Dear Seattle Flight Attendants,
It is hard to believe that it is already the month of June! Are you ready for summer flying? Summer flying always adds more to our already hectic jobs on the aircraft, UMs, families, and packed planes. Please remember to rely on your fellow crew members for assistance with bags, carts, and closing overhead bins. Flight Attendants are not required to lift bags and we ask that you use good judgment when turning bags in the overhead bins to reduce injuries! Flight Attendant injuries are on the rise and although I love to talk to you, I do not want to have to discuss how to file a worker’s compensation claim with you!
Flight Pac! Please sign up for Flight Pac- we need your help to fight Flight Attendants causes on Capitol Hill!
A Review of the Past Few Months
Over the past few months I have had a chance to talk with many of you on a variety of issues. The biggest issue, of course, is negotiations. I understand that frustrations are mounting and that you are anxious for the team to get back to the table. However, feedback from Flight Attendants in all the bases signaled to us that change on the negotiating committee was important to you. During this time the MEC had to discuss several matters associated with going back to the table, including a new survey and the creation of the Mobilization committee. Also, both Seattle and Portland LEC Officer Elections were underway in March. The MEC knew that making any changes prior to the election results could cause more of a delay, so we waited until the April 11th election results before we could interview for the negotiation committee. In the mean time we got to work on the survey and the mobilization committee.
Seattle LEC Officer Elections
I want to thank all of you who voted in the LEC Election. Seattle’s voting turnout increased from 17% three years ago to a 32% turn out this year. Many of you may shake your heads when you see this number, but I don’t. This was a 50% increase! We are currently in the transition period to the new election cycle and we are not wasting any time getting your new officers trained! We have an LEC Officer meeting on June 2, Adam and Linda are attending new officer training June 10-12 in Washington, DC, and Stephanie is completing her online grievance training. When we begin our term July 1, 2014 we will have a full complement of officers, grievance trained, and ready to get to work for you!
Negotiating Team Selection
The selection of the negotiation committee was not an easy task, but the MEC believes that we have captured the right balance of experience and demographics on the committee to represent all Flight Attendants. We are also initiating a social media correspondent from the committee to help disseminate accurate information to you via the various social media pages.
Wrap Up of the Board of Directors
The last week of April the MEC traveled to Orlando, FL for the annual AFA Board of Directors Meeting. At this time we began to hear about the issues with the survey link and thankfully Tonnette, Jake, and Linda were in Orlando and worked with Jeff and Brian to help with the issue. The LEC Presidents were on the “floor” of the Board from 9am until late in the night to vote on important agenda items. Plus, we are assigned to committees who are in charge of vetting the agenda items for discussion on the floor. As it turns out, my committee was given two controversial agenda items and I spent a lot of time “in committee.” Again, thank you Jake, Linda, and Tonnette for all your help!
As many of you know, this Board of Directors elected the new International Officers. Sarah Nelson, United Flight Attendant, was elected as the new International President replacing Veda Shook. I personally want to thank Veda for all that she has done on behalf of Alaska Flight Attendants and all Flight Attendants industry wide.
In addition, Deb Sutor was elected as International Vice President and Keven Creighan was elected as the Secretary-Treasurer.
May Solidarity Events
The Alaska Airlines shareholder meeting was held May 8th in Anchorage, AK. Seattle members spoke very clearly about their desire to do something on this day and because we could not fly to Anchorage, we decided to don our blue AFA t-shirts and meet our crews heading to flights! We spent some time in the boarding area of Anchorage flights on this day and even talked with a few Vice Presidents as they made their way to Anchorage. The highlight of the day was wishing our MEC President, Jeff Peterson, a fond farewell as he boarded his Anchorage flight for the shareholder’s meeting. It was a small thing we could do and I noticed that we raised eyebrows and prompted an early morning text from Ron Calvin asking what “we were up to?”
The week of May 12-15 hosted local Mobilization trainings in all five bases. In order for Mobilization committees to be effective we need Flight Attendants who are trained to launch and assist with mobilization efforts. Seattle is very fortunate to have LEC Mobilization Chair, Krystle Cook, lead the Seattle Mobilization event on May 20th. Her natural leadership style is indicative of your next generation of AFA leadership and we are very excited to have her in Seattle. MEC Mobilization Chair Adam Clarey and MEC Vice President Brian Palmer worked tirelessly behind the scenes launching the Mobilization committee and you can expect a lot more “mobilizing” over the next few months! Please check out www.alaskamec.org and the AFA Alaska FaceBook page, facebook.com/alaskamec for more information on upcoming events.
The May 20th canvassing event in the airport was amazing and Seattle Flight Attendants turned out in masses to help! We received great feedback from you on what could help make upcoming mobilization events even better and we will do our best to incorporate those ideas! Make sure you are wearing your RED AFA pin. This is the official AFA pin for Alaska Flight Attendants and your Mobilization committee members are carrying supplies of pins and lanyards.
Last week was the May MEC meeting. We met for 3 solid days discussing upcoming negotiation events and the working through a long agenda of issues. Staff Negotiator Paula Mastrangelo flew out to meet with us to discuss the upcoming negotiation training in June. The negotiating committee and the MEC will meet and train together next month for two days. This will be a great opportunity for our new team members to get to know their MEC and vice versa.
During this recent MEC meeting Brad Tilden, Ben Minicucci, Andy Schneider, and Ron Calvin all came to visit. I have not seen management request a meeting like this since the “show me the money” pin backers. Clearly, we have them a little rattled.
The Delta concern is always a hot topic and management requested to meet with the MEC to discuss a better way to convey information to the Flight Attendants. Andy presented Delta’s increased route structure to the MEC and we suggested she send these out to the Flight Attendants. You may have already seen Andy’s What’s Happening with the links to the statistics. Take a look at this information…it is eye opening to see how much they are flying right on top of us. There was some good that came out of the multiple meetings with management this week. For instance, it was made very clear that AFA leadership should be consulted with upcoming changes that affect the Flight Attendants and that our feedback is imperative to helping them disseminate the message, or not.
We all care about the future of our company and we know that the Flight Attendants continue to do their amazing award winning work in spite of their frustrations with management. This fact was discussed at length with management and I would like to think that they are starting to understand what we are saying. It is in the best interest of our airline to get back to the table and negotiate a contract that represents the amazing award winning work that we do!
With that said, I am looking forward to the upcoming Torchlight Parade in Seattle this summer. I have grown concerned over comments on social media directed at our drill team members, or anyone who may volunteer for a company sponsored event. The MEC has not taken a position either way on a person’s choice to volunteer-it is up to the individual person to make this decision. But, in light of recent discussions surrounding the drill team volunteers and the fact that Flight Attendants are sharing negative discussions on social media, the MEC is changing its stance.
The Torchlight Parade is sponsored by Alaska Airlines and the drill team is an integral part of the parade. Flight Attendants on the drill team deserve the same level of support that any Flight Attendant would expect when they wear our uniform. The MEC discussed several options that our Flight Attendants could do to show their support for their negotiating committee and the drill team members. Stay tuned for the announcement and what you can do to support our drill team members!
In closing I want to offer this: As we move into the next round of negotiations please be kind to one another. We do not always have to agree, but we do have to work together and be mindful of what you post on social media. The company is watching and they have called in Flight Attendants for social media posts. If negative comments are directed to any employee (system regulations, harassment) or comments shed a bad light on the company you could receive a call from your performance supervisor.
Thank you for the ability to serve you- I am truly honored to represent this amazing group of Flight Attendants!
Laura Masserant, LEC President Seattle
Five Bases One Voice!