Union Update – May 25, 2012

Union Update – May 25, 2012

Inside This Issue:

  • Best Wishes for a Safe and Happy Memorial Day
  • AFA Gains Momentum for Inclusion in Known Crewmember Security Screening
  • AFA Grievance Reps Attend Advanced Training

Best Wishes for a Safe and Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War to honor fallen Union Soldiers.  Today, Memorial Day is a time for us to honor our heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country – protecting our freedoms.  Additionally it is a time for us to remember those who we love and miss.  The Memorial Day weekend is hallmarked by family and friends gathering for barbeques and enjoying the late spring weather.  Your MEC would like to wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday weekend and we ask that you remember those who join us in spirit.

AFA Gains Momentum for Inclusion in Known Crewmember Security Screening

On May 23, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security responded to AFA advocacy when it directed the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to include Flight Attendants in the successful alternate security screening program Known Crewmember. In addition to funding the TSA, the Fiscal Year 2013 Homeland Security Appropriations bill requires the TSA Administrator to “establish procedures allowing members of cabin flight crew of air carriers to participate in the Known Crewmember program” within 270 days.

From the moment this concept was first discussed, AFA has been the leading advocate for the inclusion of Flight Attendants in alternate screening, now referred to as the Known Crewmember program. We fully support TSA’s implementation of risk-based passenger security screenings as well as expedited alternate screenings as part of that process.

In addition to working with influential Congressional leaders such as Representatives Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), AFA has met with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, as well as high-level TSA officials, asserting in no uncertain terms that, as first responders, Flight Attendants are an integral part of the flight crew and should be included in the alternate screening program TSA currently extends to Pilots.

AFA Grievance Reps Attend Advanced Training

AFA International Staff Representatives (ISRs) and the AFA Legal Department offered an Advanced Grievance and System Board Training May 14-16 in Chicago. Grievance Representatives from Alaska, AirTran, Continental, Continental Micronesia, Frontier, Horizon, Spirit, United and US Airways participated in the two trainings.

The ISRs and Senior Staff Attorney Richard Wrede selected seven cases from those submitted by each grievance rep in attendance to use as teaching cases. Each grievance rep explained the rationale for her/his case, presented the supporting documentation from the grievance files and explained the steps taken to support their position. The group then had an opportunity to ask questions and offer suggestions on how the case was handled. Finally, Richard and the ISRs offered their input on particular points of interest. As part of these case discussions, the participants were able to learn more about concepts such as past practice; contractual timelines; what to do when management won’t cease and desist; disparate treatment; the supremacy of contract language over company policy; avoiding conflict of interest between member grievants; sexual harassment; and last chance agreements, to name just a few.

In the second afternoon, the two courses were combined so that all of the trainees could hear directly from Arbitrator Rocky Perkovich about what he considers when making decisions. His animated presentation was very informative and allowed the trainees to ask him directly for his perspective on their issues. It was an invaluable opportunity for all present.

The training was capped off by a final day for System Board Members and MEC Grievance Chairs. Building on Mr. Perkovich’s comments of the day before, we discussed the role of the System Board Member, MEC President and MEC Grievance Chair in the preparation and presentation of cases before the System Board. AFA Staff Attorney Peter Swanson laid out the entire System Board Process and what must be done at each step. The group finished the training by participating in a mock arbitration, including presenting opening statements, entering witness testimony and cross examination, closing statements and several executive sessions. With Peter acting as the arbitrator, the group was able to fully experience how a System Board operates from start to finish.

Fly safe and take care of each other,

marcus signature
Marcus N. Valentino, President
Continental Master Executive Council