting
May 17 – Tax Day
May 31 – Memorial Day

 

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