In This Edition
- Tell Congress: Extend the Payroll Support Program
- Substance Use During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Vanguard Retirement Webinar—Coming Soon
- Union Plus Program Hardship Benefits
- Updated Board of Directors Information
- The Dues Pie Chart – Where Do My Dues Go?
Tell Congress: Extend the Payroll Support Program
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 556 are calling for a six-month aviation Payroll Support Program (PSP) extension through March 31, 2021, to protect our jobs, extend the restrictions on stock buybacks, dividends, and executive compensation, and maintain service to all of our communities. Tell Congress to keep our industry intact to ensure aviation can help fight the virus and contribute to economic recovery as opposed to adding to an economic depression.
Amplify Your Voice With a Call
In addition to sending a letter, you can amplify your voice by following up with a phone call to your Members of Congress. Call your Representative and Senators and say:
Hello, I am a constituent calling to ask [Representative]/[Senator] to help save my job as an essential worker. Take legislative action in July to extend the CARES Act Payroll Support Program for aviation workers in order to avoid massive job loss in October. Keep us connected to our jobs, our paychecks, and our healthcare. Thank you for your urgent attention to this.
AFA COVID Relief House – (888) 907-9365
AFA COVID Relief Senate – (888) 848-4824
Substance Use During COVID-19 Pandemic
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)/Professional Standards Committee
Historically, crisis events tend to trigger increased drug and alcohol abuse. Post 9/11, for example, the National Institutes of Health raised concerns about increased substance use by those impacted by the tragedy. Meanwhile, after Hurricane Katrina, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that hospitalization for alcohol use disorders rose by 35 percent in New Orleans. Experts fear that we will see similar trends this time, but on a national scale. People frequently self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to cope with feelings of stress and anxiety. Uncertainty about the future, loneliness, lack of routine, economic dislocation, job loss and fear of death by disease, can all be triggers for those who are vulnerable to substance abuse, including those in recovery – even after long periods of abstinence. Meanwhile, stay-at-home orders in effect for COVID-19, limit access to support systems such as friends, neighbors, therapists, church, family and recovery groups. Early indications aren’t good. Researchers are seeing spikes in alcohol sales, marijuana use, and anti-anxiety and pain medication prescriptions.
If you are concerned about substance abuse for yourself, a family member or flying partner, now is the perfect time to consider treatment, especially if you are on a voluntary leave. Your AFA EAP Committee can discuss and coordinate all treatment options while maintaining your right to privacy. If you are getting ready to return from a leave and would like to discuss preventing safety risk associated with drug and alcohol testing violations, contact your AFA EAP Committee for a confidential conversation. Contact information for your Local EAP Committee can be found at afaalaska.org/eap.
Vanguard Retirement Webinar—Coming Soon
As the company will be offering early out packages, your AFA Retirement Committee, in conjunction with Vanguard, the company’s 401(k) plan administrator, will be conducting an online webinar to provide information and answer questions about the planning process for retirement. Meeting date, time, registration information, and information about how to submit questions in advance will be posted to the Retirement Committee page of the AFA Alaska website and communicated in an AFA update email once finalized.
Retirement Plan Resources
In addition to the upcoming retirement webinar, a list of retirement plan resources and links to these online tools can be found on the retirement resources page of Alaska’s World (AAG sign-on required).
Union Plus Program Hardship Benefits
Many of the Union Plus programs, which are an AFA Member benefit, provide hardship benefits.
Members who currently have a Union Plus Mortgage, Credit Card, Personal Loan, or Supplemental Insurance programs may be eligible for additional hardship assistance through the Mortgage Assistance Program and Union Plus Hardship Help. The Union Plus Mortgage Assistance Program provides interest-free loans and a $1000 grant to help eligible members make mortgage payments when disabled, unemployed, furloughed, locked out or on strike.
Union Plus Credit Card holders are eligible for a $300 job loss grant if they have been laid-off or furloughed for 45 days or more due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria and application process can be found at www.unionplus.org/hardship-help/union-plus-hardship-help-benefits.
The MetLife Legal program is making available additional resources including free consultation and document review and access to a self-help library so members can get questions answered and also review and complete Wills, Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Directives and similar documents for free through July 31, 2020. Additional info, including the instructions to reach the self-help document library, is available here: https://www.unionplus.org/blog/consumer-tips/free-legal-document-review-and-consultations-through-july-31-2020.
The Free College program is making available additional financial aid to students who may need additional assistance for education-related expenses due to COVID-19. Info on Free College is here: https://www.unionplusfreecollege.org.
Updated AFA Board of Directors Information
The Board of Directors were scheduled to meet in-person during May 2020, but due to the pandemic conditions, that meeting was cancelled. The BOD met virtually via a Zoom Meeting on May 20, 2020. The purpose of this meeting was to address the 2020-2021 Proposed Annual Budget.
Visit the AFA International Board of Directors resource page for updated meeting documentation that includes the single Agenda Item (Annual AFA Budget), the four Resolutions that were considered and other useful material.
The Dues Pie Chart – Where Do My Dues Go?
The Dues Pie Chart depicts where all funds at AFA are budgeted. About 80% of dues dollars are directly allocated to fund the work at each airline (i.e. Local Councils, Master Executive Councils, Negotiations, and System Board). The remaining budgets at the International Office support Government Affairs, Air Safety, EAP, and Communications Departments, each of which provides expert services that are Flight Attendant focused and provide resources for the local leaders and committees of Flight Attendants at each airline. 100% of our dues dollars are allocated to priorities that provide Flight Attendant representation.
There are four distinct areas where dues money is spent:
Local and Airline-Specific
Each base has a Local Executive Council (LEC) with elected Officers who provide direct representation and deal with local grievances and other issues. These Local Officers will answer your phone calls and make sure member interests are represented in front of management. For example, in the event of discipline or a contract violation, Local Officers will address the issue where it happened and work to get swift resolution. Additionally, elected Master Executive Council (MEC) Officers provide representation at the corporate level. At both the LEC and MEC, there are committees that solve problems in areas such as safety, schedules, hotels, grievances, etc. These committees also enforce the contract specific to their area of expertise, produce newsletters, and participate in union meetings. The role of your LEC and MEC Officers and committee representatives at each airline is to ensure you are represented by Flight Attendants who know your job because they share it with you at your airline. AFA promotes this autonomy at each airline where your representatives, assisted by experts, negotiate with management and develop and maintain the relationship between airline management and the Union.
Bargaining for pay and working conditions is one of the core representation activities performed by the Union. We start with a membership survey, schedule meetings with management, conduct caucuses with the committee, develop contractual language, support membership engagement and information programs, and we work with AFA-CWA professional negotiators throughout the process including all direct negotiations/mediation with management. The end result is improved contractual language with higher pay, better working conditions, and improved benefits.
System Board (Grievances)
The first step in any grievance is to try to resolve the matter locally. Some airlines have negotiated an alternative dispute process for a faster, collaborative resolution. If that fails, then the final stage for resolution, whether disciplinary or contractual, is an appeal to a neutral arbitrator. An AFA-CWA attorney will work with our Grievance Committee to present our case to the neutral arbitrator. We defend the contracts we negotiate.
International Office Support
While your LEC is the face of the Union to local management and the MEC to corporate management, the International Office is the public persona and brand of the Union. Our presence and name recognition can legislate or improve federal regulations, remove obstacles from the bargaining table, better our position in negotiations and improve our experience on the job across the profession. The International Office maintains the professional staff of attorneys, negotiators, and other personnel that provide administration, accounting and membership services to members and elected leaders. We all work together to support the programs that encompasses our profession.
If you have questions about AFA dues, please contact your LEC President.