This is John Ward, President of APFA. Today is Friday, September 28.
President Bush was at O’Hare Airport in Chicago yesterday outlining his plans for increasing airline security and restoring the public’s confidence in the airline industry before a large audience that included many American flight attendants, APFA Representatives and family members. The President’s plan is a positive first step in the right direction. For example, it proposes to substantially increase the number of federal air marshals on board. In addition, grants of $500 million would go to airlines for enhanced cockpit protection, primarily through strengthening cockpit doors. Both good proposals. However, the president’s plan failed to propose assigning the task of passenger and bag screening to federal workers, which is something APFA strongly supports.
Unhappy that security screening would continue to be farmed out by the airlines to private companies under the president’s plan, Representative James Oberstar of Minnesota, the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation Committee and a longtime supporter of flight attendant issues was quoted as saying, “The most basic responsibility of government is to protect its citizens in acts of war that threaten safety and security. We wouldn’t think of contracting out our army to protect us against an open foreign invasion.” APFA has also joined ranks with the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) in calling for stricter carry-on baggage limitations (i.e. one bag per passenger) and for personal protection devices for use by flight attendants.
The recently approved $15 billion airline bail out package neglected to provide any assistance to the more than 100,000 airline workers affected by the recently announced layoffs. Congress must focus its attention not only on the increased security measures but on the employees as well, in the form of extended unemployment compensation, health care benefits, job training and other relief to lessen the extreme hardship that airline employees are now and will be experiencing. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle was quoted by the New York Times on Wednesday of this week as saying he planned to attach a workers’ aid bill to legislation on aviation security. APFA’s legislative representative is aggressively pursuing these issues on our behalf in Washington and we’ll keep you posted.
As previously reported, the Company plans to go forward with furloughing all probationary flight attendants (approximately 1000 flight attendants) effective October 1. These are flight attendants with occupational seniority dates of April 5, 2001 and junior. The senior-most affected flight attendant is seniority number 22,826. I realize the question of “Am I next” is one that is weighing heavily on many of our members. APFA has not received any information from the Company about furloughing any more flight attendants. The Company has said it will offer overage leaves and partnership flying before proceeding with any additional layoffs. As you know, APFA’s position is that the Company should have first offered these leaves and partnerships prior to furloughing even one flight attendant. APFA will respond appropriately to this contract violation and we will keep you informed as the situation continues to unfold. The Company announced late Wednesday that it was providing benefits to those employees being furloughed, effective October 1. It unfortunately appears this was not much more than a P.R. move by the Company, as most of the items mentioned in the Company’s press release do not apply to our furloughed flight attendants or to many other employees who the Company has furloughed. For example, the Company referred to a “special payment” and travel benefits, neither of which the Company plans to provide to our probationary flight attendants. On a positive note, however, the Company has agreed to provide continued medical coverage at Company expense for 90 days for those whose layoffs are effective October 1, something APFA had been urging the Company to do, although without the 90 day limit.
You should be aware that the Company is in the process of surveying the flight attendants to ascertain the level of interest in leaves. We encourage anyone who is even considering taking a leave to fill out the survey and turn it in. If your financial situation makes it possible for you to take an overage leave, please consider doing so. Please remember, this survey is for planning purposes only and does not obligate you in any way at this time to take a leave. Anyone wishing to complete the survey must turn it in no later than October 5, 2001. If you have any questions regarding this survey or anything else relating to the furlough announcements, please call Phone Watch at 1-866-ASK-APFA between the hours of 1000-1830.
In an effort to mitigate, to the extent possible, the need for any additional furloughs, APFA would also like to remind those interested that Appendix T will be available until November 12, 2001. Flight Attendants with a minimum of five years of occupational seniority whose age plus years of occupational seniority equals forty may elect to sever his/her employment with the Company and receive, in exchange, $10,000 and 8 D-2 passes per year. If you qualify and are interested, you must contact flight service and provide two weeks notice. An exception has been negotiated to expand the opportunities for a flight attendant who is out on the sick list to take Appendix T. You must still be able to clear the sick list, however, you will not need to re-train and actually return to the line to fly a trip to be able to leave under Appendix T. Additionally, anyone who went out sick for reasons relating to the events of September 11, and who otherwise meets the eligibility requirements can take Appendix T without having to clear the sick list. Please call your Base Chair or the Contract Desk with questions.
We also expect a fair number of flight attendants to retire under the provisions of the newly ratified agreement. If you are considering retirement and you have questions, please call APFA Headquarters, extension # ( ) to leave a message for APFA’s Retirement Specialist, Jill Frank.
APFA understands that this is a very stressful time for everyone. It’s also frustrating because you understandably want answers to your many questions. You have my assurances that APFA will continue to keep you apprised of all the pertinent, factual information regarding the furloughs. I’d like to thank all of you who’ve called or e-mailed me asking that we update the hotline even more frequently, even if just to report that there’s nothing new. To address these concerns, the APFA hotline will now be updated twice weekly. In addition to our regular Friday night hotline, we will begin to update the hotline every Tuesday night as well. We are also in the process of developing a “Furlough Section” on the APFA web site. Finally, all furloughees will soon be receiving a letter from APFA which, in addition to providing you with relevant contract information, will contain information on how to file for unemployment, etc. It will be very important for all furloughees to call the APFA Membership Department at Headquarters extension # 8153 with current contact information.
I have a couple more items on which I need to update you. First, I know you’ve probably heard about Don Carty’s announcement on Monday which asked American Airlines employees, including flight attendants, to consider taking voluntary pay cuts as a way to assist the Company. I received a letter yesterday from the Vice President of Employee Relations seeking APFA’s approval to solicit the participation of the APFA membership. The APFA Board of Directors agreed with me that a pay cut for flight attendants is clearly unjustified and unacceptable. Equally unacceptable are what would effectively be reductions in pay obtained through the guise of “voluntary” reductions by individual flight attendants.
APFA is particularly appalled by the Company’s attempt to link this so-called “voluntary program” of “contributions” to the Company with charitable contributions. APFA, of course, fully supports and encourages contributions by flight attendants (and others) to funds established exclusively to benefit the families of the American flight attendants and pilots who tragically lost their lives in the performance of their duties on September 11.
On another subject, many questions have been received concerning the status of our retro/lump sum checks and the new contract. The new contract is legally binding and is in effect. The retro/lump sum monies will be paid on schedule in the 10-31 paycheck. Members of the APFA Negotiating Committee are scheduled to meet with members of the Company’s Negotiating Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week to discuss the planned implementation dates for various provisions of the new contract that have not already been implemented.
That’s all for tonight. Thanks for listening. Please call back on Tuesday of next week for an updated message. Please stay on the line for updated Memorial Service information.
This is Leslie Mayo, APFA National Communications Coordinator with an updated hotline.
Today is Friday, September 28, 2001. Following this short message, I will read an updated list of all remaining memorial services for our fellow crewmembers who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
For those Flight Attendants who have been furloughed, American has agreed to provide assistance and some benefits. APFA members who are furloughed will receive three months of continuing Health Care from American. This means that those of you who would be opting for COBRA in order to maintain your health coverage for the maximum amount of 18 months, will now have the first three months paid for by American. The remaining 15 months, if you choose to continue COBRA, will be paid by you.
Due to the additional and ever-changing flying schedules you will be enduring these next few months, APFA wants to be sure that you are aware of procedures to protect your guarantee. If your pay projection falls below your monthly guarantee as a result of AA’s canceling a flight or changing your schedule, you could be subject to losing your guarantee. If you have lost the balance of your month’s flying, you will be held AVAILABLE for the days you were originally scheduled to fly. You are obligated to maintain contact with Crew Schedule each day prior to the day(s) that you are originally scheduled to fly. If you are Domestic, you should call between 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. local base. If you are International, you must call between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon. You will also be allowed to pre-plot on those days originally scheduled to fly. Please refer to the MIC and Schedule Change Procedures in Article 9P and 9E of the Contract for more details.
If you have any security issues relating to a specific airport, please call the AMR Event Call Center at 800.662.6000. American has discontinued use of the Airport Security Hotline.
As a reminder, please do not give any interviews to the media. This is not productive for APFA or AA
APFA would like to thank those of you who have taken the time to send us photographs and stories of those crewmembers whose lives were lost on September 11. We would like to have at least one photo of each of the crewmembers and right now, we do not. If you do have a photo and/or any personal stories you would like to have included in Skyword, please send it to APFA, ATTN: Communications Department at 1004 W. Euless Blvd. – Euless, TX 76040. These photos will be returned to you if you include your name and address and specify that you wish to have them returned. Please do not e-mail these photos as we cannot use them for print format. Please try to send any photos and/or stories by October 1.
APFA asks all Flight Attendants to place a white ribbon behind their Union Pin while at work in remembrance of our fallen crewmembers. A red, white and blue ribbon is appropriate for all other victims of the September 11th tragedy.
As a reminder, PhoneWatch will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. during the weekend of September 29th and 30th. If you have any questions relating to the events of September 11th or the furlough, please call toll free – 866.ask.apfa.
Please refer to the website at www.www.apfa.org, or your HI6 messages for details about individual memorial funds and group funds that have been set up in honor of our lost crewmembers.
Please stay on the line for details of the remaining scheduled memorial services.
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