Of all the duties carried out by the Flight Attendant Executive Council (FAEC), one of the most important is providing Union Representation to Flight Attendants in situations that may lead to or have led to the Company disciplining the member. The right to Union Representation in any meeting with the Company involving disciplinary action, or the possibility of disciplinary action, is set forth Section 18.3 of our contract:
18.3 Right to Union Representation
Any Flight Attendant required to be present at a Company hearing or meeting involving disciplinary action, or the possibility of disciplinary action, shall be entitled to Union representation at such hearing or meeting if the Flight Attendant so elects. In order to effectuate the purposes of this paragraph, the Company shall promptly inform a Flight Attendant of the allegations or incident leading to the hearing or meeting. A drug or alcohol test required by the FAA or this Agreement shall not be considered a hearing or meeting for purposes of this paragraph.
The FAEC cannot stress how important it is for Flight Attendants to demand this Union Representation because FAEC members can provide important advice to members about the claims the Company may be making. Moreover, FAEC members are often able to head off any discipline from being imposed in the first place. In other cases, where the Company is intent on issuing discipline, including those situations where it has indicated an intent to terminate the Flight Attendant, the FAEC can work with the member and the Company to reach a resolution that works for all sides. In some cases this may be allowing a Flight Attendant to resign in lieu of termination if the Flight Attendant is interested in this course of action (this has occurred twice this year in cases involving positive random alcohol tests, and once involving evidence of a long and repeated history of expense report falsification). Before such important decisions are made by a member, however, the FAEC works with the member to determine exactly what occurred and what the best course of action for the member’s long-term benefit may be.
In situations that are unable to be resolved before the issuance of discipline, the FAEC works with the member to ensure that a timely grievance is filed. The Union and Company will then meet to try and resolve the grievance if possible. If no resolution is reached, the grievance is first elevated to a System Board hearing with 2 Union and 2 Company System Board members who try and resolve the case. If the parties remain deadlocked at this stage, a neutral arbitrator is chosen and the dispute is submitted to final and binding arbitration in which the Company must prove it had “just cause” to discipline the Flight Attendant. Currently, the Union has one arbitration scheduled on October 5, 2017 for the termination of a flight attendant, and we are confident that the arbitrator will agree with the Union that there was no “just cause” for his termination.
We understand that the vast majority of members will never have the need to exercise their right to Union Representation, but we also want all Flight Attendants to know the FAEC and Local 284 are there if the need should arise. As always, you may contact the FAEC at FAEC@netjetsflightattendants.com or at the phone numbers below with any questions or concerns.
Flight Attendant Executive Council
Darcey Kniseley, Co-Chair
Mark Vandak, IBT Local 284 President and FAEC Co-Chair