Love not War

The flight attendant unions of American Airlines have decided to make love, not war, again.  There is a deal in place for the APFA (Association of Professional Flight Attendants) to represent the flight attendants of the merged airlines of US Airways and American Airlines.  The Association of Flight Attendants (US Airways) is leading its members to the APFA to get a new “industry leading” contract in place.

The AFA (US) gets to have some voice in their destiny in the process.

It’s great that they want to move forward and I have no doubt that working in unity would yield a better outcome than otherwise expected.

But I’m not sure these groups are really going to get along well.  It remains to be seen and I would love to hear from a US Airways flight attendant about their views on working together with the APFA and Laura Glading.

On the one hand, the APFA does very well in marshaling their membership to speak with one voice.  But they do tend to keep talking about 20 years ago and restoring things to the way they once were.

If I were in either union, I would want a union leadership that got me a good deal for today’s conditions in airlines.  And that doesn’t mean a bad deal or a concessionary deal.  It means a deal structured around how the airline industry is working today.  If I were a leader, I would make these my goals:

  1. Workplace flexibility:  The ability to work my job, earn my salary at a living wage and still be able to cope with a modern set of challenges in my family.  How about flight scheduling that is a win-win for both the airline (in terms of productivity) and the flight attendant.
  2. A salary rate based the hours I work rather than the size of aircraft I fly or the distance I fly.   Re-think how salaries should be paid so that the actual effort expended is in sync with the pay earned.
  3. The ability to actually take charge and deliver great customer service to my passengers without fear of retribution for daring to use my mind.
  4. Managers who empower rather than punish.  This is very, very important.  Give the flight attendants a chance to show what they can bring to the company and its financial performance.  They might possibly be the most important part to a turnaround.
  5. A retirement plan based on a modern model (401K) designed to minimize risk to my retirement but also reward my service time.  AA has some of the best financial managers in the world, ask them to go to work at finding a way for my union to experience real growth in my retirement.

And it’s time to realize for everyone, management, all unions and all other employees are all One Team.

Live by each others efforts and die by each other efforts.  Anyone who wants to go to “us vs them” should be sidelined.  This isn’t about just making the airline successful someday.  This is about making the airline successful as fast as possible and sharing the rewards of that success among all the members of the company.  The faster a real, consistent profit is earned, the faster everyone can start sharing in that.

I would want to get to that point quickly because earning more money in 2015 is a whole lot better than earning more money in 2018.

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2 Responses to “Love not War”

  1. okay, you wanted to hear from a US f/a, here ya go. for MONTHS laura glading and her ‘board of directors’ have been stalling on talks with afa about combining forces into one flight attendant union and stalling when it came to picking the best of both agreements. in fact, her initial response to the round table talks in the spring was,”why are we even here?” really? you don’t know? what a crock. when apfa and US management signed the conditional labor agreement prior to merger announcement, they did so BEHIND afa’s back. they did not ONCE include afa in any talks pre-merger. and that’s a rotten way to get started. while our ‘red book’ (the ratified 2013 agreement) is by no means perfect, we have some SUPERIOR language in it. industry leading labor protection and expanded scope/successorship/merger. our vacation accrual language is far superior to apfa’s…we, for example, can take multiple days throughout the year, while AA calls for lump sum days. our medical/dental language runs rings around apfa’s. better flexibility for scheduling/adding/dropping/augmentation etc…. WE, have a say as to who will be the vendor for the pref bid system, aa, does not. union meetings with afa are closed to management. apfa…well, no. management sits in and ms. glading is the ‘special guest’. so management is ALWAYS listening in. well, i’m not so sure i want that. the ‘deal’ that was signed recently is a HUGE bitter pill for us loyal afa members to swallow. laura was PROMISED by doug and gang, that he would personally ‘deliver 8,000 us airways f/a’s to apfa’s ranks’. well you know what? i don’t like it. not one damn bit. apfa has neither the ability or the infrastructure to administer an agreement covering nearly 25,000 f/a’s at the new american. afa has their own legal/membership/negotiations/eap/communications depts. the list goes on and on. but no. ms. glading had to have her way. she stonewalled and bullied her membership into a frenzy, thinking that afa was trying to raid her union. that was and is not the case. it never was. it was about combining forces for the best. and she was scared to death of ticking off doug and company, because, you guessed it, hey personally know each other. good friends they are. in fact, ms. glading went to scott kirby’s wedding a few weeks ago. talk about being in bed with the company. she held f/a seniority and bargaining language hostage. she put a gun to afa’s head and said that this is it or NOTHING. what a crock. i HATE apfa for the simple fact of what they did to every f/a they absorbed in previous mergers…. RIGHT TO THE BOTTOM OF THE LIST. no ifs ands or buts. apfa never puts an agreement out for membership vote and they always want to rely on binding arbitration. that never really works in the employees favor. nope. ms. glading is a bully, plain and simple. the only saving grace is that there are many many vocal afa members in the ranks. this will be interesting how it plays out. for me, apfa will NEVER speak for me.

  2. one additional note. IN HOUSE UNIONS never really work. not in this case anyway. that’s why i think ms. glading missed a great opportunity by negating a true merger of apfa and afa into one strong union. both financially and structurally. what a terrible waste of an opportunity. well ms. glading, how is that going to work? i’m not impressed thus far.

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