Both the company and the Flight Attendant work group have agreed to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Enforcing it is in the best interest of the whole Flight Attendant work group. The Grievance Committee works to protect Flight Attendants, by defending them against arbitrary and unjust disciplinary action and by upholding the collective bargaining agreement.
MEC Grievance Chairperson
MEC Grievance Representatives
What happened to my grievance?
An Overview of the CAL AFA Grievance Process
If a grievance is not upheld and settled at Step 1 of the grievance process, which is handled by the Local Council Grievance Committees in the flight attendant domiciles, the grievance file is forwarded to the CAL AFA Master Executive Council (MEC) Grievance Committee (located at the O’Hare field office, near Chicago). The MEC Grievance Committee then handles the rest of the contractual grievance process.
What happens next?
Based on the company’s denial of the grievance at Step 1, a letter is sent to Inflight management appealing the grievance to Step 2 of the process. This appeal must be made within 30 days of the union’s receipt of the Step 1 denial. Once the appeal letter is received by the company, a Step 2 hearing is scheduled. At this hearing, the AFA representatives present the Union’s and the grievants’ cases. (Usually, Step 2 hearings involve numerous grievances presented at a single meeting.) The company, represented by management at the Director level or higher, responds to the grievance within 30 days of the Step 2 hearing (or within 10 days for termination cases.) If a settlement agreement is reached, the grievant is informed of the remedy awarded. Once in a while, a grievance must be withdrawn for lack of evidence of a violation. If necessary, the grievant is informed of such a withdrawal.
Is that the end of the grievance process?
If the grievance is not upheld and settled at Step 2 of the grievance process, there are still a number of steps of the process to be exhausted. A Step 2 denial by the company generates another appeal letter. The Union informs the company of an appeal of the grievance to the System Board of Adjustment (SBA). The SBA is the contractual and legal entity that handles arbitration by a board comprised of a Union representative, a company representative and an independent, neutral arbitrator.
Does a grievance automatically go to arbitration if not settled earlier?
Before a grievance is scheduled for arbitration, a couple of things have to happen. The grievance is first “screened” by the MEC Grievance Screening Committee. This committee (made up of the MEC President, the MEC Grievance Committee Chair, one of the AFA staff attorneys and the LEC President of the base that generated the grievance) determines whether or not the grievance will be scheduled for arbitration. If a grievance is “screened”, the grievant is notified accordingly.
Before going to arbitration, though, the Union and the company meet periodically to try and settle or determine the course of all grievances before the SBA. If a grievance makes it through these steps and is still not settled, it will be scheduled for arbitration. At this point, the neutral arbitrator will ultimately make a determination binding upon all parties.
What difference does it make?
Arbitration is at the heart of the grievance process. The prospect of binding arbitration is what ensures that our Collective Bargaining Agreement is upheld and that the rights of the flight attendant work group are protected.
Is that all?
That is the grievance process that unfolds after your grievance leaves your base. It may sound complicated and it certainly can take some time. But, rest assured that your AFA Grievance Representatives at all steps of the process are committed to getting your grievances resolved. If it seems mysterious and if you have any questions about the grievance process or the status of your grievance once it leaves your base, please contact the MEC Grievance Committee members. We are always happy to answer your questions. After all, it is your grievance.