establish a record of integrity, maintain it and never waver,
it will carry you through good times and bad and keep the respect
of your members as well as management."
A local council is any group of 100 or more flight attendants assigned to a domicile. Small domiciles of fewer than 100 may be grouped together to comprise one council. The Local Executive Council is the set of officers elected by the membership of that council.
The local executive council should meet regularly to set goals and make plans to best represent the local council. It is important to remember that the membership cares mostly about what the union is doing to improve their pay and working conditions.
The Constitution outlines the specific duties of both the President and the Secretary, but the V.P.’s duties are designated by the President. In a well-run LEC, it is clear which tasks belong to the Vice President. Council Reps should also be given specific jobs so that they feel they serve an integral part in the LEC.
At each meeting, there should be a briefing on the status of grievances filed by the LEC. The education of the local membership is a responsibility of the LEC. Officers should be aware of what the membership might not know or understand and what should be done about it. The policy set and adopted by the AFA Board of Directors (BOD) should be a key part of member education.
At each meeting, goals set at prior meetings should be reviewed. Each meeting should involve asking and answering the questions “what are we doing to improve our members’ pay and working conditions?” and “how are we communicating to them our work on this?”
In a single council airline, the LEC and the MEC are the same. AFA-CWA carriers of more than one council have to learn a different level of functioning and authority. When a carrier has two or more councils, LEC Presidents form the MEC and elect an MEC President, Vice President and Secretary Treasurer. The voting members are the LEC Presidents and they, plus the MEC Officers, comprise the MEC.
In this larger body, it is important to know how to make productive contributions and help your MEC run smoothly. If LEC officers discover a problem that can only be addressed at the MEC level, they should write an agenda item for the next meeting, providing a statement of question, background information, and a proposed resolution. If the topic is controversial or complicated, the LEC President might want to contact the other MEC members prior to the meeting to educate them and answer questions prior to the meeting.
When a multi-council MEC comes together, officers are well advised to put on their ‘MEC hat’, shifting their focus from the needs and concerns of local members’ to the best interests of the carrier as a whole. The agenda should be driven by the concerns of all flight attendants at the airline, and their best interests should motivate everyone to handle any disagreement with maturity and professionalism. One of the most important decisions the members of a multi-council MEC will make is electing the MEC Officers. Carefully reading the job description of the MEC President will reinforce the importance of electing a person with experience, knowledge of the way the union works and qualities necessary to be an exception leader.
MECs run most efficiently when their meetings are run using parliamentary rules of order and do business through agenda items and committees. It is important for each voting member of the MEC to listen carefully as business is introduced and debate ensues. Asking the right questions, knowing when to make a motion, responding to questions from the chair, deciding how to vote on an issue, thinking about whom to nominate and vote for when committee chair positions are vacant, are all requirements of the well run MEC.
MECs frequently devise a policy manual which augments the AFA-CWA Constitution & Bylaws, but does not conflict with it. For example, the Constitution & Bylaws requires that the MEC meet twice a year. Many MECs decide to meet more frequently and say so in their policy. As issues arise, the policy manual can be revised to address those new situations.