4.18.03

This is APFA President John Ward. Today is Friday, April 18.

As I’m sure you know, a majority of the APFA Board on Monday determined to extend by an additional day the balloting on the Restructuring Participation Agreement. I’m well aware that this decision has been a controversial one. In making this decision, it was the intent of the APFA Board of Directors to do the right thing for the membership. Those who supported extending the balloting did so because they felt it was the fairest thing to do under the circumstances that existed. Similarly, and there is no doubt in my mind, those who opposed the extension did so because they, too, believed it to be the right way to go.

I would ask that we all step back and take a deep breath. It saddens me greatly to see the membership so divided. The APFA membership was faced with a situation that, unfortunately, was without any happy endings. On the one hand, acceptance of a concessionary agreement the likes of which no one could have envisioned in their worst nightmare. On the other, certain bankruptcy and the real likelihood of having something worse crammed down our throats by a bankruptcy judge. It was a a lose-lose situation. Management would love nothing more than to bust this Union. Let’s not permit ourselves to do it for them. It serves no purpose to turn against each other at this time.

It was announced yesterday that the Company had established a supplemental pension trust, otherwise known as a Supplemental Executive Retirement Program (SERP) for its top 45 executives and had also offered a cash retention bonuses to the top six. I sent a letter to CEO Don Carty today condemning both the SERP and the retention bonuses and expressing my outrage that the Company had indicated to the press that the Union groups had been briefed on these programs. Carty then sent me a letter apologizing for failing to fully brief APFA on these and announcing that they were canceling the retention plan. No doubt, this cancellation is only a result of the fact that they were caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

Based on these latest revelations and on a number of other factors, including Management’s unwanted intrusion into the balloting process during the one-day extension, I sent Carty a second letter today notifying him that APFA intends to reballot the membership on the Restructuring Participation Agreement.

Both these letters to Carty can be found on the web site, along with today’s press release and much additional information relating to this subject.

APFA remains committed to doing everything possible to enable this Company to avoid a bankruptcy filing while protecting the best interests of our membership. That necessitates that our members be given a fresh opportunity to vote on the proposed terms in an untainted environment.

Please stay on the line for the remainder of this week’s message; thank you for calling.

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