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8.25.04 – (LAA) – Tommie Hutton-Blake Installed as APFA President

This is Liz Geiss, national communications coordinator with a special hotline update for August 25, 2004.

Today the APFA Board of Directors acted on a recommendation by the US Department of Labor to consider an appropriate response to the DOL’s findings. In a unanimous vote, the APFA Board of Directors installed Tommie Hutto-Blake as APFA President for the remainder of the term ending March 31, 2008.

Please stay tuned to the hotline later this evening for a personal message from John Ward and APFA President Tommie Hutto-Blake.


Today is August 25, 2004; this is Tommie Hutto-Blake, newly installed APFA President.

By now, you may have heard that the APFA Board of Directors acted unanimously on the findings of the ongoing investigation by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, earlier today. In a letter to John Ward dated August 17, 2004, the DOL Division of Enforcement Chief John Heaney stated (and I quote) “it is the OLMS position that APFA should immediately install candidate Tommie Hutto-Blake to the position of APFA president.” Bottom line: this very close election has been overturned due to the DOL’s ruling that two violations of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act occurred during the runoff election earlier this year.

In short: the DOL determined that 16 ballots previously considered ineligible by APFA should have been considered valid and counted ballots. The DOL opened and counted these ballots on August 12, 2004. John Ward received a total of 7400, and I received a total of 7407. The complete text of this letter appears on the APFA Web site.

Without a doubt, we have a daunting challenge ahead in reuniting our very fractured membership. The primary issue that I want to share with all APFA members in my first Hotline is that your union is secure. We are no longer a divided government on the executive level. I will now join Brett Durkin, APFA VP; Greg Hildreth, APFA Secretary; and Cathy Herman-Lukensmeyer, APFA Treasurer in our collective goal to represent the common interest of the American Airlines Flight Attendants. There will be no changes to our Union’s structure, your Base Representation, or our collective will.

The fear campaign is over – or will be shortly – because I am here tonight to assure you, the APFA members, that along with all of my other responsibilities as president of our union – I remain fully committed to the APFA Board Resolution regarding the Seniority Integration Agreement. I will vigorously protect, enforce, and defend the standing Integration Agreement as it was passed by the APFA Board of Directors in April of 2001.

This issue will no longer continue to divide us and take us away from our focus of standing together shoulder-to-shoulder. We should have no further differences with our brothers and sisters – the former TWA flight attendants and fellow APFA members.

We have spent much too much time focusing on issues that divide us. We must make our collective voices heard as we take on the real issues of restoring our wages, benefits and work rules.

The former President stepped down today following the actions of the Board of Directors to install Tommie Hutto-Blake. John and I will be meeting during the transition to discuss many active issues that we both feel should be in the forefront of our union’s efforts.

I want to announce upcoming round table discussions to be held at APFA HDQ during the month of September regarding the staffing of five departments within APFA. Specific dates and times will be announced on the Hotline this Friday. The primary purpose of these discussions is to offer membership involvement with the leadership of our union. We want to hear your comments and your ideas of how effective the current APFA services are and how you feel these services can improve. From this process of the Health & Safety Summit, the Contract & Scheduling Summit and the Layover Hotel Summit, I will select at least two individuals representing each of these departments to make their presentations to the Executive Committee in September during the next Quarterly Executive Committee meeting. Thus, the EC will assist me in making selections from those interested to fill national coordinator positions for the remainder of the two-year term ending April 2006.

This process was a part of our original “Back on the Right Track” First 100 Days in Office plan. We want to engage our membership by tapping into the future leaders of our union. We want to fully communicate with our membership about our vision for our collective future. This plan begins immediately. We encourage open and honest dialogue with our members.

I plan to have my first membership mailing into the field by the end of next week. I hope it will reach your homes for Labor Day, or soon thereafter! Three years ago we never got to celebrate something that we as a membership did together: our 2001 Contract. The InfoRep Program was a huge part of obtaining that contract. Many of you stepped forward and did your part. We want you back!

During my first ten months in office I hope to cross paths with many of you as I visit each of our ten base cities. Watch for the calendar on our Web site and listen to the APFA Hotline for details on these base city visits. We must move forward and we must do it together.

We have new leadership that will engage, educate, communicate with and train any member who is willing to be an activist in our union. I want YOU to be a part of this new administration. I am “up” for this challenge – please join me in this collective journey of ours.

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