Last weekend, our co-workers discovered how much they are valued by management and by our union. When operations broke down due to winter storm Jonas, countless flight crews found themselves an afterthought, abandoned by the company and hearing very little, aside from election rhetoric from APFA. Stranded crews were offered more assistance from Facebook followers. There seemed to be no published plan of action in advance of this predicted storm for our crews, neither from management nor from our union.
This week’s unsigned Special Hotline from APFA shows what many who were flying discovered – that our union did little to prepare for the impact of the storm. In fact, the hotline is a reaction to the overwhelmingly negative feedback from crews across the system.
This is what we deserve to know.
● What steps did APFA take to prepare the union and the membership for winter storm Jonas?
● Did the National Scheduling committee meet and discuss with management the expectation of our contracts being fully enforced?
● Did our leadership meet with key APFA department chairs in order to organize communication and direction for our flight attendants?
● What should our flight attendants do in the event they are faced with no hotel accommodations or transportation to them?
● What should our crews do in the event they are unable to reach crew scheduling?
● Were schedulers fully prepared for this event?
● Were our crews guaranteed their legal rest, or were they expected to fend for themselves and continue their schedules out of guilt for the operation, or fear of the loss of money and schedule protections?
At the very least, APFA should have created a union command center, be it after hours at union headquarters or volunteer reps at remote home locations, working around the clock to communicate with stranded crews.
At the end of the day, the realization is clear – our co-workers really don’t care about the politics of the union. What our flight attendants expect is our union to be present. They expect and deserve up-to-date communication and direction as events unfold, in real time, with information on how to proceed.
Moving forward, APFA must put a plan of action in place for the National Officers, Department Coordinators, and Communications. Resources for our base presidents. Support for Base Presidents who worked tirelessly throughout the storm to respond to hundreds of calls and pleas for help, must also be provided. This was not the first storm we’ve endured and it won’t be the last. We must be a 24/7 representative for our members, 365 days a year, just as our jobs require.
We don’t need a strongly worded press release or the veiled threat of Presidential grievances. An event manual needs to be developed as an outline for APFA to follow when the next projected weather event occurs. Real pay and sequence protections must be a part of any contract going forward. If we cannot rely on the company to protect our interest, we must be able to rely on APFA.