AFA Alaska Update – November 12, 2020
In This Edition
- Annual Benefits Open Enrollment
- COVID-19 Pandemic Update
- Recurrent Training Update
- AFA Disaster Relief – Multiple Disasters
- Union Plus Holiday Giveback
Annual Benefits Open Enrollment
Annual Benefits Open Enrollment is underway, and you have until November 18, 2020 to make changes to your benefits for 2021.
The PPO rates are frozen at the 2019 rates per JCBA §23.A.2.
Consumer Choice (High Deductible) PPO Plan
Rates significantly increased this year for the Consumer Choice (High Deductible) PPO Plan, and the various benefits have arguably been greatly diluted. AFA recommends that Flight Attendants currently on the Consumer Choice Plan should carefully consider whether this plan continues to work for your situation.
Many Flight Attendants have asked about whether the increase in rates is allowed contractually, and the answer is yes. JCBA §23.A.3: “The Company will offer a high-deductible group-insurance plan. Flight Attendants will pay no more than any other work group to participate in the plan.” The regular PPO has an annual rate increase limit, but the Consumers Choice/High Deductible PPO Plan does not.
Regional HMO Plans
Rates did not increase this year for the Regional HMO Plans. Per JCBA §23.A.4: “For Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), where offered, the Flight Attendant will pay the difference between the entire cost of the HMO and the Company contribution for the PPO plan, subject to a minimum Flight Attendant contribution of the amount charged to PPO plan participants.”
Travel Open Enrollment
You will be able to make changes to your travel dependents during Travel Open Enrollment, which is December 2-16.
COVID-19 Pandemic Update
Air Safety, Health and Security Committee (ASHSC) and Inflight Service Committee (ISC)
Management Continues to Roll Out Additional Onboard Service Over AFA’s Objections
First, coffee and tea back in July. Then, Fruit & Cheese Platters last week. Now, a second service in Premium Class is coming soon on Hawaii flights. (There have been other service additions along the way, but you get the point.) Master Executive Council (MEC) leadership has received questions from concerned members asking if we are in support of these service additions while the pandemic continues to rage.
We are not, on the basis that they are premature in our opinion. However, management strongly believes the enhancements are necessary in order to maintain guest satisfaction and that sufficient safety measures have been implemented to mitigate risk to acceptable levels.
Although the parties are agreeing to disagree on that last point, we are always attempting to find common ground. For now, management has agreed to not expand coffee and tea service to all day, to limit the second Premium Class service to Hawaii and to continue working with AFA to minimize aisle time and maximize mask compliance. Efforts continue on multiple fronts in various forums every week.
AFA COVID-19 Operational Recommendations (October 2020)
The AFA Executive Board of Directors unanimously approved the following recommendations developed by the AFA International Air Safety, Health, Security Department working in partnership with the safety committees at all the AFA carriers. These were recently sent to the CEOs of every AFA carrier requesting action to implement the recommendations. AFA Alaska leadership is currently working through the list with executive management. We will keep you posted on the progress.
- Continue to require that masks are worn onboard until a vaccine is widely available, and implement these onboard service policies to facilitate consistent mask-wearing:
- Minimize onboard food and beverage service to essential items;
- Make regular announcements: (1) for passengers to not remove their mask until the Flight Attendant has passed their row; and (2) for passengers to only “dip” their mask down momentarily to take a bite or a sip (“dip and sip”);
- Add onboard mask protocols to flight attendant safety demos, including the requirement for everyone to wear a mask throughout the flight, to wear it over the month and nose, and to only dip it down momentarily when eating/drinking;
- Only serve cold food and drinks on flights less than 1,800 miles/three hours;
- Serve individual cans/bottles for drinks, do not pour beverages from master bottles;
- Stop onboard alcohol sales: alcohol consumption is non-essential and can reduce mask compliance.
- Maintain social-distancing space for flight attendants, whenever possible on the plane and transportation to/from hotel. Provide regular briefing sheet reminders about best practices in crowded spaces to reduce risk – persistent proper mask use, avoid common touch locations, use of 60% alcohol or more hand sanitizer, and wash hands for 20 seconds or more as soon as practicable after once at destination (airport or hotel).
- Maintain employee sick leave policies with economic coverage of testing and non-punitive sick calls if experiencing COVID-like symptoms.
- Conduct timely notification to Flight Attendants on exposure to confirmed coronavirus cases, with a 72 hours lookback to a passenger or crewmember reporting either symptoms or a positive test result, including notification to crewmembers if one or more passengers test positive post-flight. Continue company-sponsored crew testing and quarantine protocols;
- Continue to implement and maintain sanitation and disinfection protocols; and
- Minimize or eliminate touch points, such as hanging coats for passengers and other non-essential services.
Recurrent Training Update
Inflight Training Committee
Recurrent Training 2021: Boeing Window Exit – Ditching
Remember the very wordy Q3 Computer Based Training (CBT) Boeing Window Exit Ditching video? It’s official: As required by the FAA, we will be evaluated on that evacuation drill during Recurrent Training 2021. We do not believe this regulatory requirement will change, so start studying now!
No More Line Observation in the Special Track Training Program
The requirement for a Line Observation (which was being commonly referenced as a “check ride” in casual conversation on the line) within twelve months of a successful third or fourth competency evaluation (i.e. RT or RQ drill) has been removed from the Special Track training program. Although the Special Track continues to exist, a Line Observation is no longer part of the program.
AFA Disaster Relief – Multiple Disasters
AFA Disaster Relief Fund
We know that disasters can change lives forever. While we can’t stop destructive events from happening, we can, as a Union, assist our members with their recovery. AFA established the Disaster Relief Fund after September 11th to assist our members whose lives were placed in harm’s way. AFA members and retirees, whose primary residence is in the counties listed below and who have suffered damage and/or dislocation, are eligible for $200.00 from the AFA-CWA Disaster Relief Fund. It is a gift made possible by the generosity of your fellow union sisters and brothers with AFA.
Hurricane Laura (Louisiana):
PARISHES: Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Caddo, Calcasieu, Cameron, Grant, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, La Salle, Lincoln, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Sabine, St. Landry, Union, Vermilion, Vernon, Winn
COUNTIES: Butte, Fresno, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Medera, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity, Tulare and Yolo
COUNTIES: Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion
Hurricane Sally (Alabama):
COUNTIES: Baldwin, Escambia, Mobile
Hurricane Delta (Louisiana):
PARISHES: Acadia, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Vermilion
If you would like to apply for AFA-CWA Disaster Relief Funds, visit www.afacwa.org/drf and download the Disaster Relief Fund Application and mail it to AFA-CWA EAP Department, 6th Floor, 501 Third Street NW, Washington D.C. 20001-2797. You can also e-mail this same information requested to email@example.com or phone in the necessary information to 1-800-424-2406.
If you wish to make a contribution either by check or electronic payment, please visit www.afacwa.org/drf for more information on donating.
Union Plus Holiday Giveback: Nominations Are Open
Sponsor: Union Privilege
It’s official. The Union Plus Holiday Giveback Campaign is officially live! Over the next month, Union Plus is accepting nominations for extraordinary union members across the country that deserve something a little extra this holiday season. The best part? 100 winners will each receive $1,000 in appreciation of all that they do for their communities. It’s simple to enter. How simple? Three steps for three minutes simple:
1. Record a short video of yourself explaining what makes your nominee extraordinary. They can be any union member–someone from your community, a loved one, or yourself.
2. Click here to submit the video on Union Plus’s website or post the video on your personal Instagram account using the hashtags #UnionPlusGiveAGrand and #Contest
3. Click here to submit a written entry (300 words or less) on Union Plus’s website. Nominations will be accepted until December 4th, and winners will be announced throughout December. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to make a fellow union member’s holiday season extra special and wish you the best of luck!
REQUIRED DISCLOSURE: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The Contest (the “Contest”) is open to legal U.S residents 18+. See Official Rules & Appendix for complete eligibility details and eligible unions in Official Rules. The Contest is not open to the general public. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Contest begins 11/9/20 and ends 12/4/20. Click here for Official Rules.