Welcoming our new ISR
Published 3/25/2010 8:30:00 AM
Deb, Toni and I are meeting this week to begin discussions about the role of the ISR and how we will work together going forward. We are happy that Toni has joined our ranks and are excited about her fresh perspective, approach and energy. Topics of discussion this week included the upcoming Mobilization Roundtable agenda scheduled for May 13, 2010 in SFO, our workshop at this year's Board of Directors meeting, preliminary discussions about the Newly Elected Leadership training scheduled for June 13 - 18 at the National Labor College. We also reviewed the proposed ISR budget and other housekeeping issues such as how to acces the blog.
We look forward to renewing our relationships with you the elected leaders as we begin our new assignments in the field.
ISRs - working for new, inovative advancements in learning
Published 7/31/2009 12:38:00 PM
The ISRs met in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday July 28 and Wednesday July 29 to review progress of the on-line basic grievance training course and the revisions to the Leadership Resource Binder. We also participated in the C3 conference call and the Organizer's conference call.
Guy has completed approximately 3/4 of the design work for the powerpoint presentation that will form the basis of the on-line course. He and Stephani Lewis met in the spring to go over the basic outline. A decision still needs to be made which contractual case to use as a teaching scenario. Originally we discussed using the ValuJet Aircraft cleaning case but it may be too intricate for a basic on-line teaching scenario. We discussed adapting the Bob Badillo scenario we have used previously. It is fairly simple to understand. The other option is creating a brand new scenario. Darlene is working on some images that will used in the course. The major thing that needs to be accomplished is recording the audio for the course. We have a lead on a possible "voice" for the course.
Pending other duties and availability he hopes to finish the powerpoint course and finalize the script so that audio can be recorded following the Executive Board meeting the first week of September. A prototype should be ready to be shown to the legal department at their joint meeting in DC in September.
We reviewed the edits that have been completed to the leadership binder to date. Suzanne and Deb have gone through the entire binder and completed the majority of the re-writes. We reviewed those re-writes for content and made suggestions about additional changes that needed to be made. We also reviewed the CWA leadership binder for possible additions that would enhance our binder. We requested and have been promised an electronic copy of the CWA binder.
We envision a binder that would contain the material that does not need to be revised often accompanied by a CD containing forms and other written communications that can be adapted by the leadership and a "training" manual that would include handouts, quizes and other items that can change more frequently or might need to be removed, copied and used by the leaders.
Deb and Suzanne then divided the remaining work that needs to be accomplished. We will review progress on Tuesday afternoon September 1, following the Executive Board Meeting. We have coordinated meeting to finalize the edits and meet with Darlene and her group the week of October 5 to discuss layout and formatting. Our deadline for this project is to have it available for the first election cycle training in June of 2010.
Our fascinating history
Published 6/22/2009 10:56:00 AM
On June 15th, NWA #96 held their monthly union meeting in Seattle, along with Delta flight attendants. The guest speaker was former NWA union activist, Mary Pat Laffey Inman. She told her story, giving particular praise to the union attorneys, Gil Feldman, (at that time the union was a predecessor union of AFA) and trial lawyer, Michael Gottesman.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 included a prohibition against sex discrimination, along with discrimination for race, etc. Southern congressmen had inserted the word sex to muddy the waters in their attempt to defeat the entire bill. It turned out to be a very fortunate accident for women, and the union pounced on this opportunity to right some egregious wrongs in our career.
Northwest had male pursers at that time. Mary Pat described how things were:
They could be married,
They made more money,
They had single rooms,
They had a lighter work load.
Management reimbursed uniform cleaning for males but not females.
Men could wear glasses, females could not.
Men had no weight standards, women did.
The regulations actually stated: “If a male steward is on board he will always be in charge” Court records quote NWA stating“ (NWA)prefers males and intends to have them." ..”
In 1968 Northwest hired five male stewards and automatically placed them in purser roles. Many stewardesses were worried about bidding for the position for fear of retaliation from the males. Mary Pat took the initiative and was granted a purser position but the company put her at the bottom of the list; she had to be on reserve, flying into Vietnam during the Tet offensive. She was denied the purser salary.
In 1969 during new negotiations, NWA still refused to agree to female purser equality. The union filed a class action lawsuit under the equal pay act as well as the civil rights act.
The action went to trial in 1972, the trial lasted 5 weeks and in Nov 1973 the court found NWA to be in violation in every respect. They were ordered to raise salaries retroactive 2 years (all the law would allow) and pay the value of the difference between double and single rooms. The court also eliminated the requirement that FAs quit at the age of 32 and that they could not marry and the weight requirement.
NWA appealed. It took 12 years, until in 1984 the court of appeals in a 63 page ruling reaffirmed the lower court decision. The award was $52 million to be paid out to 3,352 FAs.
NWA appealed again, this time to the supreme court but they “denied cert”. Now the sum was $59 million plus attorney fees, the largest equal pay award ever.
The biggest payout was $56,000, with the average to each flight attendant $30,000 to $35,000.
Mary Pat told us she later asked the NWA lawyers why they continued to appeal and took such a hard core stand and they told her they hoped the courts would become more conservative and eventually overturn.
United and other carriers had similar cases pending and all settled based on the Laffey vs Northwest Orient case.
One FA told Mary Pat, “every time I walk around my hotel room naked, I thank you”.
Even though I was flying during these years, benefited from the changes we fought for, and have seen the video Turbulent Romance many times, I found myself thrilled by the amazing story in which Mary Pat – and the union - played a starring role.
Suzanne S Kirkpatrick, ISR
America West Grievance Training
Published 4/22/2009 11:13:00 AM
America West Leadership, Lisa LeCarre, Dorene Fredette and Jeff Albers, hosted a three day grievance training marathon April 15 – 17, 2009. This intensive session was led by AFA-CWA Senior Staff Attorney Jay Trumble and ISR Guy Bosworth. The first day focused on Basic Grievance Handling. Existing grievance reps were provided with a good review and new grievance volunteers were introduced to the duties and responsibilities of a grievance rep.
The second day, the existing grievance reps used actual arbitration decisions to delve deeper into the concepts at the core of grievance handling, including the principles of Just Cause and Contract Interpretation. They also worked with MEC Grievance Chair, Robin Agee, to simulate grievance screening using currently pending AMW grievances.
Finally, on the third day, the existing grievance reps had the opportunity to hear directly from Arbitrator Andria Knapp. Ms. Knapp offered her opinion on how arbitrators make decisions and how to be persuasive when building your case for arbitration. It was a great opportunity for the participants to break down the wall between the arbitrator and the union so that we can better understand the process. Thanks to the following Council 66 members for their outstanding participation in the training.
Published 2/17/2009 12:32:00 PM
Ryan International flight attendants and pilots turned out in force to welcome International President Pat Friend to their first official AFA-CWA membership meeting and pizza party! After a lengthy battle against the company’s anti-union campaign, the Ryan International flight attendants voted overwhelmingly, by a margin of 111 out of 167, to join our union! Pat explained the democratic nature of AFA and the need for a majority membership and election of officers prior to appointing a negotiating committee and negotiating their first contract. Pat also gave short descriptions of the various committees that can be used by the MEC, stressing the priority of mobilizing in support of contract negotiations and their leadership.
While the membership drive and election process is being held, the group will be represented by Interim MEC/LEC President Tammy Angel-Gorzela and Interim MEC/LEC Secretary/Treasurer Denise Kaufman. Tammy and Denise have visited the International Office and met with ISR Guy Bosworth and Senior Staff Negotiator Bobbie Francis. They will initiate meetings with the company to lay the groundwork for union activities at Ryan International Airways.
The organizing committee took the opportunity to present United flight attendant organizer Shriver Lenox with a small gift in appreciation for her hard work and help during their organizing drive. Shriver also brought along a few union volunteers from United Council 08 in ORD to lend support.
It was truly inspiring to watch this newly organized group as they begin their journey and come to reap the benefits of union membership.
LYNX Council #77
Published 2/8/2009 4:10:00 PM
Lynx Flight Attendants met in Denver for their first local council meeting. Cindy Castor, newly appointed Transitional Representative, conducted the meeting and answered questions about what comes next. She congratulated her members on their determination and solidarity. They accomplished their organizing drive in just 13 months. AFA leaders will officially welcome the LYNX flight attendants into our union at the annual board of director's meeting in MKE at the end of March.
Holiday Shopping Union Style!
Published 12/7/2008 10:55:00 AM
IBelow are some shopping ideas from the AFL-CIO. My personal favorite is the book Click, Clack, Moo which starts the organizing in the toddler years - just ask my daughter! /Veda
It's never been more important to support America's workers and our economy by using your holiday shopping dollars for union-made-in-the-USA gifts for your family and friends. What better way to share your values and demonstrate your commitment to helping rebuild the American economy than to buy 100 percent union-made gifts?
We’ve added lots of new items at The Union Shop Online to go along with our classic Fiesta disc pitchers in regular and miniature sizes, Union Made hoodies, Rosie the Riveter poster and much, much more.
We have an extensive collection of clothes, games and books for kids, tons of great stocking stuffers and holiday cards galore.
Thank you for your support and activism over the years, and America’s workers thank you for buying union-made in the USA.
30 Years Post Deregulation
Published 11/26/2008 6:01:00 AM
The end of this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Deregulation of our industry. In 1978 the promise was to increase competition to lower the price of air travel and increase availability for consumers. The end of this year also marks the creation of the world’s largest airline, with the approved merger of Delta and Northwest. While prices for consumers have surely fallen in real dollars in the past three decades, are we, as flight attendants, really better off?
Over the years, we’ve seen carriers come and go – yet the largest “legacy” carriers remain, for the large part, although in a radically different form and in a rapidly changing climate. Each time a new carrier enters a market, the price drops. That is good in the short term for the consumer, but as the Legacy carrier matches the price, frequently both carriers lose money. Even Southwest, the preeminent Low Cost Carrier (LCC), lost money this last quarter – it’s first time in 17 years.
As expected initially following deregulation, there was a shift for workers in increased productivity which passed along savings to the carriers. But decades later, our airlines still haven’t found stability in a post deregulated environment. Airlines haven’t been able to adequately predict shocks to the industry, changes in fuel prices or to stabilize themselves in economic downturns, such as the one we face today. Couple this with an aging aviation infrastructure, under which the airlines try to compete freely, and we find ourselves at a crossroads. Airlines compete in a fierce climate, which is only intensifying in the new global economy and open skies liberalization of international routes.
In the last decades, and especially since 9/11, airlines have tried numerous new measures to remain competitive: they have consolidated, entered into marketing agreements and formed partnerships with regional carriers. They have been bloodthirsty in bankruptcy courts, shredding our contracts and pensions. And absent negotiated contracts, they have stripped work rules and benefits. No carrier has exploited this mix of “all of the above” strategy than Delta Air Lines. Delta touts the fact that (excluding Northwest) fully 2/3rd’s of its flying is flown by regional partners. In addition, it has successfully seen its merger approved with Northwest Air Lines. Together, they own Northwest, Delta, Comair, Compass and Mesaba and have a stake in Midwest. Delta connection carriers include ASA, Chautauqua, Freedom, Pinnacle, Shuttle America and SkyWest. Codeshare and Skyteam partner flying with Continental, Alaska, Horizon, Hawaiian and American Eagle At every one of these carriers, except Delta and SkyWest, the flight attendants are members of a union.
So, as the airline executives learn how to complete in this global post 9/11 landscape, so must we. As the airlines increase their power in the form of consolidation beyond the “New Delta”, so must we increase our leverage as flight attendants. In order for us to enhance our power, we must take several proactive steps including:
Ø Organize! As the Delta and Northwest flight attendants vote for union representation they can imagine the incredible leverage they will hold as the largest flight union in the world. Delta executives promise to bring the flight attendants “up to industry standard” if they vote against the union. But when they vote Yes, they will be able to have a contract that leads the industry, not following what others negotiate. Since1978, when President Carter passed the Airline Deregulation Act, several major airlines have emerged in the airline industry. As the largest employers, working conditions at those airlines have set the benchmark for the industry. The fact that at the majority of those carriers flight attendants have been able to negotiate with their employers over the terms and conditions of their employment has been beneficial to all flight attendants. But today, a different scenario presents itself. The outcome of the union representation election at the newly merged Northwest Airlines and Delta Airlines will determine whether the industry standard for U.S. flight attendants is one in which we have a say in our employment, or not. Executives at the “new” Delta are intent on eliminating the Northwest flight attendants’ collective bargaining rights and, although they may not be advertising plans for outsourcing, the record is crystal clear
Ø Unite in our profession! We must come together as flight attendants, regardless of our carrier or our seniority. Whether we hail from a legacy carrier, an LCC, a regional airline or a non-unionized carrier, we must come together. When we do, we increase our power legislatively, passing laws such as FMLA for flight attendants and we raise the bar at the bargaining table for all of us. If we don’t unite, we will be stuck in the rut the carriers have found themselves – in a circular circumstance where profits (and our paychecks) are held back by increased competition, which leads to lower prices for consumers, thereby applying pressure on our all of our contracts, legacy, LCC and regional, where each business model poses that labor must sacrifice to remain competitive.
Ø Mobilize! Where we already have contracts in place, we need to reach out to our current members and highlight the benefits of union membership. A benefit of the deregulated environment is that there are more of us than ever before. We have a tremendous opportunity today as many flight attendants, who thought they would only stay “for a year or two” and “see the world”, are remaining. If this is a job worth keeping, than it should be a profession worth fighting for. With AFA-CWA’s continuing outreach and education programs that groom active union members to assume greater leadership in our union and in our communities, we are looking toward the next generation of leaders and young workers to guide us into the future.
Ø Legislate! All items important to our profession that we can help enact into legislation are costs lifted off our bargaining tables. Under the new Obama administration, and with a flight attendant friendly Congress, this translates into some significant and long-awaited advances.
We have been modestly success over time in bridging the gap between our different carriers, but our real opportunities lie ahead. 30 years ago this was a coveted, well sought after job. Today, we are fighting for our profession like never before
Surrounded by the economic uncertainty of our times, we can ill afford to relinquish our ability to defend our jobs. Nor can we afford to hand over the promise of a better future for the flight attendant profession. Welcoming a unified Northwest-Delta work group into the AFA-CWA family is of paramount importance to each and every flight attendant employed at a U.S. carrier.
As you read the articles in this issue of Flightlog, please stay focused on a vision of an empowered community of flight attendants in command of our future destiny. I hope that, as you do, each of you will make a personal commitment to reaching out to the Northwest and Delta flight attendants who will be voting in the near future in an election that will impact us all now and well into the future.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!
AFA-CWA Member Speaks Out on Presidential Election
Published 10/24/2008 7:21:00 AM
In the following letter, Phoenix-based Mesa Airlines Flight Attendant and Council 56 President Jamie Lynn McClay offers a non-partisan, flight attendant focus on the issues in the coming presidential election. Please take a moment to read her very personal and compelling letter.
Dear Fellow AFA-CWA Member,
As a life-long Republican and Mesa Airlines Council 56 President, I’m writing today to let you know why I will be voting for Senator Barack Obama on November 4th.
I grew up in a small, rural New Jersey county where the cost of living was among the highest in the nation. My parents were teachers--a blue collar family in a white collar town. I was taught that hard work can produce great results. But since the late 1990s, the hard working middle class has been losing ground. As companies cut costs under the guise of survival, we are losing our health care while the CEOs of those same companies take bigger and bigger bonuses.
Politicians have decimated Social Security and now want to privatize which, in today’s economy, would put the program in even greater peril. All of this while middle class wages have decreased and people are left working longer days or taking second and third jobs to support their families.
As flight attendants, we face all of these challenges and more. We are excluded from the Family and Medical Leave Act as it is currently written; Open Skies threatens our jobs; fatigue is pervasive; and Delta’s union-busting campaign threatens to eliminate the Northwest flight attendants’ contract which would have a detrimental impact on all flight attendants.
Senator John McCain is not the same man as he was in 2000. He has supported many of the policies of the last eight years...when you could find him on the Senate floor, that is. (He missed at least 400 votes this past year alone.) He says “workers are the fundamentals of our economy,” yet he doesn’t support unions or the Employee Free Choice Act which would enable those workers to rise out of poverty level wages and regain lost ground in the middle class. He plans to tax employer health care benefits which would take even more from our pockets; refuses to sign onto our Technical Corrections Act for flight crews with FMLA; calls funding to study flight attendant fatigue unwarranted pork barrel spending and “ridiculous”; has allowed cuts to aviation security funding of over $725 million; is open to allowing cabotage (point-to-point flying by foreign airlines within the U.S.; and favors lowering wages, benefits and jobs in this country.
Since college, this is my first job that I consider a career. I love what I do but I want a more secure industry—an industry where CEOs are held accountable and union representation is a respected right, where flight attendants don’t have to risk their jobs to take care of a loved one or to worry about getting sufficient rest on layovers and we are all protected by OSHA while performing our duties. I want to see the survival of our industry and to see the working middle class restored to what it used to be.
These are some of the reasons why I am voting for Senator Barack Obama—for my livelihood and so that the next generation may have a chance.
Jamie Lynn McClay
An Economic Recovery Plan for American Families: Fighting for American Jobs, Restoring Rights for American Workers
Published 10/10/2008 1:18:00 PM
One thing has become crystal clear in this ongoing financial crisis: America needs an economic recovery plan that supports American workers, not just Wall Street. So far, we've seen bailouts and handouts for investment banks and big firms, but nothing to create quality jobs, repair our communities and restore the standard of living for American families.
The CWA Executive Board today in a special call approved the following statement on a recovery plan for working Americans that contains three critical components: Job creation, Bargaining Rights and Health Care.
The economic crisis and financial chaos that surround us are part of an even bigger story. The United States has been borrowing enormous amounts of money while shipping quality jobs overseas and not producing enough domestically. Predictably, that’s resulted in a crushing decline in the standard of living for working families.
While even most conservatives now agree that government must act to end this economic crisis and support providing a handout to the biggest bankers on Wall Street, they continue to attack government involvement in health care reform and bargaining rights for workers.
In their view, the government rescue of Wall Street bankers and investment firms is just a necessary fix. Health care reform, on the other hand, is an unwanted intrusion by government.
We take a different view. We believe that the best way to restore the economy and restore the living standard of millions of American families is to focus on quality jobs and bargaining rights.
1. Create 21st Century Jobs and Infrastructure
To rebuild our economy, the U.S. needs wind farms across America and development of more alternative energy, high mileage cars produced in the U.S., and the build out of high speed Internet networks – the economic engine for the 21st century -- for rural and urban families and businesses. Necessary repairs to our highways and bridges and communities will require a massive infrastructure investment, with the materials and technology all produced by millions of new jobs. This is a real investment in our future, one that supports middle and working America. These kinds of quality jobs and real economic development will address our country’s financial crisis and should be ahead of any further financial bailouts or tax rebates to Wall Street. We’ve had enough bailouts for companies that outsource manufacturing and services, and get a tax break for doing so.
2. Pass the Employee Free Choice Act
We are through listening only to the organized voices of bankers, brokers and billionaires. Around the world, workers are increasingly bargaining their stake in the global economy. In the United States, however, bargaining coverage only exists for 12 percent of US workers; that’s one-third the typical rate for the large economies in the global North or South. In the US, our health care crisis, retirement insecurity and pay cuts have only made the economy worse, not more competitive. Consumption has been fueled by borrowing and trade deficits have cut our jobs and transferred wealth to Asia and the Middle East. Promoting bargaining rights for US workers must be part of any recovery plan. This is the best economic stimulus, one that will restore the middle class and our standard of living.
3. Health Care for All, funded by a broad based tax
If all Americans had world class health care, millions of jobs would be created for health care workers and our nation’s health care crisis could be addressed. If funded at least in part by taxes on imports, health care for all could help create millions of additional jobs. Almost every other global democracy funds health care with Value added Taxes on imports (and often other goods). We need to move most health care funding away from being a “tax” on our jobs, share the burden among all US employers and have the right to bargain supplemental health care as 12 million union members still do.
We need to step up and step out to build a coalition for a 21st Century New Deal. We will join together with labor and youth, civil rights and progressives, faith based groups and environmentalists, everyone who wants to sign on to a new economic recovery plan for America, one that benefits American workers, not just Wall Street. Let’s get started!
A Recovery Plan for All of Us
Jobs, not just rebates
Jobs, not just bailouts
Support for American Workers, not just Wall Street