You have reached the APFA weekly HotLine update for Friday, December 5, 2008. This is Frank Bastien, National Communications Coordinator.
BASE REPRESENTATIVE ELECTION PROCESS BEGINS
In negotiations news, due to the Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday the 27th and the shortened business week, there were no meetings scheduled with the company the final week of November. Although the teams did not meet at the table, your APFA Negotiating Team subcommittees met internally during the week to begin preparing proposals for Article 7 - Hours of Service, Article 8 - Minimum Pay and Credit, Article 9 - Scheduling, Article 30 - General and Article 31 - Union Security.
Notice the dropping prices at the gas pump lately? After spiking to $147 per barrel just this past July, oil is trading lately at around a third of that price, which should translate to lower fuel bills for airlines. But almost every carrier last quarter reported substantial losses due to the cost of making up the difference between a higher price theyíd pledged for future fuel purchases and what the actual cost is turning out to be. This fuel hedging has usually been a smart strategy - one that airlines like Southwest have used to great advantage. This last quarter, however, even Southwest turned in a loss, their first in 17 years, as their hedges proved too costly in an era of plunging oil prices. Reports are that American has posted $480 million to cover its hedging losses. Despite this, the Company reports that at current prices, its fuel bill for 2009 will come in at an astonishing $3.5 billion LESS than in 2008.
Can front line employees who have funded the higher fuel prices largely through their wage and benefit sacrifices now begin to recover their losses? We at APFA think so. So do the leaders at TWU and APA. Both unions are making a renewed push to come to quick deals with Americanís management, or in some cases, jump start stalled talks.
Thatís it for the recorded portion of this weekís Hotline. Remember that 1,180 of your fellow APFA members are still on furlough and awaiting recall.
Keep the Wings Foundation in mind for your year-end, holiday gift giving. The funds they raise go far in helping your fellow Flight Attendants in need. Go to www.wingsfoundation.com for more information.
And thank you for calling the APFA HotLine.
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Flight Attendants are calling the APFA Safety and Security Department regarding a fatigue survey received by some from the U.S. Department of Transportation. As reported in several HotLines, the FAA Civil Aero Medical Institute (CAMI) received approval to send out the Flight Attendant Fatigue Survey to a representative group of the approximately 60,000 Flight Attendant addresses obtained from the Federal Register. APFA was instrumental in encouraging the Federal Government to fund this study. It is important that if you are selected and receive the survey, that you please participate according to the instructions. It can be completed on the paper form and mailed in, or completed online using the security code included in the survey. If you are one of the selected participants, your assistance and participation in this survey is vital so the FAA can properly address Flight Attendant fatigue.
RESEARCH STUDY OPPORTUNITY
APFA's Safety and Security Coordinator has been notified of a volunteer research study on activity, sleep, and mental fatigue in U.S. Flight Attendants. The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI), in cooperation with the Institutes for Behavior Resources (IBR), is seeking a limited number of volunteers to join in a week-long preliminary test of the research equipment and procedures. If you may be interested in participating, go to the Safety and Security Department page of the APFA web site and click on the link:
"Flight Attendant Work/Rest Patterns, Alertness, and Performance Assessment" for details.
UPDATE ON LHR CUSTOMS CLEARANCE
APFA's Safety and Security department has this update on crew bag searches on arrivals into London ñ Heathrow (LHR). LHR Customs has revealed that those crew members who elect to bring alcoholic beverages into LHR (which is allowed and needs to be claimed on the C909) need a receipt to prove the item was purchased at home.
British Customs assumes that, unless you can prove otherwise, the alcoholic beverages are bonded items taken off the aircraft. All bonded items that leave the aircraft and do not return to the states are subject to taxes/penalties. It does not matter that you purchased a six-pack of beer, box of wine or transport wine in your own carrier/container. If British Customs or Police ask where the items came from and you indicate "home", you should carry a receipt to back it up. Doing so will be to your benefit.
APFA REMEMBER NOVEMBER VIDEO AND PHOTO GALLERIES
Our Remember November - 15th Strike Anniversary streaming video and base-by-base 1993 picketing photo galleries remain available for viewing on the Remember November page of the APFA website. Click on the Remember November slide at the top of the page.
( Or go to: images/remember_november)
MEMBER INFORMATION UPDATE