APFA weekly HotLine update for Wednesday, December 23, 2009
- AA 331 MIA-KIN update
- Return your Constitutional Referendum ballot today!
- APFA Board recommends a YES vote on all proposed constitutional amendments
- FML corrections act signed; COBRA benefits subsidies extended
- National Strike Administrators announced in APFA Press Release
- Holiday office closure, December 24 and 25
UPDATE ON FLIGHT 331 MIA-KIN
Late Tuesday night, December 22, came word that American flight 331, a 737 from MIA to KIN, had skidded off the end of the runway upon landing in bad weather in the Jamaican capital. Reports are that crew evacuated the passengers from the aircraft after the fuselage cracked in several places. There was no report of fire nor casualties. The six Miami based crewmembersótwo Pilots and four Flight Attendantsóalong with a full complement of passengers, have been or are being treated as needed in local hospitals or on the scene for any injuries sustained. APFA President Laura Glading has spoken to the Flight Attendants, describing them in her report of the conversations as ìcourageousî. APFA Safety and Security Coordinator Kelly Skyles is en route to Kingston, joining other APFA GO Team members, to provide assistance to the crew and the investigators. This event, coming as it does during a time of heavy holiday travel, is a reminder of what airline crewmembers the world over face day in and day out, sometimes several take-offs and landings per day, for several days in a row. Safe transportation of the traveling public is the number one goal of all of us who work in this industry, under some often very trying circumstances, largely out of our direct control. We wish a speedy recovery to anyone suffering injury, crew or passenger, on flight 331 as we await further details of the event.
GET YOUR BALLOTS IN TO BE COUNTED
Amidst all the holiday mail and seasonal festivities, donít miss the chance send in your ballot for the APFA Constitutional Referendum. In the Fall 2009 Board of Directors meeting in November, your APFA leadership crafted five proposed amendments to the APFA Constitution responding to desires expressed by the membership. Each of the items is voted on separately in the single ballot, but all five are strongly backed by the APFA leadership, which recommends that members:
Vote YES on item # 1 to change and modernize our voting method from mailed paper ballots to a secure electronic voting system and to reduce accordingly the size of the National Ballot Committee.
Vote YES on item # 2 to change the composition of future negotiating committees, reducing the number from 12 to 6, plus the President. 2 of the 6 will be directly elected by the membership, 2 appointed by the Board of Directors and 2 appointed by the President.
Vote YES on item # 3 to remove as members those Flight Attendants who take a paid management or other non-Flight Attendant position at American. These individuals can rejoin APFA and enjoy the rights and privileges of membership if and when they return to the Flight Attendant job.
Vote YES on item # 4 to tie our dues structure to our pay scale, establishing the hourly rate at Domestic pay step 12 as the monthly dues amount. Totaling currently an increase of less than $20 per year, this method will sensibly address our revenues versus our cost of doing business.
Vote YES on item # 5 to expand dues payment obligations to all members in any unpaid status. APFA continues working on your behalf even if you go on unpaid sick, furlough, etc. Dues obligations accrued during the unpaid status can be deferred until back on payroll and the establishment of an approved repayment plan. However, those in an unpaid status who wish to vote or to hold union office would need to continue paying dues to maintain their status as a member in good standing.
The ballots, mailed to all members on December 8, must be received in the designated Post Office Box no later than 9:00 AM (0900) Central Time, Thursday, January 7, 2010. If you have not received yours, or misplaced the original, instructions for requesting a duplicate are at the end of this HotLine.
Full details of the proposed amendments are available in a national mailing and base briefs. Proposed language changes are also included in the ballot packet and a Question and Answer document is available by clicking here. Please contact your Base Chairperson or Vice Chairperson with additional questions.
NATIONAL STRIKE ADMINISTRATORS ANNOUNCED ñ PLANNING CONTINUES
While your APFA Negotiating Team continues planning and strategizing for our January ìlockdownî bargaining sessions with the company, preparatory work continues by our two National Strike Administrators, appointed by APFA President Laura Glading. In a press release announcing the appointments of IDF Flight Attendant and former negotiator Patrick Hancock and IOR Flight Attendant and former Vice President Judy Ladislaw, President Glading stated: ìPatrick and Judy are very experienced leaders who bring great energy and valuable skills in our efforts to secure a contract. While we hope to reach an agreement through successful negotiations early next year, we must be prepared to do whatever is necessary to secure a fair and just contract. We are fortunate to have these accomplished Flight Attendants who are willing and prepared to lead those efforts.î
Patrick and Judy should be familiar to most Flight Attendants and to the company. Their involvement at APFA during the 1993 strike leaves them well suited for these new roles ofóas it states in the Press Releaseóìpreparing for the worst while expecting the best.î (Click here to read the Press Release.)
Your entire Negotiating Team requires the visible and active support of every member as we enter this crucial stage of bargaining. Contract negotiations are scheduled through January 2010 but, if no agreement is reached, APFA may ask the National Mediation Board (NMB) to allow the APFA to move to a 30-day cooling off periodóthe final step before a strike.
Members are encouraged to use all available resources to stay informed, involved and engaged. Join the tens of thousands who have viewed our official APFA YouTube channel. Follow our Teamís updates on twitter and facebook. Symbolically march together on the APFA Virtual Picket Line. These methods are simple and they do show we are behind our Union and our Team.
Review the Negotiations Update mailed to all members in October and carry it with you. It explains clearly where we stand. It is available online as well from the Negotiations page of APFA.org. (website login required)
FML CORRECTIONS ACT AND COBRA EXTENSIONS SIGNED INTO LAW
On December 21, President Obama signed into law the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act, amending the Family Medical and Leave Act of 1993 to ensure Flight Attendants and Pilots are able to qualify like other workers. The statement from the White House Press Secretary is available by clicking here. APFA members joined tens of thousands of other airline crewmembers nationwide in the campaign to urge passage of the bills by their elected officials in Washington.
Also signed into law, as part of the Defense Appropriations Act, was an extension of COBRA benefits subsidies under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)ósubsidies currently assisting many APFA members and a topic of last weekís hotline and request for member action. As explained in a news statement from the Department of Labor (click here): ìThe act extends the eligibility period for the COBRA premium reduction for an additional two months (through Feb. 28, 2010) and the maximum period for receiving the subsidy for an additional six months (from nine to 15 months). Millions of unemployed Americans and their families will be better able to afford and keep their health benefit coverage because of this new law.î
HOLIDAY OFFICE CLOSURE
The APFA Headquarters office will be closed on Thursday and Friday, December 24 and 25, in observance of the Christmas holiday. Regular office hours will resume on Monday, December 28. 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.
DUPLICATE BALLOTS AND DUES STANDING FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM
If you have not received, or have misplaced, your Constitutional Referendum ballot, a duplicate may be requested by:
- calling the National Ballot Committee at 817.540.0108 ext. 8311, or
- for those with an APFA website password, using the online Duplicate Ballot Request Form from the Elections and Balloting page of APFA.org.
In accordance with the APFA Policy Manual, if both an original and duplicate ballot are received, only the duplicate will be counted. Duplicate ballots will be issued, upon request, up to five (5) days prior to the ballot due date.
Remember that there are currently 1,410 members on furlough and awaiting recall.
Consider a donation to Wings, Airline Ambassadors and/or UNICEF/Change for Good this holiday season. Or make it your New Yearís resolutions to get more involved with one or more of these organizations. Check their links from the APFA main page or go to:
Wings // Airline Ambassadors // UNICEF/Change for Good