Today is Sunday, November 18, 2007. This is Tommie Hutto-Blake, APFA President, with this week's Hotline message.
One very cold morning 14 years ago today, I arrived at EWR airport to find that I was NOT alone on day one of the picket line showing that the AA FAs had withdrawn our services from American Airlines. That day, I participated on the picket line at all three New York airports. I stood with hundreds and hundreds of my coworkers who had made the decision to step to the plate when our union said it was necessary. Those five days in November of ë93 empowered thousands and thousands of APFA members. We never recouped our missed trips and thus lost wages but we regained our dignity when management told our 1993 Negotiating Committee at the bargaining table that APFA members were not worth what our union had stated was our bottom line.
This past week in all ten base cities, members of your 2007 APFA Negotiating Committee, along with your base leadership, stood for hours and listened to you tell us what your top five priorities are for this next round of collective bargaining with our employer. This week the APFA Negotiating Team will begin to debrief those discussions and review the random surveys that our members took the time to fill out during these visits to the 15 base operation areas we visited this last week across the system.
Those random member opinions will be part of the foundation for a system wide membership survey to begin in January 2008. This web-based membership survey will be available for one month and accessible via apfa.org. When you take this survey, you will first be identified as an APFA member, then redirected to the Survey Research Center (SRC) of the University of North Texas to participate in the 2008 APFA Membership Opinion Survey. Once UNT compiles the data, including the free-text area that will be available for our members to write items that may not have been addressed in the survey questions, UNT's research analysts will present this information to your Negotiating Team. The results will be the direct foundation for the exchange of APFA's contract proposals with the AA Negotiating Team when we begin formal bargaining in the Spring of 2008.
Brett, Greg, Cathy and I urge each of you to fully engage in this next round of Collective Bargaining. Management will try to divide us. Some of our own members may even try to divide us. Do not let this happen. We can only succeed if this is a collective effort. The unity of our people - the APFA membership ñ will be our power.
This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Sunday, November 18, 2007.
Last week, more than 200 recalled APFA members returned to the line. Twenty-one members reported to BOS, 15 to DCA, 102 to LGA and 63 to ORD. This is not only welcome news for those members returning to their chosen career following four years of furlough, it is also good news for all of us who have been working in this short-staffed, stagnant environment. We look forward to welcoming even more of our members back in December when the second round of recalled FAs return to the line before the Holidays.
These recalls enabled movement throughout the system and helped result in 120 transfers to every domestic base in the system where an FA was on file as requesting a transfer. APFA is hopeful that this trend continues and will do everything it can to facilitate further transfers. In the interest of all Flight Attendants desiring a transfer, check your 3* record is current so that your first request for a transfer will be honored and so will the next person's on the list. Unlike International proffers, Domestic transfers can be turned down and management does not go to the next person on the list to offer the transfer after it has been turned down by an FA who didn't really want it in the first place.
On another note, December bid sheets reflect the company's most creative option for staffing over the holiday period: to raise the reserve headcount. It certainly reinforces the fact that our current reserve system MUST be fixed in the next round of bargaining. There are many ways to motivate employees but APFA is certain serving reserve isnít one of them.
FAA inspectors are out in full force checking manuals and other mandatory equipment. Make sure your manual is up to date and you are carrying all required equipment per AA and the FAA.
Question: "I noticed that a high number of furloughed FAs (the majority of whom are former TWA FAs) who accepted the recall earlier this year returned to the line, flew one trip and retired immediately, thereby costing the company millions in pension payouts. Why are FAs who have dozens of years of previous service for another airline allowed to return to AA then immediately retire and collect their pensions from our hard-fought pension fund?"
Answer: First, you are incorrect that "a high number of furloughed FAs who were recently recalled immediately retired after having flown one trip." The APFA Web site reflects retirements by all FAs eligible for retiring each month including those on furlough and those on active status.
Some of these retirements have come from furloughed members who are at retirement age, and some have come from active members. FAs originally hired by TWA will retire under the TWA retirement plan. In other words all money paid out to retired TWA FAs - with the exception of credit for years of service at AA - will come from the TWA fund. In order to receive a pension from AA, FAs must accrue years of credited service on the line by flying for American Airlines. It serves no purpose for a recalled Flight Attendant to fly one trip then retire in order to "qualify" for benefits to which they were already entitled.
Question: I hear the ìMarcouxî lawsuit is about to be decided in favor of the plaintiffs and our 2001 Contract will be restored to the AA FAs.
Answer: The "Marcoux" lawsuit, the suit filed against APFA and AA following the Restucturing is awaiting one of two decisions by Judge Gershon, the presiding judge in the District Court of New York: either dismissal of the claims against APFA and AA; or a set date for trial. If Judge Gershon decides that enough evidence exists to proceed with a trial, it would be several months before a decision is rendered.
We still have 1,454 furloughed Flight Attendants waiting to be recalled to active status.
Thank you for calling the APFA Hotline.