- Our MEC Grievance Committee successfully settled three outstanding grievances related to COVID-19.
- Flight Attendants who received $200 from the Company for attesting to their vaccination status get to keep the payout.
- In some cases, Flight Attendant sick leave will be restored.
We are pleased to inform you that our MEC Grievance Committee has successfully resolved three COVID-19-related grievances with the Company through mediation with Arbitrator Symonette and management. We have settled Grievance 36-99-2-230-21 for violation of §16 Sick Leave/On the Job Injury, Grievance 36-99-2-234-21 for §21 Non-Negotiated Compensation, and Grievance 36-99-2-233-22 for violation of §16 Sick Leave/On the Job Injury. Please take a look below for more details on the settlements or review the settlement agreement.
Grievance No. 36-99-2-230-21 – Violation of §16 Sick Leave/On the Job Injury
The grievance was about how the Company treated vaccinated Flight Attendants compared to unvaccinated Flight Attendants who contracted or were exposed to COVID-19 while on the job. Over two years, the Company’s stance on this matter changed multiple times, resulting in varying pay protections for different groups.
In our contract, Section 16 unequivocally applies to all Flight Attendants, regardless of their vaccination status. A Flight Attendant who is unvaccinated but holds a medical or religious exemption must be treated with the same level of respect and consideration as a vaccinated Flight Attendant. This means that even if an unvaccinated Flight Attendant must undergo quarantine while their vaccinated counterpart does not, they should not be treated differently.
We carefully reviewed the dates and changes made by the Company and devised a solution that will make exempted Flight Attendants whole. However, there were specific dates when we could not provide a remedy for those who did not disclose their status. Those who were covered before the vaccine and had access to exemptions will have their sick leave restored, and in some cases, they will have their attendance points removed. For more information, please refer to the Letter of Agreement.
Grievance No. 36-99-2-234-21 – Violation of §21 Non-Negotiated Compensation
This grievance alleges that the Company violated Section §21 [Compensation], past practice, and all related sections of the Collective Bargaining Agreement when it announced on or about September 2, 2021, that it would pay $200 to each vaccinated Flight Attendant who provided proof of vaccination to the Company by October 15, 2021. The provisions of Section 21 do not provide for any exemptions or differentiations based on vaccination status. Nevertheless, the Company unfairly imposed this exception on the entire bargaining unit without engaging in negotiations with AFA.
Management agreed that Flight Attendants who have been vaccinated will be able to retain their $200. However, they would not agree to give the same amount to those who are unvaccinated, even if they have a medical or religious exemption. After careful consideration, we decided to withdraw the grievance as the mediator expressed doubts about our likelihood of success in arbitration.
Grievance No. 36-99-2-233-22 – Violation of §16 Sick Leave/On the Job Injury
This grievance alleges the Company’s violation of Collective Bargaining Agreement §16 [Sick Leave/On the Job Injury], past practice, and all related sections of the Collective Bargaining Agreement when on or about May 11, 2022, it unilaterally implemented disparate quarantine procedures without adequate notice by posting and/or updating the Company intranet (“Alaska’s World”) with different quarantine requirements for symptom-free vaccinated versus symptom-free unvaccinated Flight Attendants. Our Grievance Committee argued that Alaska’s World articles are not sufficient notice of policy changes since they are not mandatory reading, and Flight Attendants must be informed of changes through must-read bulletins.
The Company agreed it would notify Flight Attendants of any changes to COVID-19 quarantine policies and procedures through required (“must-read”) bulletins.
Overall, the outcome of this settlement was successful, and we are glad to be able to provide some resolution to these grievances. Our commitment to ensuring fair treatment and safe working conditions for all our Members remains firm, and we will continue to work tirelessly towards that goal. Please don’t hesitate to contact your Local Grievance Committee or LEC President with any questions or concerns.