Types of Grievances
Individual Grievances are ﬁled by or on behalf of a single ﬂight attendant. Discipline grievances are always ﬁled as individual grievances. However, sometimes two or more individual grievances are processed together when the cases arise out of the same incident. For example, when three ﬂight attendants are disciplined for alleged misconduct at a layover hotel, their three separate grievances would normally be processed together.
Group Grievances are filed where a contract violation adversely affects two or more ﬂight attendants. For example, a group grievance would be appropriate if an entire crew failed to receive the rest required by the contract.
A Union Grievance (sometimes referred to as an “MEC grievance” or “policy grievance”) is ﬁled by an AFA ofﬁcial, usually the MEC President or grievance chairperson, on behalf of all ﬂight attendants or a speciﬁed category of ﬂight attendants. For example, a union grievance would be ﬁled to protest a change in contractually-mandated medical insurance beneﬁts or sick leave policies. A union grievance would be appropriate if the company violated provisions affecting all reserves, or all ﬂight attendants at a certain base.
Unlike individual and group grievances, union grievances may be ﬁled prior to any ﬂight attendant being harmed. Thus, if the company announces that it is instituting a new short term disability program with lower beneﬁts, a union grievance could be ﬁled even though no ﬂight attendant has applied for disability under the new plan.
Union grievances are also appropriate when the company violates rights and privileges guaranteed to the union as an organization, e.g., ﬂight pay loss, union bulletin boards, dues check-off.
There is not always a clear distinction between a union grievance and an individual or group grievance. In some cases, either type may be appropriate. For example, if a base manager requires ﬂight attendants in her base to bring in a doctor’s note for any absence during the Thanksgiving holiday, the union could ﬁle a group grievance on behalf of the employees who actually called in sick and were forced to comply with the improper directive. Or the union could ﬁle a union grievance on behalf of all ﬂight attendants in the base. The requested remedy would be the same in both cases.