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OBSM Cabin Crew Assessment Program

On January 23, 2019, the Employer provided your Union with a brief overview of the newly introduced OBSM program for flight attendants at Mainline. On February 2nd, following a review of what was presented, the Union sent the Employer a follow up letter comprised of a number of questions. The following bulletin is drawn directly from the Employer’s response to those questions.
It is important to note that in no way does this bulletin indicate support for, or endorsement of, the OBSM program. This bulletin is being issued without prejudice and does not prevent the Union from grieving any aspects of the program.
We want to hear from you. Please contact your Local with any questions or concerns you may have as the program unfolds. We will update you with additional information as it comes available.
Finally, you are reminded of your right to Union Representation. This is a fundamental and substantive right; one that Arbitrator Kaplan reaffirmed in his recent OBSM Policy Award, click HERE to view this Award. Please contact your Local — We are here for you.
Regarding not knowing which Flight Attendants will be assessed prior to the flight:
Q: Service Directors being assessed knew before each flight. Why won’t the Flight Attendants being assessed know prior to their assessment that they have been chosen to be assessed on their flights?
A: The process was designed so that every Cabin Crew member should be advised 48 hours prior to a flight via globe message that an OBSM will be on board conducting assessments. For any crew who are assigned to the flight after the Globe message has gone out, the anticipated process is that they should receive a paper copy of that message once they arrive to the flight, so that they have the same information regarding assessments that the original operating crew was provided.
Q: How will the OBSM’s choose which Flight Attendants will be assessed? What criteria will they be using to make the selection?
A: The OBSM will only be determining who they are assessing once the final operating crew is confirmed to be present, taking into account many things such as the crew compliment etc. Although all Cabin Crew should be prepared to be assessed, if it is not possible to assess all crew members, the OBSM will determine how many can reasonably be assessed during the flight.
Regarding the Achieved Expectations grade of 90% or higher:
Q: Again, if a subpoint is not applicable, this can affect their final grade which essentially would be 100% if the not-applicable subpoint is not counted. This is not clear and the 90% referring to only “achieving expectations” seems unreasonable since 90% would normally reflect something higher than “achieving standard”. Can we get more information on the logic of this grading?
A: When the not applicable (N/A) option is used, it has no bearing on the mark, and is truly not applicable. This means that Flight Attendants will be able to attain an Achieved Expectations and Exceeds Expectations rating even though the N/A option was used.
Regarding touch point #1: Follow my Service Director’s Instructions and Leadership: 30%
Q: What if the Service Director changes positions and duties?
A: Flight Attendants must follow the position and duty assigned by the Service Director, even if that changes.
Q: What is the Flight Attendant supposed to do and how should this be addressed on a flight?
A: They are to follow the SD’s leadership as all FA’s can perform all cabin duty positions. If they felt they were treated unfairly or have any other concern with the SD’s decisions, then they could address the issue with their local base management who will be able to assist in finding a resolution.
Q: Do they follow the Service Director direction or SOP? These sub-points conflict because of this possibility and how will a Flight Attendant be marked if this is the case since Air Canada states that “All sub-points must be met to be successful in each of the six categories”?
A: Safety is our top priority. If the Service Director’s direction breaches an SOP that relates to safety, the expectation is for the Flight Attendant to discuss the issue immediately with the SD, and continue to follow our policies / procedures in the FAM. Should the SD insist, then the Captain should be advised (CRM training should be applied), reporting protocol etc. Again, Safety is our top priority.
If it’s a question of service SOPs, then Flight Attendants are to follow the Service Director’s instructions and the contradiction of the service SOP can be addressed with base management. For clarity, a flight attendant will not get rated as “not successful” for following the direction of the Service Director that conflicts with a service SOP. And, as always, we encourage our crew to engage in discussions with their base management team to assist in resolving these types of issues.
Q: What does Air Canada mean by “being on time”? At the Comm. center for check-in or at the aircraft for briefing or both?
A: The touch point is “Be on time for, listen to and participate in the Service Director’s briefing.” Therefore, Flight Attendants are being assessed on arriving on time for the briefing.
Regarding touch point #2: Exude my Professional Pride: 30%
Q: If a Flight Attendant chooses not to wear makeup, how will s/he be graded?
A: If a flight attendant chooses not to wear makeup, this will have no bearing on their rating.
Q: If a Flight Attendant chooses to not wear the name tag?
A: This also will not have any bearing on their rating.
Regarding touch point #3: Offer a warm Welcome and Farewell: 10%
Q: How will the OBSM be able to assess how Flight Attendants greet, speak, and offer a genuine farewell with passengers?
A: The OBSM will be observing those they are assessing to verify that this was offered to our customers.
Q: If they are assessing more than one Flight Attendant on the flight, how will this be accomplished?
A: They will position themselves on the aircraft accordingly. Our crew should be mindful of ensuring that they take their respective boarding positions to offer the welcome to our customers, and during deplaning a farewell.
Regarding touch point #3: Promote a Quiet Cabin Environment: 10%
Q: If a bin or trolley is stuck and force is needed to rectify the situation which may cause noise, how will a Flight Attendant be assessed in this regard? Should the trolley/bin be unused/logged due to the possible generation of noise on the flight?
A: This will not affect the evaluation, although we note that trolley’s or bins (carrier) should not require excessive force when removing from a cavity. The procedures remain the same for equipment that needs to be logged.
Q: Regarding conversations within hearing range, will OBSM’s be told to also avoid doing the same as they often speak to crew members in galleys?
A: Yes, they are held to the same standard. We are not saying that Flight Attendants cannot speak in the galley, but rather that they need to speak professionally at all times and be mindful that voices carry, particularly in the galley.
Q: If this is the case, how would a Flight Attendant be graded in this regard when asked to respond to conversation initiated by an OBSM?
A: We are all to be mindful of speaking within hearing range of our customers, this includes the flight attendants and the OBSM.
Regarding touch point #5: Ensure Continuous Service and Cabin Exclusivity: 10%
Q: How are Flight Attendants expected to monitor lighting and temperature when Air Canada’s policy states that lighting and temperature are coordinated through and controlled by the Service Director?
A: They are to notify the Service Director that the lights are too bright, for example. The touch point says they are to monitor.
Q: How will this point be graded?
A: If they advise the Service Director, then they will be successful.
Q: If a sub-point is not applicable to the Flight Attendant do they fail the entire section because of it?
A: No, they will not fail as it will be rated as N/A and have no bearing on the assessment.
Q: How are Flight Attendants expected to monitor temperature when Air Canada’s policy states that lighting is coordinated through and controlled by the Service Director?
A: If they observe or are advised that our customers are feeling cold or hot, again, they are to advise the Service Director.
Q: How will this point be graded?
A: If it came to their attention and they advised the Service Director, then they will meet that standard. If it was not brought to their attention by a customer, it will be rated as not applicable.
Q: If a sub-point is not applicable to the Flight Attendant do they fail the entire section because of it?
A: As outlined above, it will not have a bearing on the assessment.
Q: On the 737 how would Flight Attendants be graded with respect to ensuring lavatories are checked and replenished at least every 30 minutes with lineups of 15 or more people?
A: They are to excuse themselves and perform a lavatory check.
Q: How about a child waiting a long time to use the lavatory and not respecting exclusivity?
A: The sub-point states the following; Ensure cabin and lavatory exclusivity, unless exceptional or urgent circumstances.
Q: How will a Flight Attendant be graded and what is expected?
A: This could be considered an exceptional circumstance, and they can allow the child to use it. They would pass this sub-point.
Q: With water service at least every 30 minutes, what if there is turbulence?
A: Normal procedures for turbulence should be followed and the OBSM’s will always take turbulence and other unforeseen circumstances into consideration.
Q: How will Flight Attendants be graded?
A: This will be graded as non-applicable and therefore has no bearing on the assessment.
Q: With respect to answering call lights promptly, what is expected during the meal service when trolleys are in the cabin?
A: The normal procedures should be followed, and call lights must be answered.
Q: Should the service be stopped to respond to the call lights each time which will delay the completion of service?
A: One flight attendant needs to respond to the call light.
Q: How will Flight Attendants be graded?
A: If the call light is answered, then they will be rated as successful.
Regarding touch point #6: Deliver the Right Product, the Right Way: 10%
Q: Is each Flight Attendant expected to post in the galley a copy of the service guidelines in order to ensure they pass that sub-point?
A: One copy must be posted in the galley. If it is not, crew are responsible to ask the Service Director for them.
Q: If this is not the case, how will this point be graded if each sub-point in each touch point needs to be met in order to be successful?
A: If it is posted then all Crew will be successful. If the SD does not have them for an unforeseen reason, then the question will be rated as not applicable.
Q: With respect to following flight planning guides and delivery sequences, what if the Service Director changes the service (see same questions in touch point #1).
A: As we have outlined above, Flight Attendants should follow the Service Director’s instructions.
Q: What is the Flight Attendant expected to do?
A: Again, the Flight Attendant should follow the Service Director’s instructions, and the flight attendant can always follow up afterwards with the base if they need assistance or clarification.
In solidarity,

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