Protecting Flight Attendants
The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan are impacting Flight Attendants worldwide. We were in hotels, getting ready to board or land when it happened. We are still going to the region, despite concerns about potential radiation exposure and fears of basic necessities being unavailable.
Potential radiation is, at the moment, everyone’s biggest concern. To that end, AFA has ordered dosimeters for Flight Attendants to use when flying to Japan. The dosimeters were purchased by AFA for use at the three airlines where AFA members fly to Japan. LEC Presidents at each domicile with at least one trip which transits Japan will begin receiving dosimeters tomorrow.
After researching all the various radiation detection devices, AFA purchased the dosimeters from Mirion Technologies because they supplied the only dosimeters which would meet the unique needs of Flight Attendants. The specific dosimeters they purchased will supply instant results. Mirion is modifying the software, at the request of the Flight Attendant Union, to allow Flight Attendants to record their exact location and flight number when testing for radiation.
AFA’s Safety, Health and Security Department is administering the testing program. The information gained through the testing program will be used to ensure Flight Attendants are not in danger when flying near suspected radiation. The testing program will be modified, as needed, as circumstances change.
AFA and Management Working Together Through the Crises
The difference between Delta Flight Attendants and almost all other Flight Attendants is that almost all other Flight Attendants are represented by a Union. This Union representation gives Flight Attendants the ability to formally address their members’ directly with management during times of crisis.
For example, at Hawaiian Airlines, the MEC and AFA International Staff have been meeting this week to discuss the concerns and needs of the Flight Attendants. They have created a contingency plan going forward and are monitoring the situation closely.
The AFA MEC and AFA International Staff met with Ryan International management to discuss the situation. It was agreed that no Flight Attendant will be forced to fly into Japan and no one will be disciplined (or given an accountable absence) for refusing to do so. Overnights have been moved to South Korea.
At United Airlines, members of the AFA EAP Committee and management met each aircraft returning from Japan after the earthquake and tsunami to check on the Flight Attendants and make sure their needs were met. The AFA leaders are in near constant contact with management regarding the situation. Because of AFA, United Flight Attendants are not being forced to fly into Japan and may make that decision without repercussion. Numerous Flight Attendants have volunteered to take their place. Extra provisions are sent on aircraft to the region to ensure crews will not be left without nourishment on the overnights. Extra aircraft are on the ground and ready to evacuate crewmembers and their families should that be necessary.
United Flight Attendants don’t just overnight in Japan. There are AFA members domiciled in NRT. AFA and United management has sent water and food to assist those Flight Attendants and their families. Local AFA officers are collecting emergency provisions for their fellow crewmembers based in NRT. As of today, United Flight Attendants have carried over 1,000 pounds of those provisions to NRT.
Additionally, confidential and emergency financial assistance has been made available to those AFA members directly impacted by the disaster.
AFA International President, Veda Shook, was interviewed on CNBC today discussing AFA’s efforts to protect the membership. The video clip may be viewed here; http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=3000012139&play=1.
Delta Flight Attendants at the Mercy of Delta Management
The Delta pilot union leadership has been meeting with Delta management regarding their safety and emergency contingency plans. We have not. That is because we are not members of the Flight Attendant Union and we have to rely on management alone to ensure our safety and security.
Not only are Delta Flight Attendants powerless to address any of our safety and security concerns, we are being disciplined if we ask to be removed from a trip to Japan because we are concerned about our health and safety (including pregnant Flight Attendants or those attempting to conceive).
As you can see, AFA membership is about so much more than just a contract. The Flight Attendant Union takes a holistic approach that includes the safety of our workplace; an approach that would greatly benefit us.
Although we aren’t members of AFA, we are still being provided with their EAP services. Click here for more information, http://www.deltaafa.org/images/PDF/Flight_Attendants_Coping_With_Workplace_Trauma.pdf, or you may call AFA EAP phone number at 800-424-2406.
Information about AFA’s humanitarian efforts can be found on their website, www.afacwa.org.
Please respond to this email to share your story about the disaster in Japan.
“Fair and Unbiased” Voting
In a March 16th memo to Flight Attendants, Delta management expressed a desire to maintain a “fair and unbiased” election for members of the company’s PMNW Seniority Integration Committee. Voting should be fair and unbiased. We completely agree. But that applies to all elections.
Who is certifying this election? How do we know the vote will not be manipulated? We don’t. We’ll just have to take management’s word. That is how it works without a Union.
Are you running for a position on the PMNW Seniority Integration Committee? Have a story to tell about the committee or the integration process? Please share your story by responding to this email.
Still Waiting for the NMB’s Decision
There is a saying, “No news is good news.” Well that may be true, but it is also frustrating. The NMB has not made any decisions about our interference claim. Hopefully that will change in the near future. As soon as there is information it will be published in an e-newsletter and posted on our website, www.deltaafa.org.