We’re just as disappointed as you are…
The AFA Alaska Master Executive Council (MEC) is just as disappointed as you are in regards to the new “same calendar day” alcohol policy. We resolutely oppose this Company policy and will put forward our best effort to turn this around. The MEC is currently working to schedule a meeting with executive management as soon as possible to discuss our members’ concerns.
Message to management: stop being overly paternalistic!
Our message to management will be clear: the vast majority of flight attendants consume alcohol responsibly, so stop being overly paternalistic! Management talks about wishing to align us with “FAA recommendations that encourage 24 hours free from alcohol for flight deck crew.” That sounds all well and fine, but then where are our flight deck rest and fatigue rules? Full transparency: our contractual duty day and rest limitations may be more generous than those outlined in 14 CFR Part 117 (“Flight and duty limitation and rest requirements: flightcrew members”) in some instances—but you get the point.
Current reporting requirements for drug and alcohol abuse results in a culture of fear
The MEC believes this new rule will not change the behavior of those very few who abuse alcohol but rather drive them further underground. Your AFA leadership and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) committee have long advocated that the current reporting requirements for drug and alcohol abuse results in a culture of fear. There is the fear of losing one’s job if you suspect a problem but you’re not ready to come forward; fear of causing a co-worker who you suspect of abusing to lose her or his job if you report the concern; or fear losing one’s job if you do not report the concern about a fellow co-worker and are subsequently terminated for “hiding” a safety violation.
AFA is committed to working with management to develop a “return to cabin” system
This culture of fear creates a “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” approach, which obviously cannot result in a culture of safety. AFA is committed to working with management to move away from a punitive approach and develop a new “return to cabin” system that holds safety in the highest regard while also recognizing a modern understanding of addiction. This system should also provide employees with the tools to help their co-workers without fear of termination for themselves or their co-workers.
Realistically AFA cannot file a grievance but this doesn’t mean we’re powerless
Some members have asked us to file a grievance on this issue but the alcohol policy is not protected in the contract. Rather, this is a Company policy and would not be eligible for a contractual grievance. We are not aware of any collective bargaining group at any airline that has a contractually protected right to consume alcohol up to a certain cutoff. However, just because we cannot realistically file a grievance does not mean we’re powerless!
The MEC encourages all flight attendants to respectfully share their feelings about this new rule by emailing the following Alaska Airlines management personnel:
- Chief Operating Officer (COO) Ben Minicucci,
- Vice President of Inflight Services Andy Schneider, and
- Managing Director of Inflight Operations Ron Calvin.
Express your thoughts directly to management at the upcoming Inflight “happy hours” in April
There are also several Inflight “happy hours” upcoming in April in SEA (April 16th 4:30-6:30pm), PDX (April 23rd 4-6pm) and SAN (April 27th 4-6pm)—all locations to be determined. These events are a fantastic opportunity for you to express your thoughts about this ridiculous policy face to face with Inflight management. Meanwhile, you can reflect upon the irony of discussing this restrictive alcohol policy at happy hour. 😉
The MEC welcomes any suggestions on how to leverage our solidarity. If you’re going to email your creative solutions please use a private email address—do not use your Company email. Contact your local officers with your ideas.
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More on this to come!
Your MEC—Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Yvette Gesch, Becky Strachan, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Sandra Morrow and Stephen Couckuyt