Hello. Today is Friday, December 5, 2003. This is George Price, APFA National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline.
We would like to begin this week’s hotline by welcoming back the 352 Flight Attendants recalled from furlough December 2nd. The APFA Membership Department reminds all recalled Flight Attendants to update your contact information with the union. This can be done by completing the Change of Address card recently sent to you by the APFA, completing the membership registration form on the “Members Only” section of the web site, by e-mailing Membership at Membership@apfa.org, or calling the Membership Department at 1-800-395-2732, extension 8153. Again, Welcome Back!
While we are on the issue of recall, APFA would like to address a rumor that has been circulating on the line in many forms. According to the Company, there are no plans to recall additional Flight Attendants in the near term other than those recalled effective December 2, 2003. There are also no plans to furlough additional Flight Attendants either.
From the Contract Department: Flight Attendants who were part-time in 2003 will have their threshold for sick, vacation, and Company subsidized health benefits reduced 35 hours for each month they were on part-time status. Originally these hours were to be included in the annual threshold. The elimination of these hours in the equation will benefit those Flight Attendants who were on part-time. The number of accrued hours currently in the HISK for sick and vacation reflects this change. The number of hours for the rolling twelve-month lookback for Company subsidized health benefits will be updated before the May 2004 lookback.
Your HISK, which captures your monthly PPROJ and Guarantee, has been changed. The redesigned HISK reflects your sick and vacation calculations at the bottom of the screen. The calculations summarize your paid-hours toward the thresholds required to earn sick and vacation time for use in 2004-2005. A once-a-year review will occur in January 2004 to determine if you qualify to receive any sick or any vacation time in 2004.
The redesigned HISK also incorporates changes that apply to your company-subsidized Medical benefits calculation, which uses a rolling twelve-month look back. This rolling twelve-month look back review will begin in May 2004. The LOOK BACK12 column calculates your current rolling 12-month total of your paid-hours. ELIG HOURS indicates number of months that you were eligible multiplied by 35 hours. This will be calculated on a monthly basis. Please go to www.aaflightservice.com and click on resources or AMR Medical to view FMLA eligibility, and HISK in DECS to view your sick/vacation accrual.
Willingness-to-Serves for APFA National Office are due in the designated Post Office Box by 1000 Central Time on Wednesday, December 10, 2003. A letter from the APFA National Ballot Committee to all potential candidates and their supporters has been posted on the APFA Web site. Questions regarding the election for National Office should be directed to the APFA National Ballot Committee at 1-800-395-2732, extension 8311.
The Fourth Quarter APFA Executive Committee Meeting will be held on Thursday, December 11, 2003, at the Radisson Hotel DFW Airport South in Irving, Texas. The meeting will begin at 0900 Central Time. All members in good standing are welcome to attend all open portions of the meeting.
In Washington this week, a bill to provide airlines with pension relief stalled in the Senate when Senator Don Nickles (R-OK) objected to bringing a free-standing airline pension relief bill up for unanimous consent. The bill in question would relieve airlines of additional contributions required as a result of chronic underfunding, which are over and above the required contributions made on a regular basis, for a period of two years. Such payments are sometimes referred to as “Catch Up” contributions. It would also change the way companies calculate whether their pensions are adequately funded by replacing the 30-year Treasury bond rate as a benchmark.
There is currently legislation in both houses of Congress that would extend unemployment insurance for laid off workers. House bills H.R. 3270 and H.R. 1652 and Senate bill S. 1708 would grant 26 extra weeks of federally funded unemployment insurance to individuals who have already exhausted their 26 weeks of state-provided benefits. All Flight Attendants, whether active or furloughed, are encouraged to contact their Representative and their Senators to urge support of these Bills. Contact information for all members of Congress can be found on the Government Affairs page of the web site. Members can also access Capwiz on the Government Affairs page and locate their Representative and Senators simply by providing their Zip Code. Please keep in mind that Congress will be on holiday recess through most of the month of January. It may be more effective to contact members of Congress at their home offices during this time.
American Airlines has notified the APFA that HealthFirst is sending 2004 supplemental medical billing letters to anyone active in the plan now and that does not have the premiums payroll deducted. Also, the annual prefunding billing letters will be mailed during the month of January. These statements primarily affect furloughed Flight Attendants. If you are furloughed and have questions regarding these programs, please contact Employee Services at 1-800-447-2000 for assistance.
APFA members are reminded that the APFA has added a “Rumor Control” page to the APFA Web site. This section is dedicated to addressing rumors that are circulating on the line and providing our membership with factual information. If you hear a rumor you feel needs to be addressed on the hotline or the web site, please e-mail it to Communications@apfa.org.
In rumor control this week: Is there any truth to the rumor that APFA negotiated the 737 and 757 international staffing reductions? The answer to this is no. The APFA had absolutely no part in the decision by the Company to reduce staffing on the 737 or the 757 international. The Company made this change in accordance with Article 9.B.2.b of the contract. APFA in turn has the right under this same contract language to file a Presidential Grievance when it is felt such arbitrary changes create an unreasonable workload to Flight Attendants. Anticipating the 737 staffing change, APFA put together a team in advance to gather necessary information on the 737 staffing issue. The team will use a process, similar to the one used for the 777 staffing reduction, for collecting necessary data.
Retirement seminars have been scheduled for LGA and JFK during the month of December. The following are a list of scheduled seminars:
December 10th JFK 1400 and 1600, Group Room, 2nd Floor by General Manager’s Office
December 11th JFK 0900, Group Room, 2nd Floor by General Manager’s Office
December 11th LGA 1300 and 1500, 3rd Floor Flight Service Training Room
December 12th LGA 1000, 3rd Floor Flight Service Training Room
APFA members should stay informed by accessing the information on the APFA Web site and calling the APFA Hotline each week. Members can subscribe to the hotline and have it automatically e-mailed to them each and every time it is updated by clicking on the “Hotline” icon at the top of the opening page of the APFA Web site and then following the directions.
In Industry News:
American made news this week again by being named the “Road Warriors” favorite airline. In a survey conducted by the Decision Analyst, Inc., consumers who fly at least once per month chose American as their first choice among competitors.
American announced this week that it would add an additional flight between Chicago and Honolulu, Hawaii. The new flight will run on an abbreviated schedule until it becomes daily on January 31st.
November traffic results were released by American this week. The load factor for the month was 70.6% up from 67.5% a year ago. Domestic load factor rose 3.7%, while international rose 1.3%. American boarded 6.8 million passengers through the month.
America West Pilots have for the second time rejected a tentative contract agreement. The TA, which included an 11 percent pay increase and another 3 percent, was narrowly rejected. There were no immediate plans for resumption of contract talks.
That’s it for this edition of the APFA Hotline. For the latest information, the APFA Calendar of Events, and past editions of the hotline, please visit the APFA Web site at www.www.apfa.org.
There are 5,760 American Airlines Flight Attendants currently on furlough.
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