Hafa Adai Flyers
I am HOME – at last!
But, before I get caught up in catching up with everything I have missed on-island in the last month – before I head for the beach – let me fill you in on the last three weeks.
May 4th, your Joint Negotiations Committee returned to Rutgers University in New Jersey. This was where we first met last August, as we began our work. Sue Schurman, the professor who helped launch us on this journey, was there to help refresh our intentions and evaluate how we are coming together and working as a team. We spent the week preparing proposals on several of the more difficult issues facing us. Sue recognized dramatic improvement and was generally pleased with our progress; she offered a few suggestions about moving forward.
So we did – to another week of direct negotiations with the Company in Chicago. Unfortunately the week of serious contract talks had barely begun when we received word of the glossy four-page brochure that was suddenly stuffed in mailboxes system wide. We were stunned that the Company had taken so much time, expertise – and money – to produce this “glo$$y.” We felt this was was energy, effort – and money – that could have been better spent doing the work of negotiating…
At the Table, everyone totally ignored the arrival of this “glossy”: no one even mentioned it. Still, it was a constant distraction as news and complaints streamed in from around the system. Many Flight Attendants expressed anger, outraged by this attack. Others simply tossed it away recognizing that it was a management tactic to breed distrust, raise suspicions, and divide the group.
Instead of confronting the controversy of the “glossy,” your JNC focused on the job of writing, and fighting for, the best flight attendant contract in history. We passed a good number of proposals back and forth that week. Some issues were crossed the Table for the seventh and eighth times. Others were newly initiated, explained, and processed. All were complicated. There are now 25 topics in play, each one carefully crafted to bring flight attendants the things they told the Committee that they wanted to see in the new contract.
After that intense week at the Table, most of the JNC returned to AFA offices in Chicago for another arduous week of working on proposals and counter proposals. We sincerely hope that you can comprehend the magnitude of what your JNC is doing as we strive to combine two very different work forces. Our challenge is to find a fair way to do the most good for the most people. Clearly, not every one of the 26,000 for whom we are bargaining, is going to be pleased with everything we do. But we are – each one of us – totally dedicated to doing the job – and doing it right.
If you find yourself confronted by Management asking what you want – PLEASE, don’t play their game. Just tell them: “Talk to MY negotiations team! They have studied the issues and know what I want, need, and deserve.”
Friends, from what I have learned, and seen around the system – NO ONE is happy with this merger. No one, that is, except the guys with “corner offices in some sky scraper.” Those guys will grab their multi-millions and fade away. Personally, I’ve seen more than 20 CEOs come and go. Some did well by us, instilling pride and satisfaction as we built meaningful careers. Others – not so much!
These are challenging times – but they are not the worst of times. They will pass, and we will still be here. Love your job, respect your peers, do your best and fly safely!
MEC President, Continental Micronesia
(671) 487-7452 when on Guam
(808) 436-7932 when Stateside