This is APFA President Laura Glading and today is December 19.

While progress has been made on minor issues toward a contract, APFA and American Airlines filed jointly today for federal mediation.

APFA decided to file for mediation when it was reported the final contract offer on the table from AMR to the Transport Workers Union had no guaranteed structural pay raises, substantial increases for contributions for retiree health benefits and the elimination of virtually all retirement benefits for new hires.

There is no way Flight Attendants will agree to a contract with no significant pay raises for almost 10 years, and at the same time that AMRís top executives continue to reward themselves with huge bonuses -- $336 million over the past three years. This is just not acceptable. Flight Attendants have made difficult sacrifices to keep this airline flying and deserve a fair and just contract. We will not consider further concessions.

We recognize the impact the economic downturn has had on the airline industry, just as we recognize the positive effect of falling jet fuel prices. The company is refusing to recognize the commitment, dedication, and sacrifices Flight Attendants have made for this airline.

APFA has been in negotiations with the Company since May and we are seeking to recoup pay and benefit cuts agreed to in 2003 to help American stave off bankruptcy. Our pay and benefits have been reduced by 25 percent while our workload has increased by 47 percent.

If mediation does not work, we are ready and willing to take all necessary steps to win a fair agreement. With an Administration friendly to workers coming into office next month, it might just be a reality.

Thank you.


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VOLUNTEER TO FLY (VTF) TEST

On Monday, December 15, APFA President Laura Glading recorded a special Negotiations Update to announce that a scheduling proposal developed by APFA's Negotiating Team will be tested at the bases of DFW/IDF and DCA/DCAI for a sixty-day period starting January 15. The "Volunteer to Fly" program -- or "VTF" -- is designed to increase opportunities for Flight Attendants to earn extra pay without regard to monthly maximums, and - for Reserves - above the guarantee, in return for a commitment to accept an assignment on a limited number of volunteered days off. To read the entire text of the update, go to the Negotiations page of the APFA website. Also on the Negotiations page are documents detailing the various aspects of the VTF program along with Questions and Answers. The sixty-day trial at the test bases will allow your APFA Team to gather real data on the program, and its impact on both reserve numbers and the ability to earn extra pay for Line Holders and Reserves alike.

Remember you can email your APFA Negotiating Team directly with your questions and comments on the VTF test or any of the issues that concern you. The Team's email address is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You may also send comments directly through the APFA website by logging in, going to "Negotiations" in the main menu, then ìTell Your Team What You Want.

DE-ICING PAY

Now that we are in the thick of the de-icing season, Members need to be vigilant and ensure that they are being properly paid per Article 8.J.2.b. of our Contract. This provision provides that Flight Attendants will be paid flight time pay and credit when de-icing is performed at the gate. Some cockpit crews will file for this time while others will not due to the lack of similar language in their agreement. On any flight where you have experienced de-icing at the gate, check the HI3 for the sequence and look for the code "DEI" and the time paid at the end of the "ACT" entry for that flight. If your cockpit crew does not file for the de-icing time at the gate, please use HICLAIM to file for this time. Use the remarks section of the form to indicate that the reason for the claim is de-icing at the gate. If you experience any problems in receiving proper pay, please contact either the Contract Department at APFA headquarters extension 8171 or Scheduling Department at extension 8161. Or email APFA through the contact link on the APFA website.

NEW SERVICE

Last week, American announced the return of service between DFW and Madrid beginning spring 2009. This week, more added service was announced, this time out of Boston and affecting both Domestic and International operations. American will be restoring non-stop service to San Diego and increasing service to Los Angeles, DFW and St. Louis. Internationally, Boston will see an additional flight to London and the resumption of seasonal service to Paris.

FATIGUE SURVEY

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 or the reminder post card. 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.

APFA REMEMBER NOVEMBER VIDEO AND PHOTO GALLERIES

Our Remember November - 15th Strike Anniversary ñ 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 link on the main page.

(Or go to: images/remember_november)

MEMBER INFORMATION UPDATE

Does APFA have your most recent contact information? Have you moved recently? Changed phone numbers or email address? The Company does not pass along changes to your personal information to the Union. You may call or email the APFA Membership Department: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 800-395-2732 ext. 8153, to let us know your new contact info. Or log on to the APFA web site and click on Member Services to change your information directly.

BASE REPRESENTATIVE ELECTIONS

The current terms of service for your local APFA Base Chair, Vice Chair and Operation Council Representatives (OCRs) will end on March 31, 2009. Notifications of Willingness-to-Serve for these positions at all bases, for the two-year term to commence on April 1, 2009, are now being accepted through January 7, 2009. Only the form provided by APFA, or a photocopy, may be submitted and must be received in the post office box indicated on the election notice by 10 a.m. central time on January 7, 2009. The election notice and the Willingness-to-Serve form are available from the APFA website. They are also included in the Fall/Winter 2008 SKYWORD. Please go to the APFA website at www.apfa.org and click on the link ìBase Election notice and Willingness-to-Serveî to view, print or download a copy. A password to the APFA site is not required to access the forms. For answers to your specific questions on the election and balloting procedures, you may also contact the APFA National Ballot Committee via email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling headquarters extension 8311.

OFFICE HOLIDAY CLOSURE

The APFA Headquarters office will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday, December 24 and 25, in observance of the Christmas holiday. Regular hours will resume on Friday, December 26. You may leave a message for the After-Hours Rep-on-Duty over the holiday, the weekend or whenever the office is closed by calling 817.540.0108 and following the prompts.

Please keep in mind the 1,180 of your fellow APFA members still on furlough and waiting to rejoin their colleagues on the line.

The Wings Foundation works year round to help your fellow Flight Attendants in need. Go to www.wingsfoundation.com for more information on how you can participate.

On behalf of all the APFA representatives at Headquarters and in the field, we in the Communications office wish every member a safe and happy holiday.