AFA Debrief: March 02, 2023
March 2, 2023
AFA Debrief – March 2, 2023
- Flight Attendants in Women's History Month
- Hotel and Transportation Issues– We Need Facts!
- Your Power in the Structure of our Union
- Second Trimester CBT
- Celebrating 21 Years of AFA E-Lines and Debrief
Flight Attendants in Women's History Month
March is Women’s History Month and as we celebrate, it's important to recognize the significant role that women, specifically Flight Attendants, have played in the history of aviation. Here are some highlights:
- Breaking Barriers: In the early days of commercial aviation, Flight Attendants were almost exclusively women, hired for their youth, beauty, and poise. However, these women quickly demonstrated that they were much more than just "flying waitresses." They were responsible for the safety and comfort of passengers, and their job required extensive training and knowledge of aviation safety procedures.
- Activism: In the 1960s and 1970s, Flight Attendants were among the first groups of women to challenge gender-based discrimination and fight for workplace equality. They organized Unions and advocated for fair pay, job security, and better working conditions.
- Safety Advocacy: Flight Attendants also played a critical role in advocating for passenger safety. They pushed for stronger safety regulations, including the installation of smoke detectors, better training for crew members, and the use of more secure passenger seats.
- Cultural Ambassadors: Flight Attendants were also “cultural ambassadors,” representing the airlines and their countries to passengers from all over the world. They often had to learn multiple languages and were expected to be knowledgeable about the cultures and customs of the destinations they served.
- Heroes: Throughout history, Flight Attendants have demonstrated incredible bravery and heroism in times of crisis. They have helped evacuate passengers during emergencies, assisted with medical emergencies, and even helped foil hijackings.
Flight Attendants have played an important role in the history of aviation and women's rights. They have broken barriers, fought for equality, and served as ambassadors and heroes. As we celebrate Women's History Month, we should recognize and honor their contributions to the industry and society as a whole.
Throughout the month of March, be on the lookout in our communications as we continue to celebrate women in history including the upcoming Women in Aviation week.
Hotel and Transportation Issues– We Need Facts!
Our MEC Hotel and Transportation Committee reminds us “when issues occur with the hotel and transportation services provided under our Contract, our MEC Hotel & Transportation Committee is best prepared to address these issues when provided with the specific details of any incidents."
Through discussions with Members, it is clear to AFA that there have been instances where issues with vendors have been reported using company reporting systems and those details have not been shared with the United MEC Hotel & Transportation Committee. As our Hotel & Transportation Committee has previously outlined, incidents that are not reported via the United MEC website (www.unitedafa.org) essentially “did not happen” in the absence of specific details.
Keep in mind that it is common for our Union to regularly solicit feedback and input from our Members about various issues and this includes Hotel and Transportation issues. These feedback channels help inform our Union's bargaining strategies and other advocacy efforts on behalf of our Members. More importantly, by sharing your experiences and concerns in this arena, we can help identify patterns and trends directly impacting Hotel and Transportation issues, find solutions and improve the overall travel experience for our Members. To provide reports about Hotel and Transportation issues, go to www.unitedafa.org.
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. Remember, when these issues are received via the Union’s reporting system, details of the incident are shared with management at United as well as with management at the hotel with an expectation they will be addressed and resolved.
To be clear, we absolutely discourage the use of United Voices. The use of United Voices provides management with 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, which has the impact of reducing the standards that have been negotiated on our behalf. Reporting issues via social media is not an effective way to have your voice heard and provides no reassurance that your concerns will be either heard or addressed.
In addition, Flight Attendants should be aware of their rights and protections under our Contract, including provisions for safety, rest, and compensation for expenses when things go wrong. Flight Attendants are encouraged in these circumstances to consider traveling in pairs or groups when possible, and using ride-sharing services or other transportation options that offer safety and security features.
Overall, Hotel and Transportation issues for Flight Attendants can be challenging, but with proactive planning and communication, your reports can help ensure a safe and comfortable travel experience.
If you have additional questions, please contact your Local Hotel & Transportation Committee for assistance.
Your Power in the Structure of our Union
Your voice matters! You have the power. From Union policy, to action on issues, to holding leadership accountable, you; the Member has the power to affirm where we are, or drive a change within our organization. The AFA of today is not the AFA of the past. We have grown, transformed, and evolved because of Member driven actions moving us forward into the future.
Our Union structure and policy are often recognized as one of the most democratic in the labor movement, because it begins with you.
Each of us is a part of a Local Council as determined by where you are based. Every three years our Union holds Local Council elections, where you elect your Local representatives. This includes a President, Vice-President and Secretary, as well as Council Representatives, the number of which are determined by the size of your Local Council.
Local Council President’s take direction from the Members of their Local Council. They represent your interests at the Local level and come together alongside Presidents from other councils to represent our Flight Attendant population as a whole.
Currently we have 13 Local Council Presidents, representing 20 bases, including the Satellite bases. Each of these 13 Local Council Presidents come together to make up what is called the United Master Executive Council (MEC). This is the governing body of United AFA who collectively make decisions on policy and collectively establish the Union’s position on a wide-range of issues.
Every three years the United MEC elect an MEC President, Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer, along with the MEC Committee Chairpersons, Vice-Chairpersons and Members. Everyone at the MEC Level acts at the direction of the United MEC collective and is responsible for ensuring all of their actions reflect the position of the United MEC. All the MEC Officer positions and most of the Committee positions are up for election at the Spring Regular MEC Meeting in April for a 3-year term which begins July 1, 2023. Members elect and direct your Local Council President, who in turn, along with the other Presidents, elect and direct the MEC Officers and Committees.
You, the Member holding the power have four responsibilities:
- Actively educate yourself on the facts and keep yourself informed on issues.
- Participate in your Local Council elections to elect those you believe best represent your interests and hear your concerns.
- Advocate for change and affirm the direction your President is an advocate for.
- Be involved in order to hold your elected leadership accountable for their actions and decisions.
Collectively, we have the power to drive change. We all make a difference through our participation; by attending Local Council meetings, Local events and activities and ultimately through our collective support of local initiatives and our Local Council Officers. Of greater significance, we all have the opportunity to serve in an elected capacity.
There is no “the Union” or “the AFA.” We are all AFA and because of our structure, have an enormous opportunity to drive change, but only if we participate in the process.
The Spring CBTs will be available on March 2, 2023 and the company has established a requirement for this computer-based training to be completed by April 30, 2023 at 2359 Central Time.
Access the CBTs from CCS > Training > TakeOff: Learning.
As additional information becomes available during the quarter, we will provide updates.
Celebrating 21 Years of AFA E-Lines and Debrief
While Debrief is our current twice-weekly electronic newsletter, AFA E-lines refers to the original electronic newsletter published by the United Master Executive Council Communications Committee. The AFA E-lines newsletter provided information and updates on issues affecting Flight Attendants, including collective bargaining, legislative advocacy, scheduling, Reserve and safety and health concerns.
This week marks the 21st anniversary of the establishment of our first electronic newsletter: AFA E-lines. Over the past two decades, AFA E-lines became an important communication tool for United Flight Attendants, providing a direct line of communication with their Union and helping to build a sense of community among Flight Attendants within and across different base locations around the world.
Through AFA E-lines and now AFA Debrief, all United Flight Attendants have the opportunity to stay engaged with our Union activities, and be informed on issues affecting our profession. Issues such as efforts to improve safety and health standards, addressing misapplications of the Contract by management, and negotiate for an Industry Leading Contract with the management in place at that point in our Union’s history. The newsletter has served to amplify the voices of United Flight Attendants and raise awareness of the important role each of us play in the aviation industry.
As we continue to evolve in our communication vehicles, we celebrate the foundation and history AFA E-Lines has, giving us strength and power to reach you over the past 21 years.
Cheers to our future!
MAR – Women’s History Month
MAR 12 – U.S. Change to Daylight Saving Time
MAR 26 – Europe Change to Daylight Saving Time
APR 30 – The Joe Beirne Foundation CWA Scholarship Deadline
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