June 10, 2013
Dear Fellow TWU Local 556 Members,
My name is Audrey Stone and I am your new Union President. While I did not run for President, I have accepted this position as prescribed by our TWU Constitution and Bylaws and I am honored to work for you.
While I am new in my position as President, I am not new to working for you in our Union. I have been a Flight Attendant at Southwest Airlines since 2004. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and my background is in counseling and the mental health field. Advocacy work and education is my passion, and this is what led me to get involved in our Union in 2006. I co-wrote a user-friendly guide to our Contract called “Contract Quickies.” I then served as a Shop Steward until 2008 when I became the Baltimore Domicile Executive Board Member. In addition to serving as the Baltimore Base Representative, I worked on various Contract education projects, helped to expand Union hours to weekends and holidays, served on the Grievance Team in Arbitration and Board of Adjustment preparations, and worked with Southwest Airlines both locally and globally to find solutions and develop procedures that mutually benefit our Flight Attendants and our Company.
As the new President of TWU Local 556, I understand that your biggest question is “What is happening with our Union?” Even during the recent challenges amongst the Executive Board, your Negotiating Team and your Grievance Team have continued to work hard to provide the representation and services that you deserve. I am committed to working with our Executive Board, our Negotiating Team, our Grievance Team, our Company, and most importantly, you, the Membership, to move us forward in a positive direction. Despite the changes within the Executive Board, your Officers are ready to put the past behind and move forward to do the will of the Membership. The Board will be appointing a 1st Vice President within 45 days per our Bylaws. We will be working together to regain your trust, rebuild our Treasury, and evaluate what we can do to continually improve the services provided to our Flight Attendants.
Our Negotiating Team began negotiations with Southwest Airlines today. Our Team has been hard at work over the last few months getting ready for the opening of our Contract. According to our Bylaws, our Local President is our Lead Negotiator. I will be working with our Team to ensure we maintain our industry leading Contract and are compensated fairly for the safety and Customer Service you provide to our passengers every day. We will provide you with regular updates so you know where we are in the process.
We are currently celebrating the “No Knives on Planes” reversal by the TSA. This achievement happened through the collective group of Flight Attendant Unions coming together, as well as TSA screeners, pilots, law enforcement agencies and passengers lobbying Congress. This victory is a testament to what can be achieved when we all work together.
My experience in Union work has shown me that we can only be successful when our Membership is informed, involved and United and that is my goal. I believe that good communication and accurate information are the keys to strengthening our Union, so you will hear from me and I need to hear from you. I care about our Flight Attendants and the future of our Union, and I will do my best to serve you, our Members. I am proud to be serving you as your President and your Lead Negotiator.