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Supplemental Survey Explained

Date: May 7, 2021

In early 2020, shortly after the Contract 2021 survey closed, our way of life, as we knew it changed. The COVID-19 pandemic created what may be the greatest single crisis that many of us have ever faced during the course of our career.  With so much upheaval to our lives and careers, we want to ensure last year’s pre-COVID-19 survey data is accurate. 

COVID-19 impacted every one of us, in one way or another. The changes we’ve all experienced this past year, may have impacted our perspective of contract priorities as well. The only way to ensure the validity of the first survey, is to conduct a supplemental survey.

Our first instinct was to survey the entire Membership again. When professional statisticians advised against another complete survey of all Flight Attendants, we needed to understand why. After multiple conversations with the professional statisticians and a crash course in statistical analysis, it made sense.

Our primary survey goal is to get the most accurate data possible, in order to guide the work of our Negotiating Committee. We cannot develop negotiating positions or proposals without knowing what elements of our contract Flight Attendants consider important to improve upon or change.  This is why we conducted the survey everyone had the opportunity to participate in last year.

Having already given an opportunity to be surveyed to every single Flight Attendant on the seniority list last year, we want to ensure the results are still valid and representative of the collective Membership. Random Sampling Methodology was selected to achieve this objective.  By utilizing random sampling, the experts agree that this method will yield more accurate results than another complete survey. 

Although this may seem counter-intuitive, we run the risk of receiving survey results that are not statistically valid if we were to survey the entire population and received a low response rate.  Among many reasons, a low response rate can happen, for example, when only people who feel very strongly about something complete the survey.  Should that occur, the result is data from only one segment of the population, which is not always the majority opinion.  This is what newspapers refer to as the “silent majority.” A low response rate can invalidate survey results, and in effect, render them unreliable. To be clear, reliability and accuracy of the data is our number one priority.

We were finally convinced that surveying a portion of our Flight Attendants, and not the entire seniority list, was the right approach.  But how do we make sure that the Flight Attendants randomly selected represent the population? 

This is the “random” part of the sample.  Random is a mathematical term, in this context. To assure a sample that represents all of our views, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) will consider all of the different subsets of our Flight Attendant population including, but not limited to, age, gender, seniority and geographical location.  Using proven methodology, they can ensure that whomever the computer randomly selects to receive the supplemental survey will be an accurate, and statically relevant, sample of our entire Flight Attendant population. 

The Supplemental Survey will be mailed soon to the Flight Attendants who were selected by the statisticians in the random sampling. The survey will contain the same questions that were included in the survey last year. We urge ALL Flight Attendants who receive the Supplemental Survey to please respond.  You are validating the data for all of us.  The more Flight Attendants who take the time to complete the survey, the more accurate our information will be. 

If you are not selected as part of the random sample, please know that your opinion and voice is still contained in the data from the original survey.  That data is still being used; this second survey is simply to ensure the results of the first survey are still valid.

The voice of ALL United Flight Attendants is being heard.  We are listening.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • This supplemental survey consists of the same questions that were included in the first survey conducted in early 2020. This survey does not contain different questions.
  • The supplemental survey is necessary for us to ensure the accuracy of the results from the first survey to ensure they remain valid.
  • Survey results are used to determine our collective priorities and guide the Negotiating Committee through the process of writing the Opening Proposal. We need to ensure the results are still valid and conducting this supplemental survey, consisting of the same questions included in the original survey, will provide a first glimpse at where our priorities may have changed.
  • Throughout the course of negotiations, you can expect more surveys to help our Negotiating Committee better define your priorities.
  • Surveys are only one way we collect data. Listening tours, road shows, and feedback from your Local Council President are examples of different ways we gather your feedback and direction.
  • Negotiations Support Activist “InfoReps” will also continue to gather feedback from Flight Attendants and ensure that information makes its way to the Negotiating Committee.
  • Once the Negotiating Committee has presented our Union’s Opening Proposal to the company, a summary will be available for you to review. The Negotiating Committee will again travel to all bases to present you with our opening proposal, answer your questions and listen to your feedback.

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