This is George Price, APFA National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, March 19, 2004.
Primary vacation bid awards have been posted in Flight Attendant HI10s. As a reminder, secondary vacation bidding opened on March 15th and will close at 0700 Central Time on March 23rd. The primary 777 vacation bidding will open on March 30th at 1800 Central Time and close on April 12th at 0700 Central Time. Awards will be posted on April 16th. Secondary 777 vacation bidding will open on April 16th at 1800 Central Time and close on April 28th at 0700 Central Time. Secondary awards will be posted on May 3rd. Additional information on vacations including the 777 award can be found under “Hot Topics” on the APFA Web site.
Earlier this week, the APFA mailed to each Flight Attendant a letter outlining our efforts to date on the reduced layover rest issue and upcoming events and membership actions we are adding to our existing campaign. When bidding for the month of April, please keep in mind that we will be in Washington, D.C. on April 21st to lobby members of Congress and their staff on the issue of reduced layover rest. On May 12th, we will once again go to Washington, in order to join other Flight Attendant unions to lobby on not only reduced layover rest but also Flight Attendant safety and security training. If you are interested in participating, please contact IMA Vice Chair Rick Musica via e-mail at email@example.com or by voicemail at 1-800-395-2732, extension 8462.
The mailer you will soon receive contains information on the APFA Political Action Committee and a PAC membership card. Additional information on the APFA PAC can be found on the Government Affairs page of the web site. In preparation for our lobby event on May 12th, a letter to the TSA is included in the package. This letter is being distributed to most Flight Attendants in the United States. APFA members are asked to read the letter, sign it, and send it back to the APFA no later than May 7th. The thousands of letters from our membership will be compiled and presented to the TSA on May 12th.
In order for the APFA to effectively address the issues of reduced layover rest and fatigue, we must have as much documentation as possible. We are asking that all members take a moment to complete the two surveys on the opening page of the web site. The information you provide will be invaluable.
The APFA Hotel Department has begun receiving numerous calls and e-mails from international Flight Attendants regarding the hotel assignment for Paris and Rome for the contractual month of April. Lauri Curtis, Vice President of Flight Service, and Mark Hettermann, Chief Pilot and the head of hotels for American, have not made a decision regarding a long layover hotel for either city. For this reason, crews will continue to layover at the airport in both Paris and Rome during the month of April. Patty Bias, APFA Hotel Coordinator, has made it very clear to American that the lack of commitment on a long layover hotel for these cities is totally unacceptable to the APFA and the crews that bid to fly to these destinations. She has demanded that a decision be made prior to May bids.
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.
One of the many services, and arguably one of the most important, that APFA offers its members is Professional Standards. When an issue arises between Flight Attendants or other employee, Professional Standards can intervene in an effort to reach a resolution before the situation escalates to a point that management becomes involved. Before you call management, please contact an APFA Professional Standards Representative. Give them the chance to resolve the issue and avoid an investigation by management. The contact information for all APFA Professional Standards Representatives can be found on the individual base pages on the APFA Web site or under “Resource Center” and then “APFA Information-Services-Resources.”
In Washington, it was hoped that a “Sense of the Senate” vote would take place last week on the issue of extended Unemployment Insurance Benefits. Unfortunately, that did not occur. However, the calls, letters, and e-mails received by lawmakers from those who remain unemployed appear to have made some impact. The issue is still alive and well. In fact, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said during a Congressional hearing late in the week that, “extending unemployment benefits is not a bad idea.” What members should do at this point is call the White House to urge support of an UI Extension. The number is 202-456-1414. Additional information on this issue can be found at www.unemployedworkers.org.
Want to help APFA save money? An easy way is to utilize the local DFW number for APFA Headquarters when calling for assistance. A great suggestion from one of our InfoReps is to program in the local contact number into your cell phone in case you need to contact an APFA Rep. The number is 817-540-0108. The number again is 817-540-0108.
In Industry News:
Sam Buttrick, an aviation industry analyst from UBS Warburg, lowered first quarter earnings estimates for AMR this week. Buttrick estimated AMR’s loss at $1.30 per share, which is lower than the previous estimate of $.50 per share. For the full year of 2004, he estimated a loss of $1.20 per share as opposed to a previously estimated profit of $1.05 per share. Jim Higgin, an analyst from Credit Suisse First Boston, also revised his earnings estimates for AMR from an estimated loss of $.75 per share to $2.00 per share for the year. Both analysts site higher fuel prices and weaker domestic revenue for the cut in earnings estimates.
The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) has filed a petition with the National Mediation Board for a representation election for American Airlines Mechanics and related employees. The American Airlines mechanics are currently represented by the Transport Workers Union (TWU).
American announced on Wednesday that Sue Oliver, Senior Vice President-Human Resources, will leave the company to assume the position of Senior Vice President of People at Wal-Mart Stores, USA. Jeff Brundage, who is current Vice President of Employee Relations, will succeed Oliver.
Pilots at Northwest are considering providing their airline with annual cost savings of $200 million. Northwest was looking for $440 million from the Pilots. ALPA, representing Pilots at Northwest, will be discussing the plan with its leadership and the membership over the next few weeks. The Flight Attendant’s and Mechanic’s contracts are not amendable until next year.
US Airways last week obtained revised terms on a $1 billion loan, which will provide the airline with some financial relief. The various unions at US Airways are in discussions with the airline on additional concessions. The airline said that it is still considering the sell of key assets in order to raise money.
On Thursday, United requested a two-month extension for its right to file a reorganization plan. The bankruptcy court had granted UAL a 30-day extension from a stated March 8th deadline.
That is it for this edition of the hotline. Please visit the web site at www.www.apfa.org for the latest information, rumor control, past editions of the hotline, and airline industry news.
There are 5,760 American Airlines Flight Attendants currently on furlough.