This is George Price, APFA National Communications Coordinator, with a special APFA Hotline Update for Monday, April 19, 2004.
APFA has been informed by crew manning that it will be necessary to post new international reserve lines for all international bases. The changes will show new duty free period combinations. The revised information will be posted on Jetnet. International Flight Attendants who are on reserve or are bidding onto reserve in May should review the revisions being made to the reserve lines and change their bid ballot as needed. This revision only affects international reserves.
In addition, May bids are now scheduled to close at 0500 on May 21st.
Now, please stay on the line for the regular APFA Hotline.
Hello. This is George Price, APFA National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, April 16, 2004.
On Wednesday, April 14th, the APFA released a statement to the press regarding a letter placed in Flight Attendant mailboxes in LGA, JFK, BOS, BOSI, DCA, and DCAI from the Managing Director of Flight Service Northeast Region John Tiliacos. In the letter, Tiliacos reviewed insulting statements made by undisclosed corporate customers about Flight Attendants and the service we provide. At no point did Mr. Tiliacos offer a positive solution to the issues he raised in his letter. The statement released by the APFA said that Tiliacos’s letter “brought American Airlines Flight Service to a new low.” It also pointed out that just six days after the date of the letter, American received the Five Star Diamond Award for hospitality, outstanding service, and commitment to delivering a premium product for travelers worldwide from the Academy of Hospitality Services. APFA LGA and JFK Reps also responded with a joint letter to Mr. Tiliacos, which can be found on the LGA and JFK base pages on the APFA Web site. The complete text of the APFA Press release can also be found on the web site. APFA Reps from the northeast bases have scheduled meetings with Tiliacos and Lauri Curtis to discuss the contents of the letter.
The Company, including Lauri Curtis, has responded to criticism of the letter by telling Flight Attendants that the letter was not meant to be offensive, but in fact was meant to be “open and honest” about some of the feedback the Company receives from customers. Ms. Curtis in her hotline message of April 15th calls on the APFA for assistance in helping resolve the Company’s problems with customer service. APFA has been trying to work with the Company for months on this very issue. We have pointed out the extremely low morale that exists as a result of such things as reduced layover rest, no food for Flight Attendants on long flights, and constant reassignments. Flight Attendant fatigue can and does affect a Flight Attendant’s ability to provide the very best customer service we all know American Flight Attendants are dedicated to providing and have been recognized for time and time again. The APFA has been and will continue to be ready to seriously discuss solutions with the Company that will increase Flight Attendant morale and ultimately improve customer service.
The APFA Executive Committee met in special session this week. Among the business conducted by the EC was the confirmation of administrative positions within the APFA including Coordinators and Division Representatives.
The new APFA Coordinators are as follows:
Communications-Liz Geiss, DFW
Contract-Jena Hopkins, DFW
Health-George Berry, IDF
Hotel-Patty Bias, SFO
Safety-Joann Matley, BOSI
Scheduling-Vicki Dale, JFK
The new Division Representatives are:
Division 1 representing the bases of LAX, LAXI, and IDF is Jeff Crecelius
Division 2 representing the bases of DFW and IOR is Kim Boyett
Division 3 representing the bases of SFO, SFOI, ORD, STL and SLT is Lori Bassani
Division 4 representing the bases of IMA, MIA, DCA, DCAI, and RDUI is Barbara Rives
Division 5 representing the bases of BOS, BOSI, LGA and JFK is Leslie Mayo
The new Coordinators and Division Representatives will begin their two-year term of office on May 1st.
Among the resolutions passed by the EC during their meeting were resolutions recommending the APFA Board of Directors direct the National Ballot Committee to prepare a ballot on a dues reduction separate from a ballot on any other recommended Constitutional changes; recommending that the APFA President schedule quarterly Executive Committee meetings at various base cities on a rotating basis in reverse alphabetical order; and, directing the APFA Communications Department to publish a new publication entitled “Skyword Express” beginning in June 2004.
Once APFA Secretary Greg Hildreth has formalized all of the documents from the meeting including the minutes and resolutions, they will be posted on the APFA Web site under “EC/BOD Meeting.”
The APFA Board of Directors also met this week to discuss and consider recommendations for changes to the APFA Constitution. The meeting is still ongoing at the time of this recording. Any recommended changes endorsed by the Board will be sent to the APFA membership for ratification. It takes a majority of those members casting valid ballots to make changes to the APFA Constitution. The APFA Board passed a resolution in March at the Annual Convention that requires that the membership be balloted on changes to the Constitution and a decrease in dues by June 1, 2004. More on this week’s APFA Board of Directors Meeting will be included on this hotline, the web site, and in Skyword.
An update on the EPT Homestudy-Hard copies of the homestudy were to be shipped to the bases this week. Flight Attendants will now have the choice of completing the Homestudy on-line or through a hard copy. If you want the printed version, check with your local Flight Service office.
Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta told representatives of the European Union that the United States would not agree to cabotage and that the U.S. Congress would be unlikely to change the law regarding cabotage any time soon. Mineta made the statement during talks on a transatlantic Open Aviation Area. Cabotage would allow point-to-point flying within the U.S. by foreign carriers. A recent letter opposing cabotage was sent to Secretary Mineta on April 8th and is posted on the President’s page of the APFA Web site.
From the APFA Hotel Department-The APFA and APA conducted hotel reviews in Paris and Rome months ago. The Company has yet to give Flight Attendants or Pilots the courtesy of providing a decision on layover hotel assignments in these cities. We continue to push for a decision, but nothing is forthcoming. The APFA can only assume that layovers in Paris and Rome will once again be at the airport for the month of May. This is very disconcerting for all of the crewmembers who bid these layovers and for the APFA who has done its part in helping select an appropriate long layover hotel.
Also from Hotels-The APFA National Officers along with APFA Hotel Coordinator Patty Bias recently met with Lauri Curtis on the issue of London/Heathrow layovers. The Company had scheduled some Flight Attendants with long layovers at the airport location while Pilots with the same layover times were being placed at the downtown hotel. This problem has been rectified and, effective May 1, there will no longer be any discrepancy between Flight Attendant and Pilot layover accommodations.
On April 21st, APFA members from all over the system will take to Capitol Hill to discuss Flight Attendant reduced layover rest with members of Congress. Those who have already committed to this event have been contacted by the APFA to confirm their participation. Appointments with members of Congress and their staff have been confirmed. If you would like to join us on April 21st, you will need to contact APFA IMA Vice Chair Rick Musica at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 817-540-0108 or 1-800-395-2732, extension 8462 as soon as possible. Provide Rick with your name, base, employee number, phone number, and your nine-digit Zip Code or Congressional District. Details of the lobby event including the lobby event information packet, transportation information, and maps of the Washington area have been posted on the opening page of the APFA Web site. Participants are encouraged to review this information and become familiar with the information prior to arriving at the meeting location. The attire of the day will be the Flight Attendant uniform and a comfortable pair of walking shoes. If you have been unable to commit to participating in the lobby effort up to this point and your plans change, please feel free to join us at the initial meeting location which is the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill located at 400 New Jersey Avenue at 0930 Eastern Time.
When bidding for the month of May, please keep in mind that the APFA will join other Flight Attendant unions in Washington, D.C. on May 12th in order to lobby Congress on the issues of reduced layover rest, Flight Attendant fatigue, and Flight Attendant safety and security training. This is expected to be a very big event. While in D.C., the various unions will present the Transportation Security Agency with letters signed by their respective membership urging 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. If you have not already sent in your signed TSA letter, which was recently sent to all APFA represented Flight Attendants, please do so no later than May 7th. The letter can be sent to the attention of the APFA Communications Department, 1004 West Euless Blvd, Euless, Texas 76040 or dropped in any APFA lockbox system wide. 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. If you no longer have a copy of the TSA letter, you can obtain one on-line through the APFA Web site. APFA represents nearly 25,500 Flight Attendants who are equally affected by the issues outlined in the TSA letter. We must present literally thousands of the signed letters to the TSA on May 12th. Send your letter in today if you have not already and encourage your flying partners to do the same.
As we have said for many weeks now, documentation is critical when addressing the issue of reduced layover rest and fatigue with members of Congress and regulatory agencies. Please take a moment, if you have not already, and complete the Reduced Layover Rest Survey on the opening page of the APFA Web site. If you would like, you can also forward a copy of any HI3 to the APFA Safety Department through U.S. Mail or drop them in any APFA Lockbox systemwide. The Fatigue Survey conducted by the University of Denver in cooperation with the APFA concluded on April 16th. The information members provided will be useful. As soon as the results have been compiled and published, we will pass it along to the membership through the web site, the hotline, and Skyword.
APFA has been made aware that Management is considering a mandatory training class for all customer contact employees including Flight Attendants. The training under consideration will deal with customer service issues. APFA has voiced our concern over the timing and necessity of such training. If Management insists on proceeding with this training, it will be paid at training rates of pay outlined in our contract.
The first third of AMR stock options for eligible employees vest on April 17, 2004. The Company has provided a great deal of information on the Broad Based Stock Option Plan on Jetnet. A deep link to this information has been posted on the APFA Web site. Eligible employees should read the information they were sent by the Company and access the information on Jetnet in order to become more familiar with the stock option plan.
In Rumor Control:
Has American offered to reinstate our 2001 Contract if we accept its terms for ten years? No. The Company has made no such offer. APFA and American may enter into early negotiations for a new contract in 2006.
Is it true that the Department of Defense has proposed allowing foreign carriers to transport U.S. troops? The New York Times reported the Defense Department was considering such a move. However, APFA has received information that indicates this report may be inaccurate. Just in case, APFA members are urged to contact their members in Congress to object to any change in policy that would allow foreign carriers to transport U.S. Troops and sacrifice American jobs! Members can use the Capwiz feature of the APFA Web site found on the Government Affairs page to contact their senators and representative.
In Industry News:
American said this week that it would need to cut an additional $400 million in annual costs to offset losses resulting from higher fuel costs. James Beer, AMR Chief Financial Officer, was quoted in news reports as saying that American would not look to employees for additional concessions. Beer said that the airline signed five-year deals with the unions, and they intend to adhere to those agreements. He said the airline must look throughout the organization to identify other ways to conduct business.
American Airlines has been ordered to pay the Allied Pilots Association $23 million for violating their contract through improperly using subcontracted flights. The issue involved a contract with the American Connection carrier, which was inherited by American when they acquired TWA. The arbitrator’s decision is final and binding.
American Eagle Pilots began contract negotiations with their airline this week. Although the union is under a 16-year contract, it does have the right to open for amendment every four years. Their contract does not allow the union to strike and requires that all outstanding issues be resolved through binding arbitration.
Delta renewed its call for concessions from its Pilots after posting a $387 million first quarter loss. Delta is asking for a 30% pay cut. Pilots have offered a 9% pay cut and waiving of a 4.5% pay raise scheduled to go into affect May 1. Delta CEO Gerald Grinstein has eluded to the possibility of “dramatic and radical changes” to return the Company to profitability and avoid bankruptcy.
Southwest has called on TWU Local 556 to show its latest contract offer to Flight Attendants for consideration. The union says this type of tactic is in essence negotiating directly with the membership and bypassing the union. Negotiations have been ongoing for two years and are currently proceeding with aid of a federal mediator. Flight Attendants are asking for pay raises similar to those that were provided in other contracts at the airline.
That is it for this edition of the APFA Hotline. For the latest information, past editions of the hotline, and rumor control, please visit the APFA Web site.
There are 5,760 American Airlines Flight Attendants currently on furlough.
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