- On Tuesday, October 24, the AFA Benefits Committee Chairpersons held a meeting to discuss their continued efforts in assisting Flight Attendants with work-related benefits such as insurance, maternity, worker’s compensation, and leave of absence programs.
- The Committee also met with management to receive updates and address concerns brought forward by Flight Attendants.
- If you have ideas, thoughts, or feedback for the committee, your Local Benefits Committee Chairperson would love to hear from you!
On Tuesday, October 24, representatives from our Local AFA Benefits Committees met to discuss their ongoing work related to Flight Attendant work-related benefits, including insurance, maternity, worker’s compensation, and leave of absence programs. Representing you at the meeting were Deb Wallstrom (ANC), Kathy O’Malley (SEA), Ann LaRue (PDX), Julie Pearson (SFO), Majo Tanco, (LAX), and Sonia Quackenbush (SAN). Also present were MEC Benefits Committee Chairperson Terry Taylor and MEC Grievance Committee Chairperson Stephanie Adams.
The committee met with the following management representatives: Mike Link, Senior Labor Relations Program Manager; Josh Madsen, Director – Health and Absence Management; Tiffany Perry, Health and Welfare Program Manager; Leah Ables, Director-Payroll, Margo Fincher, Manager-Absence Management; and Tracy Middleton and Stevie Ray Brown, from the Absence Management Department.
The committee’s next meeting will be scheduled for early January.
Topics of Discussion
The committee reviewed a number of items both during internal AFA-only conversation and when meeting with management. Some items discussed include:
- Difficulty connecting with the Inflight FA Leave Team, either via telephone, returned message, or email. Should you encounter this problem, please reach out to your Local Council Benefits Representative.
- Challenges with the Return to Work process. Once you are released to return to work, you must send your written release to FA.Leave@alaskaair.com, as well as to Hartford or Sedgwick.
- Introduction and description of new AirGroup EAP provider, Lyra. This program will take the place of Active Support starting January 01, 2024. Lyra will offer 10 free counseling sessions per covered employee/family member, per situation. They will offer both in-person and telehealth sessions. Those who are currently using Active Support counselors can complete the current six offered Active Support Sessions and will still be eligible for 10 sessions with Lyra starting in January.
- An electronic version of the Pay Preference form has been in development for some time. This will be very helpful to those employees who do not have access to a printer. It is expected to be available by the end of the year.
- Washington Paid Family Leave will go into effect for our work group in January 2024. Premiums are partially paid by the company, and partially payroll-deducted. This plan requires online application through the State of Washington. Oregon Paid Family leave went into effect in June of this year, with premium contributions starting that month. Each state has an ‘hours worked’ minimum requirement for eligibility.
What The Committee Is Working On
- Health Benefits following Staffing Adjustment Leave (SAL). We disagree with the new process requiring re-enrollment in health benefits following SALs. We are working to resolve this issue.
- Implementation of Washington Paid Family Leave, Oregon Paid Family Leave, and Washington Paid Sick Leave. We have requested the company communicate their processes and intent with implementation, application, and administration of these programs.
- Calculator Challenges. We continue to hear from members who believe the TFP calculators are inaccurate. The recent Flight Attendant Website Alert (10/20/23) indicated the company is aware of this and is working on it. As the end of the year draws closer we need these tools repaired and accurate.
We Want to Hear From You!
If you have any feedback or concerns that you would like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Your Local Benefits Committee is here to assist and represent you to management. You can find our contact information on the Benefits Committee page of the AFA Alaska website. We are committed to helping you in any way we can!