This is Michelle Nasca, JFK Base Chair, with a special Hotline message for Friday November 12, 2004.
Today marks the third anniversary of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in Belle Harbor, NY. While three years seem like an eternity considering the length of time we’ve had to live without our friends and loved ones, the pain of that day remains with many of us as if it were yesterday.
To William, Barbara, Carol, Michele, Debbie, Joe, Wilmer, Ed and Sten - you will live in our hearts forever.
Thank you, Michelle...
This is Tommie Hutto-Blake, APFA President with a Hotline message for Friday, November 12, 2004.
This week I will be discussing my base visit schedules for November and December, and a letter posted to all AA employees from Senior VP of HR Jeff Brundage.
But first, as we take time out of our day to remember the friends we lost in New York just three years ago today on Flight 587, I also ask that you take a few moments to remember our coworkers serving active duty in the military who are in harm's way on all of our behalf. This is particularly noted due to this week's observance of Veteran's Day. We thank them for their dedication in serving our country and wish them a speedy and safe return.
My administration's first One-Hundred Day Plan' is nearing completion with a membership survey in the works, plans for a Leadership summit underway, and my Base Visits beginning this week. On Wednesday I spent most of the afternoon in IDF operations and Thursday morning I joined FAs in the DFW operations area. My purpose for these base visits is to come directly to you, the APFA membership - to listen to you, your concerns, suggestions, and questions about our current challenges and collective goals. This in my opinion is the best part of union work. Meeting members on a one to one basis.
I am also interested in seeing first hand the airport facility spaces that came about due to an Agreement between the head of our department, Lauri Curtis, and me in my first weeks of office. It was agreed that Base APFA Representatives would be afforded a private union space to better represent ours members on a local level for the purpose of Contract Administration. We want this APFA space to be located in a mutually agreed to site by the local parties. Thus, I am interested in seeing these spaces first hand.
During these two DFW operations visits this week I felt very welcomed by the FAs that I met. It was my privilege to have this one on one time with so many local and out of base members. There were lots of great questions and stated concerns that we debated and discussed both in small groups and on a one to one. There were individual issues resolved on the spot and issues raised that I with my team will be working toward future solution.
Next week, I will be visiting the base of St. Louis on Monday, November 15th in the operations area in the afternoon and will return to operations area the following morning. In December, I plan to be in the LGA & JFK operations areas on the 22nd and in EWR operations on the 23rd. The following week on December 28th I plan to be in the BOS operations area in the afternoon and return to BOS operations the following morning. Again, it is my plan to visit all 10 base cities by March of next year. I look forward to personally meeting with as many FAs as possible. I will have other APFA representatives with me during all of these base visits.
Finally, I would like to address the message the national press spread like wildfire last week following the AA financial analysts and potential investors meeting. Many of you contacted your Union to find out exactly what was going on, particularly due to local media reports. In a letter addressed to the presidents of APFA, TWU and APA dated November 4th following these news reports, Jeff Brundage, Senior VP of Human Resources wrote, and I quote: "I tried to educate those who are not familiar with labor relations in the airline industry or the processes we use to resolve issues that are unique to American. Unfortunately, the media attempting to summarize my response resulted in one sentence that took the explanation out of context. Let me assure you that I never said nor implied that we have any intentions of circumventing the collective bargaining process, including the ratification process."
This letter can be found in its entirety at apfa.org. And finally, with my weekly Hotline recordings as your elected President, I do hope that you have felt more connected to your Union. Beginning next week, other members of our APFA leadership team will join me in recording messages to you our APFA members. Vice President Brett Durkin will take my place on the recording with a Hotline message regarding, among other things, the Company's seemingly constantly shifting Family Leave Policy.
Now, please stay on the line for the remainder of this week's Hotline message. Leslie...
This is Leslie Mayo with the remainder of today’s Hotline for Friday, November 12, 2004.
Last week's hotline regarding Flight Attendants on AVBL at the end of the month was misread. My apologies, and to be clear: Article 9, Letter C, discusses the release from remaining AVBL days for Open Replacement Flight Attendants. Those Flight Attendants who show an AVBL day on the last day of the month are eligible for release from remaining AVBL days when they have reached a GTD of 74:01 Domestic and 79.01 International. Those Flight Attendants who do not have an AVBL day on the last day of the month are eligible for release from remaining AVBL obligation when they have reached a GTD of 72.01 Domestic, and 77.01 International.
The Spring 2005 Educational Leave Proffer is out and will close at 9:00 a.m. Central Time on November 22, 2004. The ballot is available on the Flight Service website under Quick Links.
Recalled Flight Attendants will have full Jetnet access as of November 18th at 6pm Central Time. Employee Services will send a letter to each recalled Flight Attendant with information concerning Benefit enrollments for the remainder of 2004 as well as 2005. If you were pre-funding your retiree medical benefits prior to your furlough, you will have 30 days to return the amount that was refunded to you at the time of your furlough in order to reinstate your account. This will allow you to continue to pre-fund based on the Table 1 Prefunding rates. Checks should be sent to Employee Services. If you need additional information, contact Employee Services at 800-447-2000.
From the Hotel Department: a new survey has been uploaded at apfa.org. Please take a few moments to fill it out and let APFA’s Hotel Department know how you feel about the Hotels subject to review in the near future.
Many crewmembers at the JFK short-layover hotel have complained about receiving first floor and/or smoking rooms. The Hotel Coordinator has spoken with the General Manager and this problem should be resolved. AA Flight Attendants are to be housed on a floor other than the first and are never to be placed in smoking rooms unless one is requested.
The FAA has been conducting random manual checks systemwide and this week they visited New York checking in and out-of-base crews. Two flight attendants were found to be non-compliant with out-to-date manuals and are facing personal fines of up to $13,000. Please ensure your manual is up to date in order to avoid any possibility of this happening to you.
If you are calling APFA Headquarters from the Dallas area or via your cell phone, please help your Union cut costs by using the local number rather than the 800 number. The local number is 817-540-0108.
Just as I anticipated last week with my “things-have-died-down-in-the-rumor-arena-but-I-shouldn’t-speak-too-soon,” comment, the rumors fired up again with lots of new tales being told. So let’s get to it:
First, a flight attendant wrote in to say she heard that Tommie would, “silently sign away our current retirement plan in a side letter of agreement to be effective for all future retirees. These negotiations are under way at this time.” The flight attendant who wrote in didn’t believe it and explained that in her email. But clearly, the one telling the story seemed to believe it and didn’t check his or her sources before spreading this message along.
So, to clear this one up – thank you Kathy for writing in – and you’re exactly right: this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our retirement is contained in Article 36 of the Current Bargaining Agreement and cannot be altered without the ratification of the majority of voting APFA members. There is no Tentative Agreement being put out to a vote by our membership, nor are negotiations with the Company occurring. On top of that, there have been no discussions on signing away our current retirement plan or any other provision within our Current Bargaining Agreement with the Company.
Moving on to the next rumor, this one involves former Vice President Jeff Bott and the LM2’s. In an email message to a group of Flight Attendants that was later forwarded to the Communications Department of APFA for clarification, I would like to do just that. This message is filled with misinformation despite the fact that the individual who wrote it has received the correct information, but continues to ignore it. In order to ensure the facts are reported, allow me to clarify:
First: this individual wrote, and I quote: “Jeff Bott was responsible for negotiating this heinous attendance policy last November knowing that we were going to be working long days with no food and little rest.”
So, for the record, I will clarify here: American Airlines’ Attendance Control Policy is not a negotiated item. It is and always has been a unilateral policy set forth by American. Despite any effort on APFA’s part to improve this policy, or even better, to extinguish it all together, the Company is adamant about its Attendance Control Policy. APFA does not have the power to change Company policy or AA’s right to manage outside of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but your Union does have the power to provide its input in an attempt to enhance a given policy for its members.
Last November, former APFA Vice President Jeff Bott attempted to enhance the current Attendance Control Policy by getting the Company to agree to specific incentives for our members if Attendance stayed below a certain percentage. Of the three test periods, one met the goals outlined in the test and resulted in thousands of flight attendants moving back a step in the Company’s Attendance Control Policy – something that was not available then and is no longer available now, as the Company decided to end this test. APFA is currently working on improvements the Company may or may not choose to implement to provide some relief for its Flight Attendants.
The other misinformation being spread in this same email involves the LM2’s; the Union’s financials that are reported to the government annually. This issue will be simplified in detail in a future Skyword, however, for purposes of clarification it is important to understand the basics of the LM2’s and how members are paid.
National Officers are removed from AA payroll upon taking office and paid a salary set by the APFA Board of Directors based on a specific amount of flight hours – an amount that was reduced earlier this year by the BOD following the Restructuring Agreement. All other elected and appointed reps of this Union are paid via trip removal according to the bid each rep can hold. In other words, Union Representatives are paid the same amount as Flight Attendants for the scheduled trips from which they are removed. All Reps and Officers are also paid a per diem of $1.50 per hour while they are working – taxed if they’re working from their home base, non-taxed if they’re working away from base – just as Flight Attendant per diem is paid as it relates to turns and layovers. Reps are also reimbursed for expenditures they make on behalf of APFA for Hotel Rooms, Phone Bills, Transportation, etc… These items show up in the total salary column on the LM2, but clearly, these items are not salary – they are reimbursements for costs paid for by the Rep. As the Treasurer reported in her most recent Skyword article, the only Credit Cards issued to Union Reps are those issued to the four National Officers for certain expenditures in order to conduct official APFA business. All other Reps use their own credit cards and are reimbursed once they submit their expenses when incurring these types of expenditures, and it goes reported as income on an LM2.
One could compare this to AA reporting a Flight Attendant’s salary to include hotel rooms it pays for and hotel limos to and from each layover as well as Crew Schedule’s phone bill. You would then be increasing the appearance of your salary by thousands and thousands of dollars annually, however, inaccurate. The Government requires this type of reporting by all Unions as mandated under the LMRDA regardless of the fact that it is an expense incurred in order to conduct business.
Delta’s pilots ratified their concession agreement yesterday. With 91% of the ALPA pilots voting, 79% voted in favor, 21% opposed. In the words of ALPA’s MEC President following the ratification, he stated, “Our airline has been managed to the brink of bankruptcy - and the Delta pilots had to decide between two bad choices. They chose the lesser of two Evils.” The new concessionary agreement includes among other things, a 32.5% paycut and 15% ownership of the Airline.
Delta’s restructuring includes 6,000 to 7,000 job cuts within the next 18 months along with a 10% pay reduction across the board.
Today, US Airways in fact did filed an application to reject the Bargaining Agreements between the CWA, the IAM, and the Flight Attendants represented by AFA. USAirways agents, represented by the Communication Workers of America, authorized a strike this week if US Airways’ proceed with attempting to abrogate their contracts in Bankruptcy Court prior to reaching an agreement with its union, the Communication Workers of America.
Forbes reported this week that if United Airlines succeeds in dumping up to $8 million in pension liabilities, it will be the onset of one airline bankruptcy after another in order to alter operating costs and remain competitive. In total, the airlines are in line to lose $5.5 billion this year alone. Under funded pensions to the PBGC total $20 billion.
On a more positive note, JP Morgan, Citibank and now Credit Suisse First Bank of Boston improved the forecast of AMR. Credit Suisse First Bank of Boston called AMR's recent cost-cutting moves “a real improvement” and gave it an outperform rating. They went onto say, “In a rating system that arrays stocks relative to their peers, an ongoing outperform rating for AMR is, for us, a no-brainer.”
Don’t forget to log on to apfa.org and send in your letters to your two senators on flight attendant fatigue via a service called Capwiz. If you haven’t already done so, you may also urge Congress to lower fuel prices and help promote AA’s application for Chicago-Shanghai flying.
The Communications Department is working on rejuvenating the InfoRep program as well as creating an area on the website for retirees. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information on both of these programs.
Please remember we will still have more than 4,500 furloughed flight attendants as of November 18th and 20 flight attendants on full-time military leave of absence.
Thank you for calling the APFA Hotline.