May 11, 2001
Hello, this is Peter Day, JFK based Flight Attendant, and member of the Negotiating Team, and this is the negotiations portion of the hotline for Friday, May 11, 2001. On numerous occasions, the Company has issued statements claiming to be ready to do the hard work necessary to reach an “industry-leading” contract for our Flight Attendants. In their hotline last week, they expressed disappointment that our mediated talks failed to produce an agreement. Are they really saddened by the fact that they are unable to deliver a true industry leading contract to our Flight Attendants without further government intervention? We’ll soon find out. President John Ward sent the following letter to Sue Oliver today challenging American Airlines to engage in hard bargaining for five consecutive days to produce an agreement, or agree to a release. The text of the letter is as follows:
We are extremely disappointed and upset that our last round of negotiations did nothing to move the parties closer to an Agreement. The American Airlines flight attendants deserve and need an acceptable contract NOW! Quite frankly, any further delay in arriving at a contract is unconscionable. You have stated on numerous occasions that you also believe the time for a contract is long overdue.
We are convinced, more than ever, that the only way to bring the closure that is so clearly needed for all concerned is for there to be an explicit, short timetable by which the parties either reach an Agreement or, failing that, enter the next phase of the Railway Labor Act bargaining process – a proffer and release into a 30-day “cooling off” period. Accordingly, we propose that the parties: (1) return to the bargaining table for a final, intensive 5-day session in which they exert every effort to conclude an acceptable Agreement; and, (2) agree that if no Agreement is reached by the conclusion of that 5-day period, the parties will, at the conclusion of the fifth day, jointly present to the NMB a request for issuance of an immediate proffer of arbitration. Both components must be present for closure to be reached. Simply returning to the table without an express, limited timetable, and without a commitment to proceed to the next statutory step, will do nothing to provide the assurance that these negotiations will expeditiously conclude.
In order to make this final round of negotiations as productive as possible, our economist is prepared to meet expeditiously with your financial people to review and exchange costing information that may be pertinent to the remaining issues in dispute.
We look forward to your immediate agreement to proceed as proposed.
It was reported in both the Washington Post and the Boston Globe this week that negotiations were scheduled to continue in Washington, DC next week. Those reports are erroneous. To date, we have not been contacted by the NMB to return to bargaining. If the Company accepts President John Ward’s challenge to put their money where their mouth is, maybe we can resume negotiations and emerge with a negotiated agreement. Until then, remain strong and committed.
In response to calls from Flight Attendants desiring to participate in the “DC Fly-In,” – YES, if you are unable to sign-up by the deadline, you are still welcome to join us in delivering our message to Capitol Hill. Please click onto the APFA website at www.www.apfa.org for more detailed information.
Thank you for calling the APFA negotiations hotline. Now, 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 May 11, 2001.
RUMOR CONTROL: At least one newspaper is reporting that the NMB has scheduled talks with AA and APFA for next week. This is absolutely false. No talks have been scheduled.
Saturday, May 12th is the final day to sign up for your spot on the Hill scheduled for Tuesday, May 22nd. We will continue to accept calls through the 18th but cannot guarantee appointments. We will attempt to put you with a group already meeting with their State Representative. For those arriving too late for a meeting with your Congressperson, please meet us at the AFT Building (see info below) or proceed directly to the east steps of the Capitol for a rally immediately following the scheduled appointments with Congress at 3:00 p.m.
Join your fellow flight attendants in DC, in full uniform, to notify our governing officials that we don’t want them in the middle of our contract negotiations with American. Let them know that this is a job for APFA and AA to handle. Don should be negotiating fairly with his flight attendants, not relying on the government to settle this contract dispute. Several Congresspersons, (many of them republicans, by the way) have expressed outrage at any undoing of the Railway Labor Act. Why isn’t the NMB allowing us to progress into a 30-day cooling-off period? Is it because we’re 85% female? The boys at Delta and Northwest left the party with a release, and consequently, a Tentative Agreement.
Please leave a message at APFA Headquarters, ext. 8743 and include your name, employee number and zip code so that we can make an appointment on your behalf with your designated congressperson in Washington.
UPDATE: There has been a change of venue: We will now be meeting at:
the Hyatt Hotel, at 400 New Jersey Avenue NW in Washington, D.C.
We expect most of you to fly-in that morning so someone will be there to meet you between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. with a briefing on how we will conduct business that day. You can go to www.www.apfa.org for a map to this event.
You will be responsible for your own travel into Washington. We will send groups of 4-5 flight attendants to each appointment with your Congressperson. You will be armed with a packet that will contain the following:
1) Map to your appointment;
2) Hints on how to address your congressperson;
3) Talking points to cover with your congressperson;
4) Literature explaining “our story”; and,
5) A debrief form.
Another avenue of action is to check the web site at www.www.apfa.org for a copy of “An Appeal for Flight Attendant Justice.” We are asking all of you to make several copies of this letter and present it to influential leaders in your community whom you believe can make a difference in our struggle to obtain a Contract.
Along with the May 22nd “DC Fly-In”, and the Appeal for Justice letter, we have provided an avenue for you to write to your congressperson. Please visit www.www.apfa.org and locate the link that reads “Write to your Congressperson”. Here you will find two sample letters to use as guidelines for addressing your congressperson about how we are being treated in Negotiations. Remember, a handwritten or typed letter will have the impact of 10 e-mails. If you’re willing to write, seal and stamp a letter, you’ll be willing to vote them out of office, too! If you do not have your Congressperson’s address handy, you can locate it by selecting the link on the bottom entitled “Your Elected Representatives.” Enter your zip code, select “State Elected Officials”, and then click on “info”. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to send them e-mail, but please make it a point to send a handwritten or typed letter as well.
AMR’s spending spree doesn’t appear to be over yet. Don just dropped $1.8 billion on 15 new 767-300s. It would take only a fraction of that amount to finalize this deal with his flight attendants. We’re here, Don, and we’re not going away.
In Airline Labor Watch, Northwest’s mechanics ratified their T. A. this week. The mechanics will enjoy a 24.4% base rate increase and a one-time pay adjustment of $3,750. They will receive a 3% pay increase during each of the 1st two years, and a 4% increase in the 3rd year, plus 3.5% retro pay from October ’96. Hawaiian Airlines Flight Attendants ratified their new contract, which, above everything else, offers their new-hires a 139% pay hike. Previously, they were only making up to $13,500 in the first year. It provides pay increases totaling 36% for the most senior flight attendants, as well. We know Delta pilots are all set up with their new T/A awaiting ratification. This would put them above United as the top-paid pilots in the industry. Their vote will be finalized on June 20th. Comair pilots also have a T/A, which pretty much leaves the little flight attendants at American Airlines: the same flight attendants who were grossly under-estimated in November of ’93. Don, you may be buying time, but if we don’t get the contract we deserve, it will cost you much more in the end.
APFA would like to express our sadness at the harm caused by a bullet wound to First Officer Rich Racsko while on a layover in Arlington, TX. He is being treated in the Neuroscience ICU at Dallas’ Methodist Hospital. If you would like to send a card on his behalf, please address it to APFA Communications Department at 1004 W. Euless Blvd, Euless, TX 76040. Please write on the outside of the envelope: attention F/O Rich Racsko, R-A-C-S-K-O.
That’s all the news for this week. Please continue to wear your union pin at all company training events, and only your pin, wings and nametag on your uniform while at work. Your bag tag should read 4,3,2,10 and thank you for calling the APFA HotLine. See you May 22nd in Washington, D.C.