You have reached the APFA weekly HotLine update for November 7, 2008. This is DFW based Flight Attendant Brenda McKenzie.
News this week was dominated by the U.S. National elections on November 4. Following the results, airline industry analysts are openly wondering what the Barack Obama presidency will mean for the airlines and airline labor. Some financial reporters speculate that higher labor costs may be in store for U.S. carriers. Of course, the flip side to that equation would seem to be higher wages and benefits for the thousands upon thousands of beleaguered airline employees who have faced severe cutbacks and steady erosion in their living standards. The Air Transport Association, airline managementís mouthpiece, is at the same time projecting a collective industry profit for 2009. Perhaps the time is nigh for righting the wage and benefit cuts which have weighed unevenly on the labor groups as airline leaders raced to the bottom in service and fares, financing their mounting deficits on the backs of the front line workers while protecting their own bank accounts in the process.
APFA President Laura Glading has sent a letter to Chair of AAís negotiating team Taylor Vaughn concerning the pace of negotiations and the Unionís suggestion on ways to accelerate reaching an agreement that provides the needed improvements for our Flight Attendants. A copy of the letter is available through a link on the negotiations page.
It is the Teamís desire to reach an agreement as expeditiously as possible. The target is May 1, 2009, thus making: May Day = Pay Day. As negotiations intensify, the phone tree will be activated. Please email your Base Chairperson if you are interested in helping be a part of this by acting as a phone tree captain or caller.
The APFA Safety and Security Department would like to remind Flight Attendants that reports of crew bag searches continue to be on the rise at LHR. HM Customs and British Police are spot checking inbound crews from all airlines for contraband, for items over the limits and for reportable goods not claimed on the C909 form. APFA has encouraged Flight Service to provide Flight Attendants with the information they need to navigate not just British customs but any other foreign customs, as well as U.S. Please protect yourself by accurately completing all the required claim forms when entering a foreign destination or returning to the U.S. For those crew members traveling to the UK, the British government has published a guide, applicable to both passengers and crew, entitled: ìIf in Doubt, Leave it Out.î The two-part guide is available for download from the Safety and Security page of the APFA website.
Remember there are still 1,184 of our members on furlough and awaiting recall. And thank you for calling the APFA HotLine.
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Check the APFA website frequently for updates. A new EAP section, available under the Departments link, is filled with useful documents and web links on many of the issues with which the APFA EAP Department is ready to assist our members.
The Wings Foundation, a non-profit organization formed and run by AA Flight Attendants for AA Flight Attendants has their own website at: www.wingsfoundation.com. Check out this site for information on how you can help Wings in their mission, as well as avenues of assistance they offer and base rep contact information.
November 18 marks the 15th anniversary of our historic strike against American Airlines. Picketing events are planned at DFW, JFK and DCA. We must remind the public and management that we are willing to take the ultimate step should the Company fail to give us the contract we deserve.
Your participation is crucial. This is an excellent opportunity to display our unity. All Flight Attendants are encouraged to attend. All bases will have local base representatives spending that day in operations on the 18th to discuss various topics and answer your questions.
Many Flight Attendants have reported receiving a card from the U.S. Department of Transportation with a request to verify their status as an active Flight Attendant and their employing airline. As reported by the APFA Safety and Security Department in an October 10 HotLine alert, The FAA Civil Aero Medical Institute (CAMI) has received final approval to send out the Flight Attendant Fatigue Survey. APFA was instrumental in encouraging the Federal Government to fund this study. The FAA is utilizing approximately 60,000 Flight Attendant addresses obtained from the Federal Register. It is important that if you are selected and receive this post card, that you please fill out the card and return it immediately. Your confirmation can also be recorded in an online process explained on the card. Out of the 60,000 Flight Attendants that receive the post card, approximately 30,000 will be randomly selected by the FAA to complete the fatigue survey. Your assistance and participation in this survey is needed so the FAA can address Flight Attendant fatigue.
MEMBER INFORMATION UPDATE
In a special message recorded on Thursday, October 30, APFA President Laura Glading addressed the membership with a report on the APFA Fall 2008 Convention and an appeal toward continued unity among APFA members. Praising the solidarity shown by the APFA Board of Directors in their three days of proceedings, President Glading stated ìI could not be more proud to be a part of such a dedicated group of Union leaders who continue to face head-on the challenges that lie ahead for our Organization and for our Flight Attendants.
ìMay 1, 2009, the one-year anniversary of the amendable date of our agreement, is our target for presenting to the APFA members a contract they can ratify with pride.î
She continued, ìYour APFA leadership needs the support of every member as we join to confront an American Airlines management set on keeping us working under substandard wages and inadequate and inflexible scheduling rules Ö I encourage all APFA members to maintain the hope and spirit that defines us as a Union.î
If you have not listened to President Gladingís message in its entirety, please select option 1 from the recorded HotLine main menu. The Hotline number is 1-800-399-APFA (2732). It is also available through the HotLine link on the APFA website.