Letter from APFA Vice President Marcus Gluth August 1, 2012
Dear Fellow Flight Attendants,
My initial reaction to the Company’s Last Best Final Offer (LBFO) was,
“Oh, hell no!” and at first I thought I could never endorse this for
membership ratification. But after careful study of the potential harm
and future devastation which would occur if the offer were rejected,
and the clear improvements to the 1113 term sheet, my position changed.
Among the key points for me was the scheduling provisions which will be
lost forever with a vote to reject. The more I read and understood the
offer and the realities we face as a union, the easier my YES vote
became to make and recommend.
I want more than anything to see a merger with USAirways take place
during bankruptcy. It is the best plan for the flight attendants and
our company. According to USAirways' CEO Doug Parker, the fastest way
to accomplish a merger is by approving this offer. Having said that,
the LBFO represents the best insurance policy available to us in the
event that we do not achieve a merger. The absolute worst case scenario
will be realized if we reject this offer and Horton keeps control of
the Company. We simply cannot afford that.
In virtually all previous airline bankruptcies, labor groups secured
agreements similar to our LBFO and as you will read below there is an
important reason for this. If we deliver a NO vote, the judge has two
options: rule in our favor on the Company’s Section 1113 motion, or
grant the Company their motion and legal permission to abrogate our
contract. History shows that Courts favor the bankrupt companies in
these motions almost 100 percent of the time.
If American exits bankruptcy we will resume negotiations with
management. But where will we start? Since the Court will likely allow
the Company to gut our entire contract, will we be starting from
scratch, using the Section 1113 term sheet from March 22, the LBFO, or
our pre-bankruptcy numbers? The Company has said they want to stick
with the March 22 term sheet, which as you remember was an insult to
our profession. But, there is no law that says they can’t sink even
lower than the term sheet and knowing their tactics and the money
they’ve been shelling out to bankruptcy lawyers, management can
probably can stretch this argument for at least a few years. Let me
repeat that: if we reject the LBFO and the Court grants the Company’s
1113 motion, management may be able to impose a contract even worse
than the March 22 term sheet. All they would need is a decent economic
reason, like a sudden spike in oil prices, to make the argument that
more cuts are needed. We’d fight it in court, but the system favors
companies like American so heavily that we can’t afford the risk. There
is a better option and it is the LBFO.
If we reject the LBFO, and the Court grants the Company’s motion, our
contractual status will closely resemble our Agents’. If we reject the
LBFO, and the Company exits bankruptcy, we will be without a contract,
without an agreement, and living under implemented language.
More to the point, we all know how effectively management dragged their
feet during negotiations for the four years leading up to bankruptcy.
Count on this behavior continuing as they have nothing to lose and
everything to gain. To make matters worse, although we were once at the
top of the National Mediation Board’s priority list, we have now been
bypassed by other airlines’ labor groups and their negotiations.
On the other hand, our colleagues at TWU have ratified an agreement
similar to our LBFO and no matter what the Company cannot later alter
it. Their deal may be concessionary and tough for them to swallow, but
it is still a ratified agreement and like our LBFO, it is a whole lot
better than the term sheet they were handed in March.
If we reject the LBFO, you and I are at the mercy of the Company. Based
upon our history and management’s behavior and actions I say, “Oh, hell
no!” to this option and will vote YES for the Last Best Final Offer.
Flight Attendant, IMA
Vice President, APFA