The Master Executive Council (MEC) met with management earlier today in Seattle to discuss our questions and concerns regarding Recurrent Training. Members of the AFA Inflight Training Committee; Grievance Committee; Air Safety, Health and Security Committee; and Scheduling Committee also joined us for the discussion. Management was represented by Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Gary Beck, Vice President of Inflight Ron Calvin, VP Labor Relations Jenny Wetzel, VP Safety & Security Max Tidwell, Managing Director (MD) of Inflight Strategy and Support Mary Avey, MD Inflight Operations Michaela Littman, MD Labor Relations Carmen Williams and other senior leaders of the Inflight division.
Focus on two themes
Your AFA leaders focused on two themes:
- Holding management accountable, and
- Demonstrating proficiency over perfection.
Questions asked of management
We submitted several hard questions to management, including but not limited to:
- Which specific changes to the Recurrent Training (RT) program were required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a result of its audit of the Inflight training program last fall and which changes were management’s discretion?
- Is management aware that the current training program has created an environment of anxiety and fear in which Flight Attendants are now questioning their abilities to handle emergency situations?
- Is management willing to revise RT 2020 in order to provide Flight Attendants with greater clarity of expectations and improved resources and tools?
Changes sought by AFA
AFA advocated for several changes to RT 2020, including but not limited to:
- Ending the practice of “management only” classes and to mix management personnel into as many classes and locations as possible
- Providing adequate “hand-on” practice time prior to drill evaluations for evacuations, emergency equipment and CPR
- Live demonstration of each evaluation scenario for evacuations, emergency equipment and CPR
- Ability for a Flight Attendant to self-correct during an evaluation
- Allow an evaluator to provide feedback to a Flight Attendant following an unsuccessful evaluation
- ‘Forgive’ all Flight Attendants currently in the Special Track Training program (who were placed into the program following two unsuccessful drill evaluations)
- Significantly revise or drop the Special Track Training program (remediation training, retention check and check ride)
- No termination of employment following an unsuccessful fourth drill evaluation
Management took ownership, but we remain ‘cautiously skeptical’
Management took ownership of the disastrous state of the RT program, but the MEC will remain ‘cautiously skeptical’ until we see meaningful solutions put into action. However, Ron committed to ending the practice of “management only” RT classes and to mix management personnel into regular RT classes throughout the system.
Inflight management has canceled all Recurrent Training and Requalification Training classes that were scheduled to start between 1/28 and 2/7, and management has pledged to use this time to incorporate feedback and revise the RT 2020 program. Whatever changes may come out of this process, the MEC will make every effort to ensure management provides adequate training for the Inflight Instructors. It is critical that evaluations are performed uniformly and without subjectivity in order to guarantee a consistent and fair experience for all.
Management is developing a communication that outlines the plan in more detail. AFA is also drafting several contractual grievances specific to Recurrent Training. We anticipate publishing another RT update in the coming days after management’s next communication goes out and our grievances have been filed.
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Linda Christou, Matt Cook, Terry Taylor, Mario de’Medici, Melissa Osborne, Tim Green and Brice McGee