June 21, 2015
Dear Fellow Flight Attendants,
I attended the annual AFA-CWA Employee Assistance (EAP) Chairperson meeting in Washington DC on June 9-12. I have served as the EAP Chairperson for close to 4 years and this has been my fourth meeting. Sixteen Chair people attended, including those who represent Hawaiian, United/Continental, Endeavor, Pinnacle, Piedmont, Alaska, Air Wisconsin, Horizon Air, Mesa, and Spirit Airlines. Our AFA International Director Heather Healey educated us on many of the changes that are coming regarding Mental Health, drugs and alcohol for our workgroup.
Items discussed at our MEC EAP meeting:
Human Trafficking is an issue constantly being addressed by AFA and all the airlines. AFA is working on mandating Human Trafficking training for all of our Flight Attendants.
In the coming year, there is a strong possibility airlines will be required to have saliva swab testing for opiates and other drugs, which could be performed in the jet way by a supervisor. If this becomes a procedure, EAP will send out more information on this type of drug testing. The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Health of Human Services have looked at hair testing, but the swab testing is in the works at this time.
A tough subject discussed was suicide. AFA EAP has helped over 21 individuals who have threatened or attempted suicide. Being Flight Attendants like you, we are here to offer peer support. We have been trained to know how to help you get in touch with professional assistance if needed.
Other issues addressed at the meeting were FMLA, social media polices, reserve issues, critical incidents including bomb threats and drug testing.
We also had briefings with the AFA Legislative Committee and met with our elected officials from each state at Capitol Hill to discuss the 121.467 Flight Attendant duty period limitations and rest requirements that will allow us 10 hours of rest; which is the same as our pilots. Fatigue is a big issue and we continue to fight this issue Internationally and in our local council. At this time, Horizon Air is the only airline that requires 10 hours rest for their Flight Attendants.
We also met with elected officials to discuss the Flight Attendant drug and alcohol program (FADAP); which serves over 85,000 commercial Flight Attendants, including corporate and military. FADAP has provided treatment for over 800 members and averages 80 calls a month. Every year, over 300 members attend this conference held in the fall and it includes 24/7 access for all Flight Attendants.
If you have any questions on drug/alcohol issues, mental health, professional standards conflicts or other issues please contact your Council 71 EAP/Professional Standards Committee. We all have different personalities and we may be concerned about the safety of an individual. If you feel unsafe to fly with another individual, please call us immediately or notify the Captain. Please do not disclose anything to management. Most situations that involve professional standards could be an EAP matter.
Our EAP Committee at Frontier was honored with an International award and I would like to commend our committee members who assisted over 400 of our own Frontier Flight Attendants in 2014: Lisa Gallegos, Chris Brehm, Kim Mayne-Sasser, Ellie Morrow and Shaun Hilliard. The Ebola crisis was our biggest crisis last year and thanks to the efforts of these committee members, AFA-International, our AFA local council Officers and all of our committee members, we were able to assist with helping each one of our Flight Attendants affected by this crisis.
Don't forget we have an opening for a new EAP Committee Member to join our team. We are strongly urging Flight Attendants from Chicago to apply for this position so that all of our bases will have representation. However, we will take applications from all bases. The link to the application is http://www.afacwa.org/prospective_eap_rep_interview_questionnaire. Once submitted it will be sent directly to AFA International EAP. All applications must be submitted by June 30.
This meeting is a perfect example how having a large International Union makes us stronger. We can come together and bring back important resources to our Flight Attendant group. Thank you for letting me serve you as your chairperson for EAP for the past several years.
Take care of each other & fly safe,
AFA MEC Frontier EAP/Pro Standards Committee Chair