Hello, this is APFA Vice President Brett Durkin with this week’s Hotline for the week ending November 19, 2004.
I would like to begin by giving you a quick overview of my office. The Vice President’s Department is responsible for the administration of the System Board of Adjustment which has jurisdiction over the grievance process. My Department is responsible for all Notices of Disputes not settled at the local level and Termination and Presidential Grievances filed by APFA, as well as the disposition and resolution of each of these, up to and including Arbitration. My office is also known as the System Board of Adjustment, or SBA. I am assisted by the Division Representatives, several SBA advocates and several excellent labor attorneys, when necessary.
On that note, some of you may know that we have filed a second presidential grievance on family leave. There are several issues in dispute with the company regarding family leave. If you have recently been denied family leave, please contact your Chair or Vice Chair for assistance.
We continue to monitor the many tests being conducted by the company to changes being considered for in flight products such as buy on board, personal entertainment devices, and the latest credit card device. My department is continuing monitor these changes and your input is vital. If you recently worked a buy on board flight you should have received a survey in the mail. For those of you that completed and returned the survey I would like to thank you for the overwhelming response. This information will be critical in identifying problems with staffing and other issues connected to buy on board should it became reality.
We are also continuing to move forward with the 737 staffing presidential grievance which was has been filed. My staffing team will be observing several flights which have personal entertainment devices onboard and the hand held credit card device.
We also have continued to process a record number of termination grievances during the last few months many with positive results. As we move into 2005 we continue a heavy arbitration schedule with several presidential grievances which will be scheduled, quarterly system boards in February, and several termination cases which are on the books.
In closing I would like ask everyone to take a moment and reflect back to 11/18/93, with this week being the anniversary of our strike in 1993. Having been the IMA Chairperson during the strike I have many memories and lessons learned, most important being that there is strength in numbers and unity. Considering the complex issues facing our profession, industry, and company this is the time we need to find common ground within our union to protect our profession and future. We are faced with many challenges and our unity is something we cannot squander. Our counterparts at United, US Airways, and Hawaiian Airlines and others are experiencing a contractual gutting at its worst. Please get involved, stay informed, and donate time when asked. Our futures must be preserved collectively. Thank you and here is Leslie Mayo with the rest of the Hotline.
This is Leslie Mayo with the rest of the APFA Hotline for Friday, November 19, 2004.
APFA welcomes back our 446 returning furloughees to the bases of LGA, DCA and STL. You have always had and will continue to have access to the APFA website for your union information. Please don’t hesitate to contact your base rep or APFA headquarters with any problems you may encounter. Please be mindful that if you feel the contract has been violated, you have ten business days to notice the company of this alleged violation. Contact your base rep for assistance.
We want to advise our members that the company is issuing discipline, up to and including termination, for employees who use their non-rev travel benefits while they are absent from work due to a sick call. This includes the time after actually clearing the sick list up until the time any trip sequence or work obligation you've been removed from has concluded.
From the Hotel Department: the San Francisco layover hotel is currently in negotiations with its workers. We are hoping for a quick resolution to this dispute so that we can return to our downtown layover hotel. Regarding the rumor that we are returning to the Ala Moana in Honolulu - it is untrue. We have a one-year contract with the option of renewal at our current hotel. Under no circumstances should hotels be withholding room keys until Crew Tracking is contacted for reassignments. If this happens to you, please contact the APFA Hotel Department immediately. Remember to visit apfa.org to fill out the survey for the upcoming hotel reviews. Let APFA know what you feel is important for your layover hotel. Finally, be sure to check HIHTL or the APFA website prior to December flying as several new hotels are in effect.
In rumor control this week, there were some old rumors coupled with some new ones. Let’s get right to it. One flight attendant said he heard from another flight attendant who says she heard from a check airman that AA is weeks away from having the right to fly due to FAA violations. To respond plain and simple – this is untrue.
Next rumor read, “I was just told that APFA and AA are "in secret" negotiations whereby APFA will agree to a 5% pay cut with the APFA officers passing this approval without putting it to a member vote. Is this true?
Answer: no. As I have stated in several past hotlines regarding the alteration of our current bargaining agreement, no changes to the contract of this substance can be made with out reopening bargaining, negotiations, a tentative agreement sent to the members, and a majority YES vote by the membership. Negotiations are not taking place at American Airlines at this time. Perhaps the confusion lies with other airlines who are watching their contracts being abrograted, pensions being terminated and paycuts imposed. This is being done because these airlines are under the protection of bankruptcy and have chosen to take the process to its extreme.
Next rumor comes from a flight attendant at EPT’s: “ While at EPT's in October we heard a rumor that AA plans on filing for bankruptcy in February and plans to terminate its obligation to pay into the employee pension program. I have written AA asking for a truthful response and have yet to receive a response.
Answer: “AA has not contacted APFA regarding their intention to file bankruptcy. Nor have they informed APFA that they plan to terminate their pension payments to the PBGC.
Another rumor addressed the fear that our returning furloughees are only going to be around for the holidays and will be re-furloughed in 2005.
Answer: Due to the high attrition rate of flight attendants of late, the company has acknowledged it is short staffed and will continue to need flight attendants to replace those who retire as well as those who are on voluntary leaves of absence. This will provide relief through the holidays under the guise of PVDs and mini-leaves which are being awarded at a much higher rate than in the recent past.
And finally, it wouldn’t be a complete week without a good TWA Seniority rumor. One flight attendant writes in with her concern while deadheading that her crew was saying 1000 TWA Flight Attendants will be returning to the line at a formula they couldn’t describe.
In answer, the TWA Seniority Lawsuit is in the courts and APFA is awaiting the outcome of oral briefs presented in New York last month in an effort to dismiss the TWA Seniority lawsuit all together. There have been absolutely no changes to the lawsuit or the agreement. We will advise you when there are.
In news a little too close to home, this week, a bankruptcy judge refused to reverse previously-imposed paycuts by US Airways on its employees in October and has asked the judge to terminate completely the contracts with its machinists, flight attendants and passenger service employees. Proposed new paycuts from 6 percent to 27 percent coupled with the termination of flight attendant and machinist pension plans is up for consideration in court. AFA-CWA has asked the membership to follow its lead by voting to strike against the airlines if US Airways, and now United are successful at abrograting these contracts.
APFA this week issued a press release on the 11th anniversary of our 5-day strike in support of the AFA-CWA and its efforts to protect the contracts at United and US Airways. APFA President Tommie Hutto-Blake stated, "We, at APFA, understand their frustration and resolve to take their very compelling disputes from the courtroom to the streets. Watching the management styles of their carriers reminds this industry and its workers of the '80s when Frank Lorenzo destroyed the careers of airline workers, from his low cost airline-People's Express to his network airlines Eastern and Continental." President Hutto-Blake goes on to state, "To see Lorenzo, who was denied the ability to reenter this industry by federal regulators, quoted in the news media this week as an 'expert airline veteran' is certainly further disheartening."
In other industry news, AirTran could be paying $90 million dollars for the 14 gates ATA will be giving up at Chicago Midway airport. This decision is pending approval by a bankruptcy judge and the Chicago Department of Aviation. Southwest Airlines and America West have also bid for ATA’s assets.
Continental Airlines has gone the way of Delta and American and is asking for concessions in the amount of $500 million effective February 2005. Continental is facing $300 million in pension payments also due next year, which, when you do the math makes the numbers and the timing a little too close for comfort.
Northwest has requested pay and benefit cuts from its mechanics as well as the ability to outsource. The Company even went so far as to request mandatory union membership be eliminated for its employees.
Rumors are running rampant that DOT Secretary Norm Mineta may resign, though he has not indicated this outright. Jim Burnley, former DOT Secretary is predicting a “tough economic environment that will affect the FAA’s budget.” That, coupled with the “back-burner” status of the airline industry under the current administration leaves our industry in a very uncertain place. There is a bill in Congress that will hopefully provide some relief for the ever-increasing fuel prices negatively impacting the airlines, but at present, no immediate relief is in sight. Please visit apfa.org and encourage Congress to lower fuel prices.
Thank you for calling the APFA Hotline. Please remember that as of today we have 4,541 furloughees still on the street and 20 APFA members serving in the military full time.