This is George Price, APFA National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, March 26, 2004.
The response to the APFA National Mailer that was sent out last week has been overwhelming. The mailer outlined APFA’s efforts to date on the reduced layover rest issue and our lobby plans on April 21st and May 12th. Also contained in the information was a letter to the TSA and an APFA Political Action Committee or PAC Registration Card.
As part of our ongoing campaign to effect change in layover rest times for Flight Attendants, APFA will conduct a lobby day in Washington, D.C. on April 21st. APFA members will meet with members of Congress and their staff to discuss the issue of reduced layover rest. On May 12th, we will join members of other Flight Attendant unions to lobby on not only reduced layover rest, but also Flight Attendant safety and security training. Members interested in participating should contact IMA Vice Chair Rick Musica via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 817-540-0108 or 1-800-395-2732, extension 8462. Rick will need your name, base, employee number, phone number, and your nine-digit Zip Code in order to determine your Congressional Districts. This will be necessary in making our appointments with members of Congress.
A group of Flight Attendants from the New York City area are looking into organizing bus transportation to Washington, D.C. for the April 21st lobby day. If you are interested in participating in the lobby day, live in the New York City area, and are interested in joining others in the area in chartering a bus to travel to and from Washington for the event, you should also contact Rick Musica.
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 letter to the Transportation Security Administration or TSA is being sent to Flight Attendants from most U.S. airlines. This letter urges the TSA to review the current safety and security training for Flight Attendants and ensure that such training meets the criteria Congress supported in the Homeland Security Act and the Vision 100 FAA Reauthorization bill. It is very important that all APFA members provide the information requested at the bottom of this letter and return it to the APFA no later than Friday, May 7th. The letter can be sent to the attention of the APFA Communications Department, 1004 West Euless Blvd, Euless, Texas 76040. APFA will compile the letters and present them to the TSA with representatives of the other Flight Attendant unions on May 12th in Washington, D.C. Please encourage your flying partners to fill out the TSA letter and mail it in.
The final component of the mailer was the APFA Political Action Committee Registration Card. There seems to be some confusion over the APFA PAC. The APFA PAC was established in July 1992. APFA, like most unions and many businesses including AMR, created a PAC to enhance its presence in Washington, D.C. During the 2004 election cycle, which is considered 2003-2004, AMR and American Airlines gave nearly $280,000 to various political candidates. This is according to figures published by the Center for Responsive Politics. By comparison during this same period, APFA was only able to provide just over $25,000. The funds in the APFA PAC come from voluntary donations made by individual members. They are separate and apart from union dues and are in no way required. APFA has included information on our PAC in Skyword, on the Government Affairs page of the web site, and on the hotline since its inception. Past issues of Skyword are archived on the web site for your convenience. Additional information on our PAC is included on the Government Affairs page of the web site. To be clear, APFA PAC funds are not union dues. The funds that are voluntarily donated by members are used to contribute, within federal guidelines, to the political campaigns of congressional and presidential candidates that support Flight Attendant issues. Over the years, APFA has given to candidates of both parties. APFA must have a strongly supported PAC in order to strengthen or voice in Washington. If you would like to join the APFA PAC, simply fill out the card you were sent and return it to the APFA. There is no obligation.
As a reminder for those Flight Attendants who chose the vacation option as part of their 777 understaffing award, 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.
From the APFA Scheduling Department: We have seen a drastic increase in Flight Attendants who are using trips for double trip trades and cannot get the trade to reverse because of legalities or qualifications. This is leaving two people, or more, with unwanted trips. If you have a schedule conflict and you use the conflict trip during a double trip trade, you have satisfied the conflict and the trip will not go back onto your schedule. Remember that schedule conflicts do not fall into open time until forty-eight (48) hours prior to the start of the new month. You also have the option of dropping the conflict trip into open time any time after bids are final without being subject to lights. Refer to Article 9.I and Appendix I.9.I. Be aware and check the legalities (schedule conflict, 30 in 7, 24 in 7) of all of the trips to be traded. Also check all Flight Attendants involved and in both months. This includes training legalities as they are not recognized by the computer.
From the Hotel Department: The Company has still made no decision on the layover hotels for Rome or Paris. Once the APFA has been notified which hotels have been selected, we will update the hotline and the web site with this information.
As we get closer to the vesting date for the first third of stock options, eligible Flight Attendants understandably have questions regarding the Broad Based Stock Option Plan. This week, a new link to detailed information on the plan was added to the opening page of the APFA Web site. APFA encourages all Flight Attendants to visit this site for the very latest information on the stock options. Again, the first third of the options will vest on April 17, 2004.
On Thursday, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report, which finds that more than 1.1 million workers have been denied unemployment benefits since December. The report says that at no other comparable time on record has this many workers exhausted their regular benefits and been left with additional financial aid. A link to this report and to Unemployedworkers.org has been added to the Furlough page of the APFA Web site. Furloughed Flight Attendants who have exhausted their Unemployment Insurance Benefits and have not already contacted their Senators and Representative in Congress should do so as soon as possible. Urge them to support legislation that would extend UI Benefits for laid off workers. Members can use the Capwiz feature of the Government Affairs page of the web site to contact lawmakers. APFA will continue to work in Washington to promote such legislation.
It is very important that APFA members access factual information. Those of you calling this hotline, reading the text off of the web site, or receiving it via e-mail, obviously understand the importance of staying informed. Please encourage your flying partners to access the APFA Hotline information each week. There is so much inaccurate information floating around the system. What is so disturbing is that APFA has, in most cases, addressed this misinformation through the hotline, web site, or Skyword and because so many have not accessed the facts through one of these modes of communication, the misinformation continues to circulate. Remember, you can sign up to have the hotline text sent to you via e-mail each time it is recorded by clicking on the “Hotline” icon at the top of the opening page of the web site and following the directions.
The second quarter Executive Committee meeting will be held on April 13th at the Radisson Hotel DFW Airport South. A special meeting of the APFA Board of Directors will be held April 14-16th at the same location. As more details of the meetings become available, we will include them on the hotline and calendar of events on the web site.
In Industry News:
Under a proposal by an investment group, former AMR CEO Don Carty would become non-executive Chairman of Hawaiian Airlines. Carty along with other investors is interested in Hawaiian, which is currently in bankruptcy.
An independent examiner this week ruled that United Airlines did not mislead its Flight Attendants with regard to changes in retiree healthcare. The airline said that it had not made a decision to change retiree healthcare prior to July 1, 2003. AFA, the union representing United Flight Attendants, said that United had in fact enticed over 2,500 Flight Attendants to retire prior to July 1 with promises that their comprehensive medical benefits would be protected and those who retired after the July 1 date would have their benefits cut and out-of-pocket costs raised. United is expected to emerge from bankruptcy sometime this summer.
US Airways Chief Executive David Siegel this week told employees at that airline that the airline must make additional cuts in order to survive. He said unit costs would have to be reduced from 10 cents to 6 cents in order to compete with the low cost carriers invading its key markets. Siegel went on to say in his message that, “Southwest is coming to Philadelphia in May. . . and they’re coming for one reason: they’re coming to kill us.” Southwest will add Philadelphia, one of US Airway’s largest hubs, as its newest destination in early May.
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.