Hello. This is George Price, APFA National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, January 30, 2004.
Ballots for the APFA National Officer runoff election will be mailed to all members on February 9, 2004. They are due back by 0900 Central Time on March 10, 2004. A detailed breakdown of the initial election results has been posted on the APFA Web site. If you have recently moved, please ensure that your address is current with the APFA Membership Department. They can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-800-395-2732, Extension 8153. The National Ballot Committee would like to stress the importance of following the ballot instructions carefully when completing your ballot. Please be sure to use a pencil when marking your ballot. Use of other writing utensils to mark your ballot creates a delay in the ballot counting process. In the initial election, only 50 percent of the eligible members actually cast ballots. All members are encouraged to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming runoff election.
No Willingness-to-Serves were received by the APFA National Ballot Committee for the positions of Ad Hoc Members of the Executive Committee places #3 and #4. The APFA Board of Directors will elect individuals to fill these positions on the Executive Committee at the Board of Directors Convention in March in accordance with Article III, Section 4, of the APFA Constitution.
This week, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks held a 2-day meeting in Washington, D.C. During the course of the meeting, a tape-recording of the conversation between Flight Attendant Betty Ong, the #3 Flight Attendant onboard American Airlines Flight 11 on September 11, 2001, and American Airlines Reservation personnel was played. The recording was then picked up by the press and widely distributed. APFA released a statement regarding Betty and the entire crew. In the statement, APFA President John Ward said, “The recording clearly demonstrates the incredible professionalism and courage displayed by the entire crew during this horrific event.” He continued by saying, “Each of the crewmembers aboard American Airlines Flights 11 and 77 and United Flights 93 and 175 are heroes.” The complete text of this release can be found on the APFA Web site under Press Relations.
There continues to be some confusion regarding the administrative criteria for Family and Medical Leave (FML). There is a great deal of information available on this issue. The Vice President’s Report in the November/December 2003 issue of Skyword, the October 3, 2003, APFA Hotline, which can be found under the “Hotline” icon on the opening page and then “archives,” and on the “Hot Topics” page on the APFA Web site. Additional information can also be found on the Flight Service Web site through Jetnet. If you have questions that have not been answered by the information that has been provided, please call APFA Headquarters at 1-800-395-2732, Extension 8489 for assistance.
The Company has notified the APFA that Flight Attendants attending certain EPT classes who travel from certain co-terminal airports now have the option to self-enroll in EPT’s and have travel automatically booked from a co-terminal airport. Travel can be arranged by entering HIU/Class #/Option #. The Flight Attendant should be sure to select the option number that corresponds to the airport from which they would like to travel. Due to legalities and flight departure/arrival times, not all classes have the option to travel from a co-terminal airport. This information will be included on the bidsheet header sheet.
The U.S. Homeland Security Department is now offering Americans free cyber alerts and computer advice. Individuals who sign up with the new National Cyber Alert System at www.us-cert.gov will receive e-mails about major virus outbreaks and other Internet attacks as they occur, along with detailed instructions on how to protect their computers. Individuals interested in participating in this program should go to the National Cyber Alert System Web site to subscribe.
The APFA Health Department would like to remind all Flight Attendants that a survey regarding workplace fatigue has been posted on the APFA Web site. The survey, which is being conducted by the University of Denver in cooperation with the APFA, will allow us to compare the fatigue level of Flight Attendants with other work groups governed by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The information collected will also be useful to the APFA when speaking with the FAA about reduced layover rest.
This week, the System Occupational Seniority List that was published by American Airlines in June in accordance with Article 14 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, was posted on the APFA Web site under “Hot Topics” and on the “Furlough” page. This list reflects occupational seniority as of the date of publication. Furloughed Flight Attendants will now have access to this list through the APFA Web site. On Page 100 of the list, a distinctive line has been drawn to show where the furloughed Flight Attendants begin. Remember, this list was published in June 2003. Some Flight Attendants who appear on this list are no longer with the Company.
In Washington, D.C., this week, the U.S. Senate passed an amendment that would temporarily replace the discounted 30-year Treasury bond interest rate used to calculate contribution levels of defined benefit plans with a rate based on a composite of long-term corporate bonds. The legislation would allow airlines and some other companies to reduce their contributions to what are referred to as “catch-up contributions” to their pension plans for two years. This will not change their regular contribution requirements. As has been reported, the Bush White House does not support this legislation.
In Rumor Control: Contrary to rumors, there have not been 400 Flight Attendants terminated for use of sick time during November and December. APFA does not routinely discuss disciplinary action taken against individual Flight Attendants by the Company. This is out of respect for the Grievance Process and the Flight Attendants involved.
Also in Rumor Control: The Miami Police in conjunction with American Airlines security recently performed surveillance on a third party vendor onboard an American Airlines aircraft in Miami. The vendor was under investigation. At no time was any American Airlines employee the subject of the surveillance operation. According to the Company, the surveillance took place over a period of between 30 and 45 minutes and is not ongoing.
A new installment of the APFA Rumor Control was added to the web site this week.
In Industry News:
This week, United announced that by May it would reconfigure its entire fleet with expanded legroom in a service the airline calls “economy plus.” A limited number of United’s coach seats will be affected by the change, which will include 36 inches of legroom. This is compared to American’s “more legroom in coach” program, which includes the entire coach cabin on particular fleet types.
ALPA, the union representing Pilots at Delta, told Pilots on Thursday that the hope of reaching a concession agreement with the airline is fading. Union officials told Delta Pilots that there is a possibility of job action or bankruptcy. For this reason, the Union advised members to consider setting up a contingency fund. Delta presented the Pilots with a proposal this week that included a 30 percent pay cut.
For more airline industry news, visit the News and Events page of the APFA Web site.
That is it for this edition of the APFA Hotline. Please visit the web site for the latest information, rumor control, and past editions of the Hotline.
There are 5,760 American Airlines Flight Attendants currently on furlough.