This morning (April 6, 2020) we held a Council #19 Committee Chairperson meeting virtually via Google Meeting. Below you will find minutes from the meeting and also the local committee reports.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the Council #19 Officers at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you have committee specific questions, email the chairperson. The committee contact information can be found at: https://afaalaska.org/sea/committees .
Committee Chair Meeting Council 19 April 6, 2020 10am
Main topics discussed include COVID-19 related items such as leaves, flying, hotels, dues, elections.
Hotel Chair- Olivia Borrows will be transferring to Anchorage in May, communication seeking a new chair was sent out and Alex Farowich was selected. She will be taking over for Olivia starting in May.
As of today, staffing leave total was at 2699, this doesn’t include any of the COVID-19 leaves only the staffing leaves.
AFA learned that Alaska was attempting to transport cruise ship passengers stranded in Florida to various destinations on the West Coast without notifying the flight crews.
Concern from FA’s wanting to take a leave, but unsure if they will qualify for unemployment. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that someone will be approved, but know that some Flight Attendants have been approved. Each state will be different in how they approve unemployment benefits.
We are aware that the company applied for aid under the CARES act, but at this point don’t know whether they will accept it. Hopefully will know more after the all company webcast on Thursday April 9th.
Pre-Cancelations have been rampant throughout the system, close to 400 cancelations a day. New LOA’s have established how to communicate with Crew Scheduling through the end of April. This information can be found on the AFA website as well as your inflight bulletins. AFA published a pre-cancelation cheat sheet on March 25th to assist flight attendants. This information can be found in the March 25 AFA email blast as well as at afaalaska.org.
AFA International has asked for councils to combine communication blasts in order to limit the amount of emails members are receiving as well as put less stress on our servers.
Pairings for May will look drastically different than in previous months, some examples include combining trans and mid con flight into multiple destinations such as SEA-DFW-IAH and SEA-PIT-BWI. For May, the company needs about 1200 lineholders, the rest will be on reserve. It is suggested even for fairly senior flight attendants to put in a reserve bid and be aware that the reserve survival guide is loaded on our IMD’s in goodreader under the supplemental section. The PBS Committee will also be sharing a reserve bidding help guide before bids open on April 12th.
Council 19 elections are coming up in May, polls open May 1st at 12pm eastern and close May 22nd at 3pm eastern. To be eligible to vote a member must be in good standing as of the day of the ballot count. Flight Attendants on unpaid leaves owe dues for the first 3 months of their unpaid leave. A flight attendant on leave coordinating any sick leave/vacation owes dues in any month they are still on payroll, if a Flight Attendant coordinating switches to an unpaid leave they will owe dues for the first 3 months their leave became unpaid. International sends an invoice to a member that missed a dues deduction because there wasn’t enough money on their 20th check to cover the deduction. Make sure your address is up to date with AFA, https://www.afacwa.org/change_of_address. Back dues will not be taken out of a subsequent paycheck they must be paid online, www.afacwa.org/payment or by mail to AFA-CWA Membership Department, 501 Third Street NW, 7th Floor, Washington DC 20001. If you are unable to pay the full amount you can set up a promissory note with International Membership by calling 1-800-424-2401, ext. 707 (EST).
Make sure to check for any changes to where you are staying or who is providing you transportation. Hotels and transportation companies closing have required many changes to be made.
For more COVID-19 information please check out the MEC blast on April 4, https://afaalaska.org/mec/staffing-adjustment-leave-low-bid-option-or
Council 19 April Committee Reports
Air Safety, Health, & Security
Our primary focus recently, of course, has been working with the Company in providing a safe and healthy work environment for the Flight Attendants
Most of the mitigations and changes are driven at the MEC level, but all the local ASHSC Chairs are kept abreast of the developments and contribute daily to this ongoing effort.
While many projects have been delayed because of the Coronavirus, we still meet regularly with the other SEA workgroups and local leadership.
Current and ongoing issues/topics:
The concern regarding the rerouting of the employee bus has been mostly mitigated by the recent ability to park in the main parking garage. For those still using the NEPL, please let us know if the recent safety measures announced by the POS are either not effective or not being implemented:
Port of Seattle Measures for Your Safety
Employee Parking Bus:
Maximum rider capacity is reduced to 35 or less per bus
Additional bus service will be provided during peak times to mitigate crowd control & to keep buses on schedule as much as possible
Hand sanitizer stations are setup on the outside of each shelter in the North Lot. Provided to supplement, but not to replace individuals’ personal hygiene.
Family members, regardless of age, are no longer allowed to ride the bus with employees to and from the North Lot
Enhanced Bus Cleaning
All buses are cycled to the maintenance department for daily cleaning and disinfecting
Driver’s areas are disinfected with Lysol spray and wipes.
Windows are cleaned with Windex
Floors are vacuumed, mopped and seats wiped down
All hand and grab rails wiped with disinfectant
All surface areas are sprayed with disinfectant
Hand sanitizer by bus driver station or doors
Use disinfectants approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Effective Immediately due CORVID19 bus loads will be limited
This may cause delays during peak times
With so many new changes in our work environment, we ask that everyone continue to provide feedback on these changes and if they are being effectively implemented, and especially if they need to be changed or updated.
We have had a few issues with Security Sweeps. Some ground personnel have insisted that the Cabin and Flight Crew not be on the aircraft during the sweep. The Manager of Corporate Security has confirmed to me that all crew should be allowed onboard the aircraft during these sweeps. Let us know if you witness otherwise.
If you have any immediate safety or health concerns regarding SEA Airport Facility or property, we encourage you to call the POS Safety Hotline at 206-787-7233 and let us know as well.
This has been an unusually busy time for the Benefits/Retirement committee in light of the COVID-19 situation. We have fielded many phone calls, emails, & text messages helping FA’s try & understand their leave options. Many FA’s have made multiple calls as the situation has rapidly changed over the days with different options due to COVID-19. Terry has been extremely busy so more FA’s have relied on the rest of the committee for additional support.
Danni & I have also been very busy helping FA’s from all bases as we support the AS FA Maternity FB Group. There is a very heightened and often urgent assistance needed supporting our FA’s that are currently pregnant and who’s physicians & the CDC have suggested they not work at this time. I would say that there is more worry and confusion on their part as they try to understand their current options while looking ahead to their Maternity & Bonding time that is still ahead.
To say this has not been a challenging time would be an understatement. While the work load & time spent helping our FA’s has increased, I have to say in this time of uncertainty it has been very gratifying to me personally to be able to help so many grateful Flight Attendants. There is nothing better than at the end of a conversation to hear “you have really helped set my mind at ease and helped me understand my options”. (Often times the conversations start like “I am so sorry to bother you again but I have just a few more questions”.)
On a side note, I have also fielded quite a few calls over the past several months as a result of Recurrent Training concerns for FA’s that now consider retiring so they don’t have to go through RT.
Employee Assistance Program
AS CIRP RT was cancelled, and moved to May 2021–24 months to remain current
FADAP – you need a negative COVID test to go to treatment, a difficult but not impossible ask under current circumstances. (expect a 7-14 day wait for admission)
EAP at all bases has been overwhelmed with COVID responses and we are seeing everything from mild to severe levels of illness. We are supporting individuals 1 on 1 emotionally and then referring to benefits to navigate the leave process.
International office is offering support group conference meetings for those F/A’s that are quarantined and they are offered twice a week. (afacwa.org >COVID update>.5> support meeting flyer)
LEC EAP’s in all bases are meeting once a week to look at caseloads and how we can support each other.
The CARES Act – (a bill to assist Small Businesses and Airlines during this time of crisis).
The CARES Act is a loan for businesses however, there is specific language written in the form of a grant in order to assist airlines in keeping their employees paid, and receiving medical benefits with no leverage attached.
The area referencing airlines employees was written specifically as a grant, not a loan.
The grant portion of the CARES Act may cause the airlines to decline the package offered (due to warrants). When the warrant was attached to the language during the signing of the CARES ACT it will allow the government to own a part of the business that is accepting the “Loan”…
There are multiple concerns regarding warrants – it prohibits stock buy backs, dividends, loan deferments, people are not commodities and we can’t be purchased/sold or owned by the government.
The CARES Act in the form of a grant was intended solely for 2 million US airline workers to remain on their company’s payroll while also keeping their health benefits packages intact.
The CARES Act was also written as a model for industries that may use this Act in the future when requesting financial assistance to keep their workforce on the payroll, and covered by medical benefits in the form of grants.
We are fighting to have the warrant language removed from the grant portion of the CARES Act by having petitions signed by all of Americans.
It’s very important for FA’s to be aware of the constant changes due to the surrounding circumstances. Management and crew scheduling are doing their best to keep everyone updated, but it is important to know that relocations and changes in transportation are happening consistently at this time. It would be a great idea for FA’s to start checking crew access when they land for any hotel or transportation updates. They are doing their best to update our inflight web page under Hotel, Travel & Station. Some big changes this last week are relocations in these cities: JFK, MSY, ORD, PHL, DEN, AUS and LAS.
We also just got word that SAN, PIT, SJD, and PVR hotels will be closing. We are still waiting for details from management and API.
A lot of these hotels have very little food options, and FA’s should attempt to be a little more prepared than usual. There is a document created to show updated restaurant information and that can be found on our FA web page under Hotel, Travel & Station> Hotel News.
Working jointly with MEC Government Affairs Chair Krystle Berry to see if we can have a sexual assault help list placed on planes to help FAs if they’re ever faced with this issue from a passenger.
Limited service will continue. AFA Safety committee is asking the company to reduce service further, more information to come.
Please wear gloves for both service and trash pick-up.
As a reminder, do not place personal food storage containers directly into the large black Styrofoam containers of ice. This is shared crew ice. You are potentially contaminating all the ice. Remove a small amount of ice from the ice bag to make your own ice bag, and store your food outside of the cooler.
While beer is a complimentary item at this time, it is not unlimited, the same rules apply as before the reduction in service. No more than two per cart service, for example on a transcontinental flight with two cart services the maximum number of beers a guest may have is 4 for the entire flight.
The Council 19 Reserve Committee recently met on March 10th as a way to touch base and be sure Seattle reserves are having their issues addressed. We took the opportunity to share a couple of recent instances where there was confusion around a CBA clause to be sure it could be used as a learning experience for when related issues surface in the future. The committee also welcomed a new member, Kyle Cater and was able to formally introduce him to the other committee members. Our quarterly reserve meeting was also held recently with the MEC reserve chair, all local level reserve chairs and management. Many items are in the grievance process so the meeting was rather brief with the scheduling MOD. In conjunction with the MEC reserve chair, discussions were had to provide MEC approved communications that can be shared on local level reserve Facebook groups. The goal is to provide reserves with CBA educational opportunities and news/reminders. We have recently re-established guidelines for our AFA council 19 reserve Facebook page and have made attempts to “clean up” the page for the utility of Seattle reserves. As the new reserve chair, I am still doing a lot of learning but otherwise there are no outstanding reserve issues/trends to share.
The SEA Scheduling Committee has been very busy fielding calls, emails and OS Tickets regarding trip cancellations and reassignments.
The Scheduling Committee is advising FAs to know your contract options priorto making a phone call to CS.
Please review Pre-Cancellations Section 10.S. and recently signed MOU’s. They have been pushed to our IMDs. At time of contact you may waive trip and PP (accept or decline). If you want to be PP for your trip you must then follow all the guidelines set in Section 10.S.
CS can offer you an alternate assignment that fits within the 2 hours on either side of your report and/or release, you can either accept and receive the greater of any difference in TFP as pay protect, or waive pay and pick up something else. If alternate assignment is a trip, position, or AC, you do not want to fly you may waive (decline) however you would lose any PP associated with the trip. If you want PP you must have 2 calls to CS. In all cases you can walk away and waive pay.
Be aware when you call CS they can assign multiple assignments for future cancellations. There is nothing in Section 10.S.1 of the contract that prohibits this.
If you decide not to call CS, you may Report as Scheduled however you could be subject to Section 10.R. Reassignment.
Section 8.S has been temporarily enacted for HI flying. If you do fly one of these trips be sure to submit an activity claim form. If all legs cancel on pairing Section 10.S. language applies.
The Scheduling Committee has compiled a “cheat sheet” on the pre-cancellation process and section 10.S language. This has been posted by the MEC on the March 25th communication to assist FAs.
Uniforms ended up launching on its original launch date. Due to the temporary decision to hold off on the roll out it made for some FA’s to not pack their new uniforms. Most were able to participate in the launch however there were several that were in Lands End on launch day.
There have been only been a handful of sensitivities all which have been resolved.
There have been reports of FA’s not properly removing name tag bags resulting in holes or tears in their garments. Marketing and Brand is working on instructions on how to properly care for your garments.
A rolling Travel Pro suitcase was tested by a few members on Uniform and Safety committee. The overall consensus was that they were not practical for FA’s. We have not heard an update from management/marketing since the last LEC Meeting in February.
Dre shared that shoe questions and emails from FA’s seeking approval for shoe types has slowed down since the launch.
Longer Parka wear test date is still TBD but it is still in the works for us to get a longer parka.
Women’s s/s sweater shell can now be worn tucked in to skirt/pants, a belt must be worn.
Your Council #19 Officers and Committee Chairpersons