This is Linda Herod-Rivas, chairperson of the APFA National Ballot Committee.
The National Ballot Committee in conjunction with Whitley, Penn & Associates have certified the results of the Underfly balloting. A total of 12,098 ballots were counted which included 25 blanks and 28 voids. Option 1 received a total of 2,416 votes, Option 2 received a total of 7,535 votes and Option 3 received a total of 2,094 votes. Option 2 carried.
A complete base by base breakdown of the balloting results will soon be posted on the APFA website and in the July issue of Skyword.
Please stay on line for the remainder of the APFA hotline.
This is Vice President Jeff Bott.
I am very pleased to announce that we have received the Arbitration Award for the Presidential grievance filed on the changes that the company unilaterally made to the Family and Medical Leave Policy in October of 2001. The APFA challenged the company’s right to make unilateral changes, and further challenged the changes made by the company. Arbitrator Roberta Golick carefully reviewed our bargaining history going back to 1990 and found that the company had the right to make changes to the policy, but that such changes could not conflict with any established contractual protections. Arbitrator Golick determined that the company had the right to require concurrent burning of FMLA time with sick and IOD, as well as vacation if the FML was for the care of a family member. These provisions comport with applicable law, and the Arbitrator determined that our contract did not provide benefits in this area beyond those mandated by law.
The third significant change made by the company was to confine the class of flight attendants eligible for FML by establishing a threshold of 720 actual duty hours in the previous 12 month period in order to be qualified to use FML. The Board found that this requirement was in violation of our collective bargaining agreement in that it was, in the Arbitrator’s words “at odds with important contractual underpinnings” Ms. Golick found that such delineation created a new definition of full time flight attendant in violation of our contract. Again, in the Arbitrator’s words “the Company has excised from the established contractual class of full time employee a category of flight attendant who, by virtue of the bid lines flown, is suddenly disqualified for benefits available to other full time employees. Duty hours flown has never been the defining characteristic of a full time flight attendant.” The Arbitrator found several other flaws in the 720 hour standard and upheld the union’s position on that, the most critical of the issues put before her.
In her remedy, Arbitrator Golick said, ” The Board does not underestimate the difficulty confronting the company to “undo” its contractual breach and reassess eighteen months of eligibility issues for flight attendants who were denied FML benefits… to undertake such a task will require the active participation and cooperation of the APFA. It will also require the supervision and possible intervention by the Board.” The System Board has directed that the APFA and the Company report to it by July 30th with its progress.
Therefore, I will be meeting with the Company next week to begin the process of implementing this award. I realize there will be many questions relating to matters contained within the award. We will establish a methodology to obtain information on flight attendants who have been denied FMLA benefits or related benefits impacted by denial of FMLA benefits that will be used systemwide to ensure that the information on each flight attendant at each base is gathered in the same manner. We believe that this uniformity will help us implement this award in a more expeditious and consistent manner. Until this methodology has been established and agreed to by the parties, please refrain from forwarding details on denied or unapplied for FMLA information to prevent the information from being sent to the wrong venue. We will provide notice on this hotline of what steps, if any, must be taken by affected flight attendants once these details have been agreed to. We appreciate your patience as we work to undertake this large implementation process.
I would like to acknowledge the team of individuals that worked with me on this arbitration both in preparation and presentation of APFA’s case. This involved a group effort of incredible attorneys, union advocates, and flight attendants working together to achieve this victory. I am very proud of that teamwork that yielded this award. I will highlight this case and those involved in the next issue of Skyword. Please stay on the line for the remainder of the Friday July 11 APFA hotline.
This is George Price, APFA National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline.
The certified results of the balloting on the “Underfly” issue will be announced on the APFA Hotline as soon as they are available-most likely later this evening, Friday, July 11th. The results will also be posted on the APFA Web site under “Hot Topics” once the National Ballot Committee makes them available. The provisions of the option chosen by the majority of the membership will be implemented August 1st. Please remember that Options 2 and 3 are associated with an overage of Flight Attendants. This does not automatically mean a furlough of Flight Attendants will result. If either option is chosen by the membership, the Company must first offer Overage Leaves and Partnership Flying prior to any furlough.
Crew Schedule has notified the APFA that the order of open time coverage continues up to steps 7, 8, and 9 in most bases due to a lack of reserve coverage and a high volume of sick calls. The steps include Step 7-Regularly scheduled Flight Attendants at the base in reverse order of seniority provided, however, there is no conflict with his/her scheduled duty-free period; Step 8-Reserve Flight Attendants on scheduled duty-free period; and Step 9-Regularly scheduled Flight Attendants on a duty-free period, in reverse order of seniority. All Flight Attendants should be aware that Crew Schedule may, in accordance with Article 9.L and Article I.9.L, fill open time by contacting Flight Attendants who fall into the above categories. If you are scheduled for a trip no matter the duration, please plan ahead as the Company has been reassigning Flight Attendants regularly. If you are on days off, be aware that crew schedule may call to assign you.
From the Scheduling Desk: Please be advised that effective July 2, American Airlines implemented the reduced rest provisions contained on Page 5 and in Attachment F of the APFA/AAL Restructuring Agreement. On domestic, you must be scheduled for rest of no less than 8 hours and 30 minutes from debrief to sign-in. In actual operations, however, this can be reduced to no less than eight (8) hours from debrief to sign-in. The subsequent compensatory rest of at least ten (10) hours must follow any scheduled/reduced layover of less than nine (9) hours. Please be fully aware of these time parameters during your trip. Consult your HI3 for actual times of arrivals and scheduled departures to ensure that you and your crew receive the required amount of scheduled/reduced rest. Information on the reduced rest can be found not only in the Restructuring Agreement itself, but also on the APFA Web site under “Hot Topics” and the Scheduling Article in the June issue of Skyword.
The APFA has received several calls from Flight Attendants furloughed effective July 2 who have had problems with unemployment claims and who do not concur with the total amount of their unemployment compensation. The Union did speak with representatives of various state unemployment and work force development offices regarding the problems that have been reported. We have been told that Flight Attendants who dispute the amount of total compensation reported by American or the amount of compensation they are to receive or who are have had problems filing must individually contact the unemployment or work force development offices in the state they originally filed their claim in to file a complaint.
The Furlough Page on the APFA Web site is being updated on a regular basis with additional resources and new job opportunities. New job opportunities were posted this week. Some of these are time sensitive. The APFA will continue to work with American’s Outplacement Development Office to publicize job opportunities and additional resources. As information is confirmed, we will post it to the Furlough Page and it will also be posted on aacareers.com.
APFA has received complaints from Flight Attendants furloughed on July 2, 2003, stating that they believed American did not comply with Pay Day Laws in their base states specifically Texas, California, and Massachusetts. Texas requires that all compensation be paid to employees furloughed within six (6) calendar days of last day worked. California and Massachusetts requires final compensation to be paid on the last day worked. If you are a furloughed Flight Attendant who was not paid in accordance with Pay Day Laws in your base state, you will need to contact your local Unemployment Office or Work Force Development Office to file a formal complaint. The agencies require that the individual affected file such complaints.
Some Flight Attendants at IDF, JFK, and IMA, who had either voluntarily or involuntarily returned to the domestic operation as part of the recent international long-term reduction in force have been recalled to the international operation by the Company. A list of Flight Attendants who successfully opted to return to the international operation will be posted in HIDIR on Friday, July 11. This is not a recall of furloughed Flight Attendants.
The June issue of Skyword was mailed to all Flight Attendants and is available on-line on the APFA Web site. If you would like to read Skyword on-line as an alternative to receiving a copy at your home, please complete the Skyword On-line card found in the center section of Skyword.
A retirement seminar has been scheduled for SJC on Thursday, July 31st. Sessions will be held from 0900-1000 and 1700-1800 for all employees and 1300-1400 specifically for Flight Attendants. All sessions will be conducted at Gate 11.
On Tuesday, July 8, 2003, the APFA changed servers for the APFA Web site and bulletin board or e-board as it is now referred to. Members were noticed of the impending change through the APFA and InfoRep Hotlines over the past few weeks. Although there has been no disruption in service, some members have experienced difficulties accessing member’s only sections of the site and the new e-board. The APFA Computer Department in conjunction with the APFA Webmaster has been working to resolve these problems. If you have attempted to access the site and received a “404 error”, please following the instructions at the top of the opening page of the site to clear your cache. Due to a programming issue, AOL users may experience difficulties specific to AOL. If you are an AOL user, we asked that you use Internet Explorer or Netscape to access the site until we can adjust the programming to accommodate AOL issues. Finally, if you have attempted to sign onto the APFA e-Board and have encountered problems, please be aware that you now only have to provide your employee number and your password. Other issues should be reported to the APFA Webmaster by clicking on “Report Login Problems” under the “Contact Us” icon on the opening page. We will shortly post information on the site to help assist members with questions they have about the site and resolutions to problems they may encounter with the site. Please be patient. APFA is working to fine tune the site and the new e-board.
As part of the Restructuring Agreement, Flight Attendants on active status or on an approved leave of absence as of April 17, 2003, will receive stock options from AMR. Base on the number of shares allotted to the Flight Attendant group and the total number of eligible Flight Attendants, this equates to 292 shares each. The stock options have a strike base price of $5.00 per share. The Company will be sending each eligible employee more information on the stock options later this summer. For more information, please visit the APFA Web site under “Hot Topics” and the “APFA/AAL Restructuring Agreement.”
In Industry News:
Captain Bob Kudwa, Vice President of Flight, announced his retirement from American Airlines this week. In May, Jane Allen, Vice President of In-Flight Services, resigned and assumed a position with United Airlines.
American Airlines will announce second quarter results on Wednesday, July 16th. Although analysts are not in complete agreement in their estimates of the losses for the quarter, they do agree the loss will show great improvement over the previous quarter and the second quarter of 2002. The Company has not released any additional information regarding their announcement last week that they are looking into the infrastructure of the company, routes, maintenance facilities, and reservations centers. Once a final announcement is made, we will include the information on this hotline.
United Airlines has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of Illinois to allow it to pay as many as 600 information services employees a “retention bonus” in order to keep them from leaving the company during the reorganization period. The bonuses are reported to equal 20 percent of the worker’s base pay. Flight Attendants at United are outraged at the prospect of a select group of employees receiving such a bonus in light of the concessions they provided the company. Earlier this year, the Bankruptcy Court approved $21 million in retention bonuses for 350 executives at United.
Pilots at Delta this week filed a grievance on their company’s decision to furlough 250 Pilots using a “force majeure” provision of their contract. Delta claimed that the Iraq war was justification for the furlough. Pilots claim that the war is now over, and the circumstances for furlough under the “force majeure” clause no longer exists.
For more information on American Airlines and the airline industry, please visit the “News and Events” page of the APFA Web site.
That is it for this edition of the APFA Hotline. For the latest information and past editions of the hotline, please visit the web site at www.www.apfa.org.
Remember, there are 6,150 American Airlines Flight Attendants currently on furlough.