Your local within the Transport Workers Union is taking shape.
While contract negotiations continue, TWU’s JetBlue team has trained nearly 30 IFCs in a comprehensive grievance and advocacy program.
Carmen Gonzalez-Gannon, TWU’s Inflight Crews Coordinator, also has formed nine committees, comprised of IFCs, to focus on specific areas of responsibility and concern, including: Education and Training; Hotel Accommodations; Health and Safety; and Grievances.
“This is an important transition phase and we are very active,” said Gonzalez-Gannon, who was appointed to the temporary post by Transport Workers Union of America International President John Samuelsen. “We are building a foundation and starting to serve the members. We are moving forward towards the day when there is a democratically elected leadership, a local administration and a comprehensive contract with management.”
One of the most active groups so far is the Education and Training Committee. The committee and staff from TWU headquarters in Washington, D.C. conducted two 4-day training sessions for union activists in October and March.
The topics included: the internal structure of a union; running an effective meeting; utilizing Roberts Rules of Order; investigating, filing, and arguing a grievance with management; and resolving certain conflicts internally – instead of running to management.
“Right now we have a culture where some people run to team leaders and upper management,” Education and Training Chairwoman Kelly Floyd said. “But when management gets involved, it turns into an investigation that can result in disciplinary action and people losing their jobs. If we can create a method of handling those disputes, having conversations and finding resolutions, we can save people’s employment.”
The TWU JetBlue team expects to offer a compressed training program at individual bases later this year. Stay tuned for information in future newsletters and on our website: http://b6.twuatd.org.
The Hotel Committee has begun reviewing proposed hotel accommodations along with the pilots and management representatives. IFCs should communicate concerns via the website and one-on-one conversations with committee members. We will be listing committee members’ contact information on the website.
TWU initially asked management to accept an interim grievance agreement. Such an agreement would set forth a clear set of procedures and protocols for workers to object and contest management actions and to defend themselves against unwarranted or excessive disciplinary action. An interim agreement would allow members to bring a trained union representative when summoned to a meeting with bosses that could lead to disciplinary action.
“They don’t want anyone in there to advocate for crew members, but once it’s in writing and in the final contract they will have no choice,” Tracy Erazo, Grievance Committee chairwoman, said. “My message to the crewmembers is to hang in there. Keep your faith and trust with us. Your negotiations team is moving full steam ahead to get a fair contract negotiated on your behalf, which will include due process and job security through an agreed-upon grievance procedure. We will continue to do the best we can in advising members while not having a procedure in place and will continue to fight against injustices when we ratify the contract or agree to an interim procedure.”
The other committees formed are: Communications; New Member Orientation; Legislative; Organizing; and Professional Standards.