Friday, August 6, 2021
DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE A GRIEVANCE?
DISPUTE RESOLUTION AND THE GRIEVANCE PROCESS
When your contract is violated, as we’ve seen lately with all the illegal rescheduling, or when you disagree with a bad letter in your file or a missed trip you received, Section 30: The Dispute Resolution Process exists to help you right that wrong and be heard.
There are three types of disputes—individual, Group, and Base.
INDIVIDUAL DISPUTE – a dispute between a Flight Attendant and the Company involving any company action affecting her/him, except discharge.
GROUP DISPUTE – a dispute by any named Flight Attendants protesting any action of the Company which affects those specifically named Flight Attendants at the same base and in the same manner. e.g., scheduling or pay matter affecting all Flight Attendants on a specific leg of a particular day.
BASE DISPUTE – a dispute is protesting any company’s action affecting Flight Attendants at the base as a group.
Individual and Group disputes typically are filed by your APFA representative, while Base disputes usually are filed by the Base President or their designee.
The Importance of Timelines
You have 10 business days from the Dispute date with the Company to file a Notice of Dispute. The Notice of Dispute is the beginning of the process for the Dispute and MUST follow the 10 business day filing timeline. The Company does not have to entertain any dispute if it is outside of the timeline.
- You receive a Missed Trip (TM) that you believe is inaccurate.
- You approach your Flight Service Manager, explain your position, and ask them to remove the TM off your record.
- Your Flight Service Manager responds two days later and tells you that they find the TM valid and will not be removing it.
- From the date your FSM tells you they will not be removing the TM, you have 10 business days to file your Dispute. You would then contact your local APFA representative, explain the situation and advise them you would like to file a Notice of Dispute.
- Your representative research’s your situation, and two days later, they file the Notice of Dispute on your behalf.
- From the point you have received a final decision from the Company to the time your representative files the Dispute, 4 days have passed. Well within the 10-day time limit.
Your APFA representative will always try to negotiate on your behalf, even for issues that fall outside the 10 business day time limit. Still, you need to be aware that the Company is under no obligation to hear disputes outside the timeline. Hopefully, now you understand why it is so important to adhere to the 10 business day timeline for filing a dispute.
MY DISPUTE HAS BEEN FILED; WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Next is a Pre-Dispute Resolution Conference or Pre-DRC. This meeting does not require the Flight Attendants presence and can be scheduled as soon as the Notice of Dispute has been filed. The Pre-DRC conference is an attempt to resolve your issue directly with the FSM. It is informal, off-the-record discussion between the FSM and your APFA representative. If both parties can reach a resolution, the Notice of Dispute shall be considered resolved, and no further action will be necessary.
Should a resolution at the Pre-DRC conference NOT be reached, the Dispute moves onto the Dispute Resolution Conference. The DRC attempts to reach a non-precedent setting resolution to the issue that focuses on the Flight Attendant and not the company process. In some cases, a FA may not need to be present; however, we recommend that when filing a grievance, you speak to your APFA representative to determine if you should be in attendance or not. And finally, the Dispute Resolution Conference must be scheduled within 30 days.
A Facilitator will hear your side of the story as well as consider the Company’s side. Their role is to mediate discussion and to help the parties reach an agreement. If no agreement can be made, the Facilitator will recommend the parties that the FA may accept or reject. The Company, however MUST accept whatever the Facilitator decides.
AGREEMENT REACHED will be recorded on the Notice of Dispute Form, and the Dispute will be considered resolved.
NO AGREEMENT REACHED – the Facilitator shall issue a written, non-binding recommendation. The FA has the choice to accept the recommendation or reject the recommendation.
If the Flight Attendant accepts the recommendation, it is recorded on the Notice of Dispute and the matter is considered resolved. If the Flight Attendant rejects the recommendation, it then proceeds to the System Board of Adjustments to be evaluated and further action may be taken.
With all the contractual violations happening recently, this is your best tool to right the wrong and have your voice heard. There are many steps your APFA reps will take in the process. I hope this has been informative about Section 30 and the Dispute Resolution Process and as always, if you have any questions on the subject, feel free to contact me or any of your base leadership.
APFA LGA Base Council/Grievance Representative
Christian M. Santana
APFA LGA Base President
APFA LGA Base Vice President
Proud to Represent New York-LGA
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