Upcoming Elections for Local Council President and Secretary
It’s been two months since the appointment of the Council 35 Local Council president and secretary, and the time has come for Council 35 members to participate in the Local Council officer election process. Initially, the AFA International president appoints officers to facilitate the transition of a newly organized carrier. Within 60 days of the initial appointment of officers, active members in good-standing are provided an opportunity to nominate and vote for the Local Council officers. For Council 35, the Local Council officer term will last until there is a ratified merged agreement or through June 30, 2019, whichever is sooner. During this term, the offices of Local Council president and Local Council secretary will encompass a wide variety of responsibilities (AFA Constitution and Bylaws Article III.A.2, III.C.3.a, and III.C.3.c). As there will be no other committees and officers available as a resource until a ratified contract is achieved, the elected Local Council president and Local Council secretary will be responsible for duties to include attending to all aspects of the grievance process, act as contractual administrators to the Letters of Agreements (LOAs) recently negotiated, providing regular updates to members of progress, and signing up Flight Attendants as AFA members to ensure they can exercise their voting rights. With over 1000 Flight Attendants at Virgin America, it will require a level of commitment that is significantly higher than an established Local Executive Council that enjoys a full complement of officers and committees.
Please don’t miss your opportunity to nominate your candidates for Council 35 Local Council president and Local Council secretary. The deadline to submit nominations is July 12, 2017 at 12 PM EDT (9 AM PDT). If you have not received a ballot in the mail, please contact the AFA Ballot Help Line at 800-424-2401, press 1 and dial extension 706. The Ballot Help Line is staffed Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern time.
Become A Member and Have the Right to Vote!
Although the National Mediation Board has ruled that AFA is our collective bargaining representative, you are not automatically considered an AFA member. Every VX Flight Attendant must complete and submit a membership application to become an official member. Please be aware that this form cannot be completed online. The hard copy form must be submitted directly to an AFA representative or mailed to the AFA International Office in D.C. You can download and print one by clicking here. Completing an application ensures that you have the right to vote in officer elections and on tentative agreements.
Grievance Letter of Agreement: Just Cause vs. At Will Employment
The newly negotiated Letter of Agreement (LOA) that defines the Virgin America grievance process has been in effect for a month now and has been a great improvement for Virgin America Flight Attendants. It provides a guideline for Flight Attendants and management to process all discipline and contractual violations in a timely manner and within certain parameters. The LOA includes language that provides Flight Attendants the right to representation, and the ability to obtain representation within a reasonable time. Virgin America Flight Attendants are now under a Just Cause employment contract, which is a great improvement to the At Will employment relationship of the past. No longer will management be able to discipline and/or terminate a VX Flight Attendant without satisfying Just Cause—which requires management to sufficiently prove their case. Before administering any discipline, management will be required to “filter” the issue through the Just Cause list of requirements and respond within the designated time frame.
What does all this mean? In a nutshell, Virgin America cannot discipline or terminate a Flight Attendant at their own discretion, nor can they wait an excessive amount of time to address a concern or issue. This is a great improvement for VX and it should provide Flight Attendants the assurance that discipline and terminations will be administered fairly, consistently and within a timely manner. If you have any questions about Just Cause and what it means for you, please reach out to your Council 35 officers for assistance.
Flight Locator by Crew
Last week, the “Flight Locator by Crew” function was removed from Crew Web without notice. AFA has already responded to management and members about this issue and will continue to advocate for a reasonable solution or alternative.
Don’t Forget to Wear Your AFA Pin
The AFA pin is an approved uniform piece and should be worn on the left collar. If wearing both your AFA pin and anniversary pin, the anniversary pin should be placed closest to the tip of the collar.
Your AFA pin represents our combined strength and unity as we work toward achieving improvements for all of us and should always be worn with your uniform. If you have completed a membership application and didn’t receive an AFA pin, you can request one from an AFA representative or by contacting your Council 35 officers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I don’t feel the changes in boarding procedures are safe. What should I do?
Since the launch of the new boarding procedures, many members have reached out expressing skepticism that the new policy does not promote safety. In addition, the tension between GSTs and ITMs have increased as the new set of goals has elevated responsibility for each side. Ben Minicucci has responded to AFA’s concern and has reiterated that safety comes first and will always be the priority. If at any time you feel unsafe while performing these new procedures or any other of your duties, please feel empowered to stop and notify proper authorities. If you follow these “safety first” procedures, and receive negative feedback from supervisors or managers, please contact your Council 35 officers for support.
Being assigned to a 321 Differences (DFR) training session doesn’t respect seniority. Why weren’t we allowed to bid for sessions like we did for ETOPs?
Because of the requalification requirement involved with 321(DFR) training, management created a training program that maintained Flight Attendants qualification, reduced the number of times teammates would need to travel to SFO for training and lessened the impact on the operation. The training for 321 needs to be renewed during a Flight Attendant’s recurrent (RGS), so attending DFR early would change an F/A’s requalification timeline and require a permanent change to their RGS base month. Disrupting the requalification schedule would be a logistical challenge and potentially disappoint many Flight Attendants having to change their recurrent schedule. Although this method made the most sense at the time of implementation, management has agreed to engage AFA in discussions regarding how to best honor seniority prior to planning future training activities.
I’ve been on WC since the pay raise went into effect but haven’t seen the increase. When will I get my retro pay?
Virgin America’s insurance carrier Gallagher Bassett is responsible for calculating the wage adjustments. Gallagher Bassett has been given the updated hourly rates for all employees with injuries that occurred between 01/01/17 and 05/01/17. Temporary Total Disability rates are two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wage for the 52 weeks preceding the date of injury. The account manager at Gallagher Bassett responsible for Virgin America Flight Attendants confirmed that adjustments should have been finalized by Friday 6/30/17 and adjustment checks will be mailed to the affected employees this week.
I have questions for Melissa and James, how can I reach them?
Please refrain from sending messages to VX email accounts and/or via Facebook messenger. Your questions will be answered faster if you send them to the Council 35 email email@example.com. Being available to you is important to your AFA leadership team and by following the prescribed methods of communication, your leaders can better assist with your questions, suggestions and concerns. Thank you for understanding!
I am not getting any emails from AFA Alaska Council 35. What can I do?
Please be sure to subscribe to Council 35 emails using a non-Virgin America email account. You can subscribe online at http://afanewsletters.org/subscribe/. If you encounter any problems with the online subscription page, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please let us know if you have any questions or thoughts! You can reach us at email@example.com.
Your Council 35 Officers – Melissa & James