Today is Friday, January 9, 2004. This is George Price, APFA National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline.
The APFA Scheduling Department would like to remind everyone that Option II is open at most bases. Flight Attendants should review Article 9.L. and Article I.9.L of the Contract regarding the order of open time coverage. APFA will continue to monitor systemwide manning and provide updates on this hotline and the opening page of the web site.
The APFA National Ballot Committee would like to remind Flight Attendants that ballots for APFA National Officers were mailed on December 30, 2003, and are due back by 0900 Central Time on January 29, 2004. If you have not already received your ballot, you should contact the National Ballot Committee at 1-800-395-2732, extension 8311. If it is necessary for you to leave a message, please be sure to leave your name, base, employee number, and a current mailing address. Please speak slowly when providing the information. As a reminder, ballots must be mailed through the U.S. Postal Service. Ballots will not be accepted if they are dropped in an APFA lockbox. Again, all ballots must be mailed to the designated Post Office Box through the U. S. Postal Service. Also, the National Ballot Committee would like to let Flight Attendants know that the return envelopes in the ballot package for those in the domestic operation are white and international are blue. This is for sorting purposes only.
The APFA Safety Department has added a link to the Safety and Hot Topics pages to the Federal Air Regulations regarding Flight Attendant duty and rest times. This information has been provided so that all Flight Attendants can gain a better understanding of the regulations that govern all Flight Attendant’s duty times and layover rest. If you have questions or just want clarification, please visit the site and review the information that has been linked in. APFA continues to work with members of Congress and regulators on the layover rest issue. It is important that we continue to collect information on reduced layover rest. Flight Attendants are encouraged to complete the Reduced Layover Rest Survey on the APFA Web site and send all substantiating documentation to the APFA Safety Department at APFA Headquarters at 1004 West Euless Blvd, Euless, Texas 76040. This information is invaluable when discussing layover rest with those in Washington who can effect change.
The Department of Homeland Security has lowered the national threat level to Yellow or “elevated.” Certain airports and cities will remain at higher threat levels. Flight Attendants should continue to remain vigilant at all times and report any security concerns to the Captain, agent, or law enforcement.
The APFA will soon make available on the APFA Web site a survey on workplace fatigue. This survey, which was introduced by APFA Health Coordinator Emily Carter in the November/December 2003 issue of Skyword, will be conducted in conjunction with the University of Denver. The APFA has received a number of calls of support from members anxious to complete the survey. Once the link to the survey has been provided to the APFA, we will post it on the opening page and the Safety and Health pages of the web site for access by the membership and announce the posting on the APFA Hotline. The information that is collected through this survey will allow us to compare the fatigue level of Flight Attendants with other work groups governed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and will be very useful in addressing other issues such as reduced layover rest. More information on the fatigue survey can be found in the Health article in the current issue of Skyword, which can be access through the opening page of the APFA Web site.
The first Satellite Base Test is set to get underway in the contractual month of February 2004. San Diego will be the first test city. Approximately 50 bid positions will be included on the February LAX bid sheet. APFA and the Company are still working out some of the details, which will be announced soon. APFA LAX Chair John Nikides will hold a special base meeting in SAN on January 13 at 12 Noon in the American Airlines Ramp Service Conference Room. To access the meeting room, Flight Attendants will need to obtain the code to the door opposite Gate 23 through the hotel information for SAN in HIDIR. Once downstairs, follow the blue line to the meeting room. LAX Flight Attendants interested in learning more about the new SAN Satellite Base are encouraged to attend this meeting. APFA Scheduling Coordinator Jena Hopkins will also be in attendance. If this test is successful, other cities may be considered for Satellite Base status.
A notification by the Company was sent to all Flight Attendants living in the Chicago area this week regarding problems between United Healthcare and Advocate. Advocate and United Healthcare were unable to negotiate an agreement by December 31, 2003 and the contract has now expired. For this reason, affected Flight Attendants will be given a one-time opportunity to change their 2004 medical election. Changes can be made on-line through Jetnet beginning January 7th through January 19th. Flight Attendants are not required to make any changes; however, if they elect to change medical plans during this special enrollment period, coverage will be retroactive to January 1, 2004 and will remain in effect for the remainder of 2004 unless the Flight Attendant experiences a qualifying life event. Flight Attendants in the Chicago area who wish to make changes to their benefit elections as a result of the situation involving Advocate and United Healthcare should go to Jetnet, then select Life Events on the left navigator bar, and select ORD Special Enrollment. For further information, please refer to the information provided by American or visit Jetnet.
Flight Attendants are reminded that all applications for Family and Medical Leave must now be done on-line through Jetnet. Any substantiating documentation that you must provide to AA Medical should be faxed to the designated FAX line at 817-931-7584. Please be sure to keep a copy of all correspondence and verification of fax transmission of all documents. Due to the current volume of calls, Flight Attendants may have to make several attempts to reach AA Medical.
The APFA Hotel Department would like to announce that APFA will join representatives of APA and the Company for a long layover hotel review in Paris on January 19, 2004. This is something the APFA Hotel Department has been working on for some time. We will report the results of this review on future hotlines and in Skyword.
As a clarification, the vesting date for the first third of AMR stock options for eligible Flight Attendants is April 17, 2004. Flight Attendants should complete the W-8BEN or W-9 form prior to exercising their options. By completing the applicable form, it will help the employee avoid approximately 20% in backup withholding tax. Employees will however be responsible for approximately 25% in federal tax on the options once they are exercised. Information on the Board Based Stock Option Plan is posted on the APFA Web site under “Hot Topics.” For additional information including how to complete the W-8BEN and W-9 forms, please visit www.retireonline.com.
American has created a hotline exclusively for Furloughed Flight Attendants. This hotline is part of the JetNews Hotline system. To access the information, call 1-800-JetNews or locally in the DFW area 817-963-8122.
The APFA continues to hear from Flight Attendants furloughed in July 2003 regarding eligibility for the TEUC-A or Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation designated specifically for airline workers. State officials from Texas, Missouri, and New York have informed the APFA that under guidelines set forth by Congress, Flight Attendants furloughed in July 2003 would not qualify for this extension. If you have any questions regarding your individual eligibility, APFA strongly encourages you to contact your local Unemployment Office.
In response to the rumors and misinformation that has been circulating on the line, APFA created a Rumor Control page on the APFA Web site. This has become one of the most visited pages on our web site. Despite this fact, the APFA continues to receive questions from the field regarding information that has previously been addressed on the APFA Hotline and/or Rumor Control. If you have not already visited the Rumor Control page, please do so. Also, encourage other Flight Attendants to do the same. There is no need for misinformation to continue when APFA has provided the facts. If you hear something you feel needs to be addressed, e-mail it to email@example.com.
In Industry News:
American announced December traffic results this week. The load factor was 73.7% up from 73.2% in December 2002. Domestic traffic declined 4.2% to 7.06 billion revenue passenger miles from 7.37 billion last year. International traffic increased 10.2%. For the entire year of 2003, American reported traffic declined 1.4% to 120.01 billion revenue passenger miles from 121.68 billion in 2002. The 2003 load factor rose to 72.8% from 70.7% for the previous year on a capacity decrease of 4.2%. American is expected to announce yearend financial results on January 21st. A link to the AMR stock performance has been added to the opening page of the APFA Web site.
Pilots at Mesaba Airlines, which operates 600 daily flights for Northwest Airlines, may strike Friday, January 9, 2004. As of the recording of this hotline, there was no definitive news on the status of negotiations between Pilots represented by ALPA and Mesaba Airlines. Contract negotiations have been ongoing for over two and one half years. Pilots at Northwest have said that they will not fly additional flights to cover struck work, which is their right under the Railway Labor Act. If Mesaba Pilots do strike, APFA members are encouraged to provide whatever support they can even if it is just words of support if they have the opportunity.
Flight Attendants at US Airways represented by the Association of Flight Attendants have filed suit against their company in order to prevent the airline from involuntarily furloughing 552 Flight Attendants. The union claims that US Airways was attempting to bypass contract language that required that the airline offer voluntary furlough prior to involuntarily furloughing any Flight Attendant. According to published reports, US Airways is looking into the possibility of selling some key assets such as the East Coast Shuttle. The reports say that US Airways wants all potential interest submitted by mid-January so that the Board of Directors can meet in February to decide what if anything to sell.
According to documents filed with the Bankruptcy Court, United has set a June 20, 2004 target date to emerge from bankruptcy. United has been criticized by industry analysts for taking so much time to set a firm exit date.
More information on the airline industry can be found on the News and Events page of the APFA Web site.
That is it for this edition of the APFA Hotline. For the latest information, past editions of the hotline, and rumor control, visit the web site.
There are 5,760 Flight Attendants at American currently on furlough.
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