Hello. This is George Price, APFA National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, August 1, 2003.
The APFA Board of Directors met on Monday and Tuesday in DFW. Among the issues discussed during this meeting was the APFA Budget, minimum crew rest provisions of the APFA/AAL Restructuring Agreement, and the APFA Constitution. The minutes of the meeting along with each resolution addressed by the Board will soon be posted on the APFA Web site under “APFA BOD/EC Meeting Overview.”
In light of the fact that APFA will realize an overall drop in dues income of over $1.5 million a year as a result of furloughs, retirements and attrition, the APFA Board voted to make major cuts in the APFA fiscal budget. The APFA Voting Board of Directors, which is composed of the eighteen base chairs, is the only governing body that has the authority to approve and make changes to the APFA Budget. Among the cuts approved by the Board are reductions in the base and departmental budgets, reduction in National Officer salaries, removing Division Representatives from salary and putting them on trip removals, changing APFA Headquarters office hours beginning September 1st, to 9:00am to 5:00pm eliminating one Contract/Scheduling Rep from Headquarters, and discontinuing the e-board feature of the APFA Web site.
The APFA e-board was removed from the APFA Web site on Friday, August 1st. The Board’s decision to eliminate this feature was based on the costs related to maintenance of the board, legal costs and other costs associated with moderation of the e-board, and the fact that only 988 members, representing less than 3% of the overall membership, were registered to utilize the e-board.
During the meeting, the Board was briefed by the APFA Constitution Committee on their work to prepare recommendations on Constitutional changes including a possible dues decrease. The Committee hopes to have their recommendations ready for Board consideration soon. Once the Board has approved the final recommendations, they will be presented to the membership for ratification.
The APFA Board of Directors is keenly aware of the hardships that the minimum layovers are causing Flight Attendants. During their meeting, the Board unanimously passed resolution #2. The resolution states that our members have begun to experience severe health repercussions due to sleep deprivation and the inability to obtain food either on the aircraft or on layovers, including but not limited to extreme fatigue. This resolution reinforces the APFA’s commitment to seek a resolution to the minimum layover issue. It outlines a further course of action for APFA to follow including seeking additional assistance in the matter from members of Congress and agencies in charge of such policymaking, involving the membership in letter-writing campaigns, and working with American to resolve the issue. APFA will soon provide the membership with details of the campaign and just what part they will play. Until that time, be sure to begin collecting documentation on your trips and your allotted crew rest.
From the Scheduling Department: American has notified the APFA that the sick list continues to be high and that they are utilizing international reserves on the domestic operation in accordance with Article 9.L.3 and Appendix I.9.L.3 of the Contract. The complete list of the order of open time is contained in Article 9.L., pages 118-119, and Appendix I.9.L., pages 481-482, of the Contract. Although the level of open time coverage has not reached the steps it was at the end of July, we encourage Flight Attendants to monitor the APFA Web site for “Scheduling Alerts” and this hotline for updates.
From the Safety Department: In light of the recent warning by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security this week of the potential for another aviation related terrorist attack, a new security advisory has been posted. All Flight Attendants should access this information on the SSI Web site, which is only accessible through the Flight Service Web site at www.aaflightservice.com. American received information from the government on this potential threat late on Monday afternoon. Despite this latest warning, the Department of Homeland Security has not elevated the national threat level. It remains at Yellow. Flight Attendants are urged to remain vigilant at all times whether on the airplane, in the terminal, or on a layover. Follow all safety and security rules and regulations. Report any suspicious behavior or any security violations to the Captain, the agent, or you’re nearest law enforcement agency. The APFA Safety Department will continue to work with American and all pertinent government agencies on this and other security issues to help ensure the safety of our crews, and to be sure that you are kept updated.
From the Contract Desk: Eligible Flight Attendants who transferred to STL in July were to have received TAFB for June. American has notified the APFA that Flight Attendants who were eligible and that did not receive the TAFB will be paid. They are working out a timetable for payment now.
The APFA recently announced that the APFA and American have reached agreement outside of an arbitration on the changes to the 2004 medical benefits plan as required by Appendix K of the Restructuring Agreement. The entire text of the special July 22 Hotline can be found on the APFA Web site under “Hotline” and then “Past Editions.” We will soon be posting a Questions and Answers page on this agreement on the APFA Web site that contains specific information on the agreement as well as information on different options contained within the plan.
In Washington D.C. this week, the FAA reauthorization bill that contains provisions for Flight Attendant certification and self-defense training hit a snag. Continental Airlines management and the White House were able to force a change in the language of the bill allowing self-defense training for Flight Attendants to be developed at the discretion of the TSA. This essentially will turn the development of such training back to the airlines-where it is currently. APFA has worked very hard to help develop the language on Flight Attendant certification and has endorsed mandatory Flight Attendant self-defense training. It is unacceptable that this necessary training can once again be left to the discretion of the airlines. It is APFA’s position that Flight Attendants must be given all available tools including self-defense training in order to defend themselves and their passengers against terrorist in their cabins and physical acts of aggression. In light of the fact the Bush Administration has pushed for funds to fight terrorism at all levels, it is outrageous that they would endorse allowing this loophole in the security network. APFA will continue to work with other Flight Attendant unions and members of Congress to address the issue of certification and self-defense training.
The APFA recently filed the 2003 Form LM-2 Labor Organization Annual Report with the Department of Labor. This report must be filed by most labor unions within 90-day after the end of the fiscal year. In an effort to help members better understand the report and the information contained in it, the APFA has posted an explanation of this year’s LM-2 Report on the web site under “Hot Topics.”
It has been brought to the attention of the APFA that an e-mail has been circulating that was sent from the address “George Price (communications @austin.rr.com). This e-mail contains a computer virus. If you have received an e-mail from this address, do not open it. Neither I, nor the APFA Communications Department, sent the e-mail.
AMR-American Eagle notified the APFA on Wednesday that they were hiring Flight Attendants. If you are furloughed and are interested in becoming a Flight Attendant for American Eagle, please visit the Furlough Page of the APFA Web site or aacareers.com.
This week, American Airlines announced that it had arranged with Adecco, a global leader in human resources and staffing, to open job centers on their property in DFW, STL, and ORD. Furloughed American employees no matter what their location will be able to utilize these centers. The centers will open in early August. For more information on Adecco and Horizon Computer Learning Centers and Monster, with whom American has also developed relationships, please visit the APFA Furlough Page under “Resources” and then “American Airlines.”
Furloughed Flight Attendants who continue to have payroll problems should contact Payroll Customer Service at 1-800-447-2000.
The Institute for Work, Health, and Organizations, a World Health Organization collaborating center in occupational health, has created a survey to monitor work-related stress in airline cabin crews. APFA has agreed to participate in this survey by making it available to our members through the APFA Web site. The link to the survey can be found under “Hot Topics” and on the Safety and Health pages.
In Industry News:
American announced this week that it would operate 8 percent fewer flights in November than in July. The airline plans to increase frequencies of flights out of Miami, DFW, and ORD this fall while reducing flights from its STL hub. It will also add flights between Miami and Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis and between Boston and New Orleans.
United announced on Wednesday that it would recall all involuntarily furloughed Flight Attendants effective August 31. The airline has had an extraordinary number of retirements in recent weeks as a result of benefit changes that took effect on July 1, which require Flight Attendants to pay 20% of their healthcare insurance benefits and lose vacation time.
For more industry news, please visit the News and Events page of the APFA Web site.
That is it for this edition of the APFA Hotline. Please visit the APFA Web site for the latest information and past editions of the APFA Hotline.
There are 6,150 American Airlines Flight Attendants currently on furlough.