Hafa Adai Flyers,
What a difference a year makes! When Kathleen and I attended our first Board of Directors (BOD) we were new to AFA. We didn’t know much about the people and the politics of the 20 airlines represented, and we were suspicious of the United contingent, having just been through that divisive representational election…
This year I attended the 40th Annual BOD by myself as your other officers were committed to remaining on island to deal with serious grievance issues and family matters. But, I was not alone as I sat with my Guam flag proudly displayed! I was very comfortable with all the players, having come to understand the common, or specialized, problems we are all facing – and I have developed a very deep respect for our colleagues at S-UAL.
The BOD is the highest governing body of our union. We use this forum to become more familiar with changes across the industry while listening to reports from our International Officers and knowledgeable speakers involved in commercial aviation and union representation. This is also the forum in which we propose, and vote on, changes to our Constitution and By Laws.
United States Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, flanked by two secret service agents, talked to us about slavery. Generally considered a crime of the past, we learned that as many as 27 million people are currently trafficked into forced labor and prostitution. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is mobilizing to stop this inhumane practice. They are training all 55,000 employees and more than 20,000 contractors on how to recognize – and report – suspicions. The Obama Administration is calling on the transportation industry to join the fight. For more information go to: www.dot/stophumantrafficking.
National Mediation Board member, Linda Puchala, also addressed us. Ms. Puchala is a past International President of AFA, and federal Mediator for more than ten years. Hired as a Republic flight attendant in 1969, she took us back through some history. At the time she (and I) were hired, the average longevity for “stewardesses” was 24 months. There were no retirement plans back then. We were “out the door at 34,” when advanced age disqualified us from flying. Many lost their jobs when they married or gained weight. How the times have changed!
Hyatt Hurts Action. As often seems to happen when large numbers of labor leaders gather – we participated in a picket line. It was a cold and cloudy 28 degrees as more than 100 of us walked back and forth, attempting to draw media and public attention to the sad plight of workers at most Hyatt Hotels. These employees, often immigrant women, suffer from low pay, high injury rates, and loss of work through the outsourcing of housekeeping to sub-contractors and part time workers. We passed a resolution to boycott these hotels until they provide a contract to their workers.
About 25 proposed initiatives and amendments to our Constitution and ByLaws were discussed and debated. We deveoloped a Vision and Mission Statement and agreed to spend money creating a curriculum for Advanced Leadership Training. A committee will be established to work on forming a training department. We spent a lot of time trying to balance the budget, resolving to be fiscally responsible, while allowing local councils to retain a little more of their unused funds from year to year. We decided to keep the existing process for the election of International and Master Executive offices, and we are going to design a gold color pin for AFA members who retire.
The BOD concluded on hopeful notes as the awaited merger of American and US Air finally was announced. At just about the same time, the IAM reached a Tentative Agreements for 32,500 employees in Ramp/Fleet Service, Public Contact/Reservations and Stock Clerk/Stores classifications at the uniting, United.
And then there was just us!
We will be meeting with the Company to continue Negotiations on Monday.
Stay tuned for more news!
Until then, fly safely and enjoy your jobs!