Safety of Our Crews, Our Flights and Our Country
Safety Of Our Crews
Recent events are potentially negatively impacting effective Crew Resource Management
The Master Executive Council (MEC) feels compelled to address the potentially negative impact to effective Crew Resource Management (CRM) resulting from the events most affecting the country over the past year: the COVID-19 pandemic, racial unrest and the election. We are a nation more polarized than ever, so there is no realistic way for the MEC to discuss the issues themselves without eliciting a strong response from our membership one way or the other. Nonetheless, AFA Alaska leadership has seen a very demonstrable uptick in issues between crewmembers (Flight Attendants and pilots) resulting from such polarization. These issues degrade effective CRM and lead to a net negative impact to the safety of our crews.
Avoid the subjects of politics, religion and money in mixed company
It would be fantastic if everyone could avoid the “taboo” subjects of politics, religion and money in mixed company such as while at work (including layovers). The disappearing separation between our work and private lives due to the proliferation of social media platforms makes doing so more challenging than ever. The MEC has no illusions that everybody will ever share the same religious, political and economic views or that doing so is even desirable. However, the MEC sincerely hopes that all crewmembers can at least attempt to reach common ground with each other on these challenging topics.
As safety professionals we are expected to maintain a working relationship with each other at all times
Regardless of the outcome of those conversations, as safety professionals we are expected to maintain a working relationship with each other at all times and to always have each other’s backs when it comes to ensuring mutual safety. The AFA Alaska and ALPA Alaska Professional Standards Committees work together to assist you with crew conflict resolution. Your Local Executive Council (LEC) officers are also available as resources.
Suggested points of commonality regardless of our individual views
- We all have at least some degree of collective responsibility as a society to safeguard the wellbeing of more than just the individual.
- All people are created equal; have certain inalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and no person(s) may infringe on the rights of others to enjoy those same rights.
- All Americans have the First Amendment right to freedom of expression (free speech, free press and peaceful assembly) without interference from the government, provided the act of doing so is not itself illegal.
- All Americans have the collective right to make changes to the administration of our government via the legislative, judicial and executive branches through the democratic processes set forth by the Constitution and other laws.
- All crewmembers universally desire to safely return home to our family and friends.
COVID-19 pandemic risk mitigations
Flight Attendants have brought forward concerns that not all crewmembers appear to be complying with various risk mitigations that are mandatory in certain localities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The perception is that due care is not being taken to adequately minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission prior to operating as a crewmember or traveling non-rev.
The MEC asks that all Flight Attendants be mindful of how social media posts showing crewmembers present in large groups and gathering in close quarters is upsetting to at least some of your fellow Flight Attendants. This is especially true when there are pictures and/or videos in which masks are not being worn—even if the reality is that the masks were taken off only briefly in order to memorialize the moment.
Be advised that you should adhere to any mandatory orders regarding masks, gatherings and quarantines. AFA believes that substantiated evidence of failure to do so may put you in jeopardy of disciplinary action by management.
Safety of Our Flights
Increased security measures ahead of Inauguration Day
Alaska Airlines management has worked with the unions to significantly step up security ahead of Inauguration Day, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it will crack down on unruly passengers with a zero-tolerance policy. Sensitive security information regarding the details of such security measures can be found in the most recent Special Edition Bulletin Bundle (January 15, 2021) as well as in communications from Alaska Airlines COO Gary Beck (“Our Approach to Keeping Employees and Crew Safe” – January 14, 2021) and Interim Vice President of Inflight Carmen Williams (“Enhanced safety processes through the Presidential Inauguration” – January 16, 2021). At this point in time, the MEC is satisfied with the coordinated risk management response.
- Work hard to keep problems on the ground.
- Ensure strict mask compliance before pushback.
- Work as one crew, communicate, and take your concerns to the pilots and supervisors.
- You have the right and duty to assert concern for your safety and that of the passengers in our care.
- Have pre-flight briefings with your pilots to identify how they will cooperatively work together to address disruptive and interfering passengers (boarding refusal, LEO response, diversion, etc.).
- Walk with your flying partners in teams through terminals and to the hotels.
- If anyone is in need of AFA Alaska EAP assistance, call 949-470-0493 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Report an issue to AFA by opening a ticket or contact your Local Executive Council (LEC) leadership if you need immediate assistance.
Safety of Our Country
Freedom of speech and of peaceful assembly
Flight Attendants have reported concerns about crewmembers attending the “Save America” rally on January 6th at the Ellipse in Washington, DC. Attending the event was a protected First Amendment activity no different than attending any other protest. The future security of our constitutional liberties, such as the freedom of speech and of peaceful assembly, depends on all of us to collectively safeguard the exercise of such rights irrespective of political differences.
Crimes against the state
Any effort to interfere with, rise up against or actively overthrow the government is almost certainly a crime—especially if violence or even the mere threat of force is involved. As we have seen in recent weeks, federal agencies are aggressively investigating anyone who heeded the call to “Occupy the Capitol” too literally, and charges are starting to roll in. Federal authorities have been assisted by thousands upon thousands of tips supplied by cooperative patriots who have taken It upon themselves to mine the photographic and video evidence for clues to the interlopers’ identities. Additionally, reports are plentiful of employers preemptively terminating employees who were recorded engaging in suspected criminal activity.
The subsequent fallout resulting from the storming of the U.S. Capitol building should serve as a cautionary tale. Sedition, insurrection and, of course, outright treason will not be tolerated in our United States of America.
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Linda Christou, Matt Cook, Terry Taylor, Steve Maller, Melissa Osborne, Tim Green and Brice McGee