February 24, 2012
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
- Tentative Agreement Reached at PSA
- Attack on Workers’ Rights in FAA Reauthorization Bill
- FAA Safety and Health Provisions in FAA Reauthorization Bill
- AFA Takes Action on Uniform Safety at Alaska
- TWU Transport Workers Union Joins CWA in New Partnership
- Voting on Tentative Agreements at United and US Airways
Tentative Agreement Reached at PSA
In September PSA Flight Attendants demonstrated their commitment to achieving a contract that recognizes their contributions to PSA and the US Airways network. They mobilized and turned out a 98.3% vote to authorize a strike should management fail to negotiate an agreement. The solidarity displayed through the vote and the consistent engagement of members to support the negotiations produced results and yesterday we were able to announce a Tentative Agreement.
Details of the agreement will be announced to PSA AFA members first and dates for the membership ratification vote will be announced soon.
Read the AFA Media Release >
Attack on Workers’ Rights in FAA Reauthorization Bill
In only a few days before Congress voted on the bill and without discussion in conference committee, nor warning, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced a deal to include changes to the Railway Labor Act as part of the FAA Reauthorization bill.
The changes will not immediately impact our current contracts, nor our union representation. The changes will make it difficult for aviation and rail workers to form or gain union representation in the future and the changes threaten current contracts and representation through mergers. There is also a provision for agency review that could further tax the agency’s resources and hamper the necessary attention on our current bargaining.
Senate voting on the FAA reauthorization bill began at virtually the same time as the OccuFLY event. AFA members were not only on the picket line – in extraordinary numbers we took action together to oppose a sneak attack on our collective bargaining rights. In only a few days your calls garnered support from 157 Democrats in the House and 15 Democratic Senators to stand against destruction of good jobs. A handful of Republicans also voted against the bill, but their reasons included concern that it didn’t go far enough to destroy workers’ rights to join a union and a belief that there should be no government funding to support the regulation of U.S. aviation.
It is critical that we recognize the consequences of elections and work together in this election year to promote elected officials who will support our issues as Flight Attendants. And there is more you can do to build awareness of these issues in our communities. For example, write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, just like this AFA member in New Hampshire:
Vicious Attack on Workers’ Rights >
Finally, make sure you can vote in the elections this year. Now more than ever corporations will be spending billions to attempt to buy their way on Capitol Hill and in the White House. As the 1% controls more wealth than the bottom 50% of our country the money can be overwhelming, but we can overcome it if we vote. Make sure you are registered and help our representatives understand that Flight Attendants vote and our voices will be heard! Read More>>
Safety and Health Provisions in FAA Reauthorization Bill
With key provisions that advance our profession, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 was signed into law late last week. The law is tainted by an anti-labor provision, which had no place in a bill designed to provide funding for aviation safety and critical aviation improvement projects. It is important that we review the full bill and what provisions were included based on years of advocacy through our union.
AFA’s work on this bill, prior to the sneak attack on our bargaining rights, resulted in some legislative improvements for safety and health such as:
• an air quality study,
• a smoking prohibition that includes charter flights,
• pesticide application notification,
• English proficiency requirements,
• a HIMS (drug and alcohol awareness and rehabilitation program) for cabin crew, and
• OSHA standards for Flight Attendants.
Section 829 of the law directs the FAA to consult with OSHA, and report to Congress within six months, on the steps needed to provide occupational safety and health regulatory protections for aircraft crewmembers. At the forefront of the fight for these protections, AFA will continue to hold both agencies accountable to ensure that effective and enforceable protections for Flight Attendant occupational safety and health are regulated by the federal government.
AFA Takes Action on Uniform Safety at Alaska
In early 2011, Alaska Airlines rolled out a new Flight Attendant uniform manufactured by a company called Twin Hill. Since then, members have been reporting symptoms – rashes, hives, blisters, inflamed skin, irritated eyes, fatigue, shortness of breath, and even thyroid and immune issues. In some cases, it was immediately obvious that the uniforms were to blame; in others, it took longer to identify the cause--Alaska Flight Attendants didn’t expect to be provided with uniforms that would make them sick. But that’s exactly what happened: Some of the uniform fabric had been exposed to an industrial chemical called tributyl phosphate (TBP). Instead of ordering Twin Hill to recall the uniforms, Alaska management recommended dry cleaning, which sometimes helped and sometimes worsened the problem, and offered replacement uniforms made by the very same company. This was not (and is not) an acceptable solution. AFA has symptom reports from 274 AFA members to demonstrate the extent and nature of the problem, and the reports continue.
AFA filed a complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and, although the agency failed to investigate, the complaint has helped raise awareness with other agencies and educate the doctors treating the affected Flight Attendants. AFA officially notified Twin Hill that their product must be recalled, and the AFA Board of Directors unanimously adopted a resolution in support of Alaska AFA members’ quest for a safe uniform.
This week, per AFA’s request, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) agreed to investigate the health impact of the contaminated uniforms. Many of our members saved fabric samples from the problem uniforms for chemical analysis which should help to pressure the airline to get people out of these uniforms and into something safe. The bottom line: AFA members should not have to compromise their health to go to work. As Alaska AFA MEC President Jeff Peterson recently stated in the February 11 AFA-Alaska E-blast, AFA will not rest until this issue has been properly resolved.
Transport Workers Union Joins CWA in New Partnership
We are excited to announce the Transport Workers Union will work closely with us through a new affiliation with the Communications Workers of America. The two unions represent more than 120,000 airline workers, including AFA members, and we are joining forces to support bargaining and organizing at American Airlines and campaigns at other airlines.
TWU International President James C. Little said the two unions share “common values and principles that should intuitively benefit our members through working together.” CWA President Larry Cohen said partnerships like this “are the only way we will make progress for workers.”
Little attended our AFA Board of Directors meeting in Los Angeles and spoke passionately about the importance of working together.
Voting on Tentative Agreements at United and US Airways
Voting on the United Tentative Agreement will conclude Tuesday, February 28th and voting for the US Airways Tentative Agreement will open next Friday, March 2nd.
Roadshows conducted by the United Negotiating Committee concluded recently after 14 stops at each United Local Council around the world. Details about the Tentative Agreement may be viewed on the United MEC website along with a video summary including the economic impact.
United Tentative Agreement >
The US Airways Joint Negotiating Committee Roadshow is on-going:
US Airways JNC Roadshow Schedule >
If ratified, the Contract would unite the 6,700 Flight Attendants of both pre-merger America West and US Airways.
We encourage all members to exercise your democratic right to vote.
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