Hello, this is APFA President Tommie Hutto-Blake with a special “Remember November” hotline for Friday, November 18, 2005.
It’s hard to believe that 12 years have passed since our strike in November 1993 when the APFA Flight Attendants stood in solidarity, proud and unified, creating a chapter in aviation history. For those of us who walked the picket lines during those five days in November, it was more than a bonding experience. We learned that by standing together on critical issues, we can prevail! I hope you will all take some time to remember the extreme pride of those days and share them with the more than 6,000 flight attendants hired since “the cheery rebels,” as we were called, earned the title of “the little union that could.” If we take away just one memory from that time, I hope it is this: UNITY OF PURPOSE.
This year, Unity took on a new meaning when all three labor groups on AA’s property joined forces with management to present a unified front to preserve employee defined benefit pension plans. I am pleased to announce that due to a vote in the U.S. Senate this week, we are one step closer to this collective goal.
The Senate Pension Reform Bill came to the floor for vote on November 16th.
The Isakson Airline Provision passed on a voice vote with the full Senate floor vote of 97-2. The Isakson amendment to the Senate pension reform bill includes provisions that will allow the time needed for AA’s Defined Benefit Plans to continue to grow and once again become fully funded.
Let me take this opportunity to personally thank all of our members who have continued to be involved in these important legislative efforts.
Please stay tuned while Leslie outlines next steps in the pension reform bill, Leslie…
This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, November 18, 2005.
We have 13 APFA members serving in the military full time and 4,094 furloughed flight attendants waiting to be recalled. Please keep them in your thoughts.
Joint News Watch : As Tommie mentioned, our pension efforts over the past several months began to pay off this week when the Senate agreed, overwhelmingly, to include the Isaakson Amendment in the Pension Reform Bill – which passed 97-2. The next step to this process will be discussion and a vote in the House of Representatives on their version of the Pension Bill, which is expected after the Holiday recess. Our efforts are now focused on encouraging each of our Representatives in the House to include airline-specific language during the conference. Once that passes, the final conference report returns to both the House and the Senate for passage and to President Bush for signing to become law.
Thank you to each and every one of you who made those phone calls to your Senators last Tuesday following our Hotline message. This was a very important step in our process to preserve our pensions as best we can and we will continue to ask for your assistance in the months ahead to preserve and protect our pensions. A joint press release was issued on November 16, 2005, and can be found on APFA’s Web Site .
Congressional negotiators agreed on Thursday to exempt Missouri from restrictions on direct service between Dallas Love Field and several other states. Sen. Christopher Bond, a Missouri Republican, sponsored the BIll. Following the debate on the Hill last week between AA’s CEO Gerard Arpey, Southwest Airlines’ Founder Herb Kelleher and other key players interested in the outcome of the Wright Amendment, it appears that there is no end in sight on resolution to the proposed repeal of the Wright Amendment by Southwest Airlines. This argument should move well into 2006. Stay tuned!
Bankruptcy Watch : Thousands of United Airlines Flight Attendants have left their jobs at UAL following the disbanding of their pensions, the extreme cuts in pay and the deteriorating work rules at UAL all thanks to Bankruptcy. United Airlines announced last week that it would hire 2,000 flight attendants to replace those who’ve quit. 7,500 applicants responded. American, on the other hand, is seeing about 35 Flight Attendants per month retiring – with full benefits. APFA is hopeful that the Company will recall Flight Attendants early next year. With the staffing cuts beginning December ’05 and the schedule changes due to higher than usual fuel prices announced earlier this fall, we will be experiencing an overage for the month of December. AA will be offering leaves of absence to offset the manning issue at most bases system wide for the month of December.
In Bankruptcy Court Wednesday, a judge granted Northwest Airlines’ request to impose 19 percent pay cuts on its baggage handlers, agents and other ground workers. The pilots’ agreement will see a 23.9 percent cut on top of the 15 percent cuts they approved last year. This interim cut will allow the pilots a few more months to bargain with Northwest on a permanent concessionary agreement. The Flight Attendants took a 20.7 percent pay cut on a deal ratified this past Monday.
Delta Air Lines asked a Bankruptcy judge to abrogate the pilots’ contract and impose pay cuts and work rule changes. An attorney for the pilots, represented by ALPA, asked the judge to step down from the case citing previous rulings showing her to be biased against pilots.
Meanwhile, the PBGG is up to a $22.8B deficit since United and US Airways dumped $9.6B in obligations on the government agency.
Fuel Watch : Crude has continued to drop - from $60 per barrel last week to $56.98 at the close of business on November 15th. The crack-spread price also continues to drop and is at $11.52, down from more than $50 a barrel last month. This brings the price of a barrel of jet fuel to $68.50 – almost $6 per barrel less than last week’s prices, and nearly 1/2 the price of jet fuel during its all-time high at the beginning of October. We are still, however, paying about $25 - $30 more per barrel for jet fuel than in 2003.
APFA News : For the month of December, some bases had a reduction in the number of Planned Duty Free lines. This is primarily due to the fact that the company bid 195 of the domestic VM positions for December. The number of PDF lines available is determined based on the formula in Article 9.C.5. The formula represents a reduction in the number of reserves planned to cover VM flying. Because the company bid the majority of VM's for the month of December and there is no longer a VM on domestic short haul beverage flights, there was a corresponding reduction in PDF lines. The amount of Open Replacement flying for December will be about the same as in other months. Keep in mind in the past PDF lines were reduced any time the company bid VM flying. The company did advise us that they anticipate bidding all domestic VM flying for January, and, as a result there will be no domestic PDF lines for January
When bidding for December we encourage you to back yourself up with more selections than you normally would in other months. As we are all aware, some Flight Attendants bid differently in the month of December and, therefore, you may not hold what you traditionally hold in other months. Each year we hear from Flight Attendants who were assigned a bid by the company because they were not senior enough to hold any selection in their bid ballot.
Fall-offs from an International base to a Domestic base are not considered a permanent change of base and therefore would not alter reserve rotation. Fall-offs would only serve reserve if your seniority fell within the reserve pool of the base and you had not satisfied your reserve rotation in the prior 3 months. You cannot voluntarily fall-off from international if you are scheduled to be on reserve, however you may be forced back if there are insufficient volunteers.
Also, it is important to note that four of the five Holiday Staffing Initiatives we first tested in July 2005 are still in effect today:
1) Intl to Dom Option II - effective July 1, 2005 - January 31, 2006 can be used anytime coverage is critical during the 4 designated holiday months of January, July, September, and December. Allows Intl Flight Attendants to fly Dom Option II after it has been proffered at the Dom base.
2) Dom to Intl Option II - effective July 1, 2005 - January 31, 2006 can be used anytime coverage is critical during the 4 designated holiday months of January, July, September, and December. Allows Dom flight attendants who have maintained their international qualification to fly International Option II after it has been proffered at the International base.
3) Schedule Conflict Trip Drop - moved up from 48 to 72 hours prior to the beginning of the contractual month, effective July 2005 - January 2006 for all 7 months. Allows AA to remove schedule conflict trips 24 hours earlier to allow better coverage planning for the beginning of the month. 4) Flight Time Credit for PO's - ability to makeup PO removals by requesting that they are uncredited, as well as unpaid, effective July 2, 2005, and can be modified my mutual agreement thereafter.
To encourage Flight Attendants to fly Open Time during the holiday season, AA has agreed to keep Option II open from December 16, 2005, to January 5, 2006. To add your name to the Option II list, type HIHP/DATE/DATE/II. Don't forget that out-of-division flying could be offered in December per the Holiday Initiatives. For those interested in flying Option II in the opposite division, watch the Crew Resources page on the Flight Service website. The procedures for requesting the flying through HISEND are explained in the letters posted on the Scheduling Department Web page at apfa.org.
For those of you that participated in the online Membership Opinion Survey Phase 3 we would like to announce the four flight attendants that will be displaced by each of the National Officers. Their names are: Susan Gahs, DCA, Julie Kirby, IOR, Susan Siefker, DFW, and Barbara Walsh, LAX. Congratulations to the four of you and APFA thanks you for participating in the Membership Survey.
APFA InfoRep Denise Pointer and Legislative Rep Rick Musica will finish their system wide tour recruiting InfoReps and increasing PAC donations in MIA on November 28-29, RDU the afternoon of the 29th and DCA on the 30th. Please take a moment to stop by for information on how you can get more involved with APFA’s legislative activities, get a spare union pin, sign up for PAC, or have your questions answered.
APFA wrapped up its fourth quarter regularly scheduled Executive Committee meeting on Thursday. The minutes of this meeting will be posted on the APFA Web site as soon as they are finalized.
Also, last week, we mentioned the layover hotel for the New Orleans downtown layovers. To clarify – we will be staying at a sister property of our former layover hotel prior to Katrina. Please check APFA.org for details.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for calling the APFA hotline.