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12.29.00 – (LAA) – No Contract, Labor Day Membership Action, Request to Release from Mediation to NMB, Skyword, Union Printer Milt Highfill’s Wife Passes Away

Hello, this is Peter Day, member of the APFA Negotiating Committee, and this is the Negotiations HotLine for Friday, December 29.

The Year 2000 will, unfortunately, end just as it began – without a contract for our Flight Attendants. Here is a recap of some of the significant developments that have occurred this year in negotiations:

The Negotiating Committee spent countless hours during the months of January and February analyzing the membership survey and polling data and preparing our initial comprehensive proposal to management. This was presented to management in March. While the Company analyzed our proposal, we went on the road, conducting membership meetings at every base city in March and April.

In May, negotiations were moved to White Plains New York by consent of both parties. That same month, the Company presented APFA with the first of what would become many unacceptable counter proposals. Although progress was made in the non-economic areas of the contract, including merger and acquisition protection, it was becoming clear that the Company had no intention of improving, in any meaningful way, the economic terms of the failed T.A. In August, the Company requested mediation. Federal Mediator Linda Puchala was assigned to our case, and mediated talks resumed in September.

APFA’s first “Membership Action” took place on Labor Day. All our activities have brought pressure to bear on a greedy corporation, seemingly unable to negotiate fairly with its unions.

Mediated sessions continued thru November. Negotiations intensified during the latter part of November in hopes of reaching a new collective bargaining agreement. After extensive discussions the last week of November, the Mediator concluded that the talks were at a stalemate and placed the parties in an indefinite recess – declining to schedule future bargaining sessions. At that point American attempted to bribe the membership by offering to implement an immediate 8% pay raise. President John Ward told American that “our membership [was] not for sale,” and that their obvious attempt to “foster disunity within the Flight Attendant ranks” would fail. And it did. The membership clearly recognized that this was an old management tactic used to weaken the resolve of the union. We stood strong and unified in rejecting their proffer of a piecemeal agreement.

On December 6, 2000, APFA submitted an official request to the National Mediation Board asking that the Board proffer binding arbitration in order to begin the 30-day “cooling off period.” As you may recall from previous hotlines, prior to actually being released into a 30-day “cooling off period,” the National Mediation Board must proffer binding arbitration to both parties. If either party rejects the proffer, then the 30-day “cooling off period” begins.

In a letter to the National Mediation Board on December 21st, American Airlines asked that the National Mediation Board “decline” the “APFA’s request for a proffer of arbitration as premature because the potential for an agreement in mediation has not been exhausted.” On December 22, President Ward responded to the NMB correcting the serious misstatements in the company letter and indicated that the company’s letter actually supported our request for release. President Ward reconfirmed the Unions willingness to doing everything possible to reach an agreement during the 30 day cooling off period which would follow the release.

While the APFA remains committed to reaching a negotiated agreement through mediated talks, we must also prepare for any eventuality. Obtaining authorization for a strike vote is the first order of business in the New Year. The Board of Directors is scheduled to convene during the second week in January for the purpose of authorizing a strike vote. Preparation for system wide Strike Ballot Briefings are currently underway. These membership briefings will take place in each base city during the months of January and early February. The first round of Strike Ballot Briefings will be held in the West Coast bases of LAX, SFO and SEA from January 16th – January 18th.

The membership’s participation in the scheduled picketing and leafleting events during the Year 2000 was phenomenal. The Negotiating Team would like to thank you for your unwavering support, and your continued patience. Together, we can reach our collective goals. Stay informed and stay unified in the upcoming year. Thank you for calling the Negotiations Hotline, and please stay on the line for more APFA and industry news.


This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with more APFA HotLine news for the week ending December 29th, 2000.

As Peter mentioned, next month members of the negotiating team will be conducting “Strike Ballot Briefings” at each base city. The following dates are finalized so please plan accordingly:

Los Angeles – January 16th, Seattle – January 17th, San Francisco – January 18th, Dallas/Ft. Worth, January 19th, Chicago – January 24th, Boston – January 25th, LaGuardia – January 30th, DCA – January 31st, Miami – February 1st, and Raleigh-Durham – February 2nd.

Location and times will be posted as soon as the information becomes available. Please stay tuned to this HotLine, the web site, APFA Bulletin Boards and APFA Phone Watch at toll-free (866)ASK-APFA for further details on the Strike Ballot Briefings and the Board of Director’s meeting.

January 19th is our next picketing event and further details will be on next week’s HotLine. Please come out and join the thousands of AA flight attendants who have been participating in our leafleting and picketing events each month. It’s been an incredible showing and is a true testimony to this company that we mean business in our resolve to getting a contract now.

From the Contract desk, anyone who’s recently returned from an educational leave of absence after the 15th of the month, please contact Joann Matley at APFA headquarters as soon as possible. Her extension is 8271. Your end-of-the-year Skyword is in the mail and will arrive shortly. Please take the time to read all of the important information included in this issue and don’t forget to fill out the tear out cards on the back of the magazine with your up-to-date information for APFA’s records. American Airlines does NOT provide APFA with your latest address, so we need to be sure we have everyone’s correct info on file. Remember to include your e-mail address. Also, please visit our web site at Most of it is for APFA members only and is full of information regarding negotiations, your local base, new-hire facts, Skyword online, a bulletin board for you to post your thoughts, news, events, inforep updates, etc… Let us know if there’s anything you’d like to see on the site that isn’t there already by e-mailing me at

Please remember to wear your Union pin, wings and nametag ONLY and it’s 7,6,5… on your bagtag. If you need a new one, please call the membership department at extension 8153 and they’ll be happy to send one to you.

APFA would like to extend our condolences and prayers to our Union Printer, Jim Highfill, whose wife Linda died early Wednesday morning. Jim was made an honorary member of APFA in 1994. Jim and Linda have always been a part of the APFA family and we want Jim to know how much Linda will be missed. If any of you would like to send Jim a card, please address it to APFA Communications Department, 1004 West Euless Blvd., Euless, TX 76040, attn: Jim Highfill.

As a reminder, APFA Headquarters will be closed on Monday, January 1st. We’d like to take this opportunity to wish each of you a wonderful New Year and to thank you for your continued support.

1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

Phone: (817) 540-0108
Fax: (817) 540-2077


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