July 16, 2012
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
• Pinnacle and Colgan Flight Attendants Join AFA
• Legislative Spotlight: AFA Advocates for Future of Aviation Security
• AFA Contracts: Air Wisconsin, Continental, Ryan
• New Grievance Reps Attend AFA Training
• National Labor College Scholarships Available to AFA Members
Pinnacle and Colgan Flight Attendants Join AFA
Today, AFA was elected to represented 1500 Flight Attendants at the combined Pinnacle, Colgan and Mesaba.
The odds have been against Mesaba Flight Attendant AFA members for well over a year. Management tried to define away their contract, their rights and their union by labeling the merger as an asset transfer. AFA members made up less than 30% of the combined work force – an incredibly difficult margin to overcome. But today they turned out 55% of the vote in a strong majority for AFA. This was the result of strong mobilization and Flight Attendants standing together. They shared their stories about what AFA means to them and they never allowed management to define who they are. They believed in something bigger than themselves and stuck together. They supported each other and they inspired others to join them.
Workers all over this country could learn a very valuable lesson from the solidarity these Flight Attendants displayed throughout this process: They exercised the power of solidarity and made the impossible a reality.
Current pre-merger elected Mesaba AFA officers will remain in place and resume daily representation as Pinnacle management recognizes AFA as the Flight Attendant representative. We expect the National Mediation Board will certify AFA as the representative of all Flight Attendants at the new Pinnacle tomorrow, July 17, 2012. We have a great deal of work ahead as Pinnacle Flight Attendants face the challenges of their airline in bankruptcy. AFA already has bankruptcy counsel in place and action to protect jobs and their contract.
“We are unified. In voting for AFA, Flight Attendants recognize that AFA’s vast experience is the best choice for protecting the jobs and contracts of our sisters and brothers at the new Pinnacle Airlines,” said Veda Shook, AFA International President. “We welcome our flying partners from pre-merger Pinnacle and Colgan, whose experience and contributions to our profession will further strengthen our Flight Attendant union. Together we will meet the challenges in the Pinnacle bankruptcy and set a strong foundation for a better future. Together we are better.”
Legislative Spotlight: AFA Advocates for Future of Aviation Security
Aviation security is critical. Our union testified on July 10 at the “Challenging the Status Quo at TSA: Perspectives on the Future of Transportation Security” hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Transportation Security. AFA Flight Attendant Colby Alonso outlined recommendations for improving U.S. aviation security.
As first responders in the aircraft cabin, Flight Attendants have a unique perspective on a number of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) programs and the need for a risk-based approach to security. AFA outlined how expedited screening for all crewmembers (Known Crewmember), self defense training for Flight Attendants, the acquisition and deployment of discreet, crewmember communications equipment, and the continuation of the federalized TSA workforce will assist in responding to emerging security threats.
Colby Alonso is a US Airways Flight Attendant who was working flight 787 from Paris to Charlotte, NC. The flight was forced to divert when a passenger claimed to have been implanted with a suspicious device.
“Flight Attendants routinely identify and manage threat levels, use our training to de-escalate threats, and provide direction to passengers willing to assist in restraining assailants. We are charged with protecting the cockpit at all costs, including the loss of our own lives. Security doesn’t just happen; over one hundred thousand Flight Attendants working in the U.S. aviation system ensure that our skies are safe,” said Alonso.
AFA has been a consistent advocate for alternative screening that accurately reflects Flight Attendants’ credentials as pre-screened safety professionals as well as improving Flight Attendant training. By providing crewmembers with the information, skills and tools necessary to respond to a new form of security threat, the industry can continue to move forward and remain vigilant in pursuit of safer and more secure skies.
AFA Contracts: Air Wisconsin, Continental, Ryan
Our union continues to advance our careers through contracts that are negotiated based on the priorities set by Flight Attendants at each airline. The latest ratified contracts cover Flight Attendants at Air Wisconsin and Continental; along with a newly negotiated tentative agreement at Ryan International.
The contract ratified by Air Wisconsin Flight Attendants on June 21 includes increased compensation and improvements to scheduling and quality of life issues for the over 300 Flight Attendants. With the assistance of the National Mediation Board (NMB), the four-year agreement was reached after 97.3% of Air Wisconsin Flight Attendants voted to authorize a strike if management continued to insist on concessions when the airline is profitable. The threat of a strike changed the tone at the negotiating table and created an incentive for management to reach an agreement. The largest privately held regional airline in the United States, Air Wisconsin operates as a US Airways Express carrier, with nearly 500 daily regional flights serving 70 cities in the US and Canada. Air Wisconsin carries an estimated six million passengers per year with hubs in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, New York, Raleigh, NC, and Norfolk, VA.
Continental Flight Attendants ratified and agreement on July 13th, for 28-months, including job security, economic improvements, and flexibility. The agreement is a step forward and further sets the stage for single contract negotiations for Flight Attendants at the new United.
On June 29, Ryan International Flight Attendants announced a tentative agreement with management for a first contract. The agreement, reached with the assistance of the National Mediation Board, includes scheduled increases to pay, improvements to vacation and sick leave, and job security provided through a grievance process. Ryan International is restructuring in Chapter 11. The airline is based in Rockford, IL, and provides private charter service as well as passenger service for the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense.
New Grievance Reps Attend AFA Training
New AFA Grievance Representatives from Air Wisconsin, Continental, Continental Micronesia, Mesa, Miami Air and Spirit attended AFA Basic Grievance Training in Fort Lauderdale on June 11 and 12. The in-person training was facilitated by their Staff Attorney Scott Goodman and International Staff Representatives Deborah Hasson and Guy Bosworth.
Participants reviewed the principles of just cause that are used to defend Flight Attendants in discipline cases; discussed the reasoning behind contract interpretation and how to defend our contracts from violations by management. They reviewed their individual contracts for grievance timelines and processes, and learned how to build the theory of their case, how to present their arguments to management and the value of good organization and professional conduct in resolving grievances. The training concluded with group exercises using mock case studies that allowed the participants to apply their new skills. Everyone agreed the training was very helpful and a great resource for them as they start their grievance handling.
National Labor College Scholarships Available to AFA Members
Scholarship applications are now being accepted for the National Labor College (NLC) fall 2012 term. Whether you need one more class or are halfway to your college degree, now is the time to enroll in a fully online NLC degree program. AFA members who submit applications by August 6 will be eligible for federal financial aid and scholarships for the fall semester.
With tuition rates lower than in-state schools, you can finish your degree in less than two years for under $10,000 without sacrificing the quality of your education. Professors and staff recognize that students are working adults. With no set classes to attend, NLC’s online approach offers the flexibility that our flying schedules demand. Visit www.nlc.edu.
NLC offers college degrees, certificates and union skills courses all taught from a labor point of view. Degrees and certificates are offered in:
• Emergency Readiness and Response
• Labor Studies
• Management Business Administration
• Construction Management
NLC accepts credits from a combination of courses done at other colleges, or through apprenticeships, military or other training. Students need to have at least 56 credits to be eligible for financial aid and scholarships.
Apply now at www.nlc.edu to start taking classes this fall and pay a half-price application fee of $35, and by August 6, to be eligible for financial aid and scholarships for the Fall semester. To speak with an admissions counselor, call 1-888-427-8100.
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