Good Morning – it is Saturday, October 16 @ 9am CST – this is Tommie Hutto-Blake, APFA President, and this is a Special Update to this week’s APFA Hotline.
Today we are announcing a Joint Labor Management test agreement to be effective November 1, 2004. Beginning with the November bid month international duty free bid positions will receive a vendor provided duty free commission for all duty free flights selling over a threshold of $200 of duty free products. Once the $200 duty free threshold is met on any given duty free sales flight a 6% commission of the total sales will be divided in agreed to proportional levels for FAs with duty free responsibilities. Again, this 6% commission will be divided among the cabin positions involved in actual duty free sales or cabin positions with duty free administration responsibilities.
The cabin positions who will be receiving the designated sales or administrative commissions are: 767 – positions 1, 3, 6, 7 and 8; 777 – positions 1, 3, 6, 8 and 9. Yes, we realize that there is seasonal flying on the 757 out of BOSI with duty free sales. The commission positions will be designated prior to the startup of this equipment change.
Next week both a HI6 message and a Special Flight Service Briefing explaining this test agreement will be issued to all international FAs. The vendor will be totally responsible for the distribution of duty free commission checks. I wish to thank the following union advocates who have worked with me on this project – Contract Coordinator Brent Peterson, IDF Base Chair Steve Watson, DCA Chair Tim Weston and DFW Chair Chris O’Kelley. This APFA Team worked with Lauri Curtis, Flt Svc VP, and her team to put this duty free commission test program in place. There has been basic duty free commission language in our contract for years – we are pleased to finally make this a reality.
A second test for a specific product will be up in only one market during this test as well. In only US gateway – NRT flights a coach amenity kit will be for sale along with the duty free products and the commission on this product will be $1 for each sale. Again, the vendor will be providing the commission checks to all FAs involved.
As a suggestion if you are an International FA and plan to bid a selection involving duty free sales make certain you read the Special Duty Free Test written announcements before filing your bid.
Labor and Management have a number of other joint discussion groups continuing ongoing dialogue regarding a number of other topics which could improve the work environment of all of our members. It is our desire to be announcing other enhancements to the quality of our work lives in the weeks ahead.
We will continue to review the possibilities of other shared revenue programs. APFA must be willing to think aside the box and seek solutions to the many changes and challenges that face us on today’s AA property. Please continue to send us your ideas and suggestions.
For all domestic FAs who worked the Buy on Board test flights – I urge you to participate in the surveys that were mailed from APFA headquarters this week. We watched this program carefully and we need your input before any final decisions can be made.
Now please stay on the line for the regular weekly APFA Hotline.
Hello, this is Tommie Hutto-Blake, President of APFA, and this is the APFA hotline for Friday, October 15th.
As a reminder, the registered voters in our country have 19 days to decide who we will be supporting in the US Presidential election. Further, the election of all of the members of the US House of Representatives, some very important US Senate races and significant state governor elections will be on the November 2nd ballot. Again, your union is not telling you how to vote – however, we are urging you to participate in this election with your right and obligation to vote – and we are informing you which candidates your elected leaders, both past and present, have endorsed and how union members in this country can impact this election by voting for candidates who support a workers right to protect and preserve long sought for wages, workrules and benefits. The list of candidates that APFA has officially endorsed are current elected officials who already have a solid voting record for labor issues in our country.
Our list of endorsements includes: John Kerry for US President, John Edwards for US VP, Nevada Senator Harry Reid, North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, Washington State Senator Patty Murray, Oregon Senator Ron Wynden, California Senator Barbara Boxer, RI Senator Jack Reed, Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln, Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, Conn Senator Chris Dodd and Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold. We have also endorsed the following members of the House of Representatives who have already signed on to the Congressional letters to AA CEO Gerard Arpey concerning FA fatigue as well as the letter to TSA Administrator Stone regarding FA Security Training: TX Representative Martin Frost, Oregon Rep Peter DeFazio, NY Rep Jerold Nadler, TX Rep Eddie Bernice Johnson, Virginia Rep Jim Moran, Massachusetts Rep Michael Capuano, and Ill Rep Jan Schadowsky. We have also endorsed Claire McCaskill for Governor of Missouri. Claire is the sister of retired AA FA Anne Moroh, former APFA Treasurer. If you are constituents of any of these candidates we urge you to support them with your vote.
This last week here in the DFW area the Base Chairs, VChairs, DRs, Nat Coordinators and Executive Committee came together for 2 days of leadership training designed by APFA’s national officers with the assistance of both internal and outside expert trainers. Your elected and appointed leadership were active participants in these workshops which included topics as diverse as the AA FA pension plan, and the protection of same, board governance and parliamentary training, reviewing the proposal for the 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial Foundation, having an interactive presentation with the CFO of AA, and reviewing the preliminary report from the APFA Election Procedure Task Force. This was time well spent – having your leadership working together to be better prepared to formulate our future institutional goals for the APFA and the AA Fas.
Tomorrow morning I will have an update to this HOTLINE that will be released by both flight service and APFA announcing a new premium form of pay for certain bid positions on international flights. To all international FAs please call back to learn of this new program before filing your November bid.
APFA legal counsel will be making oral arguments in the NY Eastern District Federal Court on Tuesday, October 26th, these arguments are regarding the pending motions for partial judgments on the pleadings to dismiss the initial complaints filed by former TWA FAs concerning bidding seniority rights. Vice President Brett Durkin and other APFA leaders will be in the court to observe this process. Following these oral arguments by counsel for both the plaintiffs and the defendants in this long standing dispute, US District Judge Nina Gershon’s future written ruling on this motion should be announced by years end. APFA is most hopeful that a favorable ruling will be forthcoming in this matter.
Now stay on the line for the remainder of today’s Hotline, Leslie. . .
This is Leslie Mayo with the rest of the APFA Hotline for Friday, October 15, 2004.
Today marks the day that 5,000 flight attendants who flew eligible understaffed 777 flights without an F/A #12 onboard beginning April of 2002 will receive an award worth $10 million dollars. APFA would like to thank the 777-Staffing Team led by former APFA Vice President Jeff Bott, as well as those APFA members who testified in the Arbitration and those who worked these understaffed flights and reported your findings in APFA’s surveys that enabled this landmark award.
Final numbers are in for those furloughed flight attendants who have been offered recall effective November 17, 2004. 496 of the most senior 610 furloughed flight attendants on the system seniority list have accepted the offer of recall, 57 have rejected the offer, and the remaining 57 did not respond by the deadline. The first training class will begin on October 20th, with three classes to follow. APFA welcomes you back to the line and reminds you to please stay informed by calling the Hotline and checking the Web site for up-to-date information.
The JFK Base Vice Chair ballot count was held yesterday, October 14, 2004. The results are as follows: Suzanne Edwards received 596 votes, Sonny Huynh received 41 votes, Maurilio Ruiz received 87 votes and Cheryl Stewart-Gaymon received 71 votes. Suzanne Edwards is the newly elected JFK Vice Chair to serve the remainder of the term ending March 31, 2005. For a complete breakdown of the balloting, please check the APFA website at www.www.apfa.org.
A survey was mailed October 14th to all flight attendants who worked a Buy on Board test flight. This survey is being conducted by the same independent experts that APFA utilized during the 777 Presidential Arbitration. This survey asks for responses to only one specific Buy on Board flight worked by each of the flight attendants. If you are one of the flight attendants receiving the survey, it is important that you complete and return your survey no later than Oct. 25, 2004, to the address contained in your mailer. Please DO NO return it to APFA or in any APFA lockbox. Our outside aviation experts will tabulate and analyze the results and compile a report for APFA to determine what course of action we will adopt, staffing included, relative to any permanent Buy on Board products the company plans to implement.
The rumor mill grew some new legs this past week and I’d like to take a few moments to break them one at a time. To start, Tommie’s hotline message received quite a bit of attention last week. Somehow, her message was misinterpreted by some as an attempt to invite another Union on the property. This could be no further from the truth. Tommie’s Hotline addressed the need for a financially secure Union and asked us, the membership, to put an end to the divisiveness. Hopefully, we have responded to those of you who were concerned about the intent, but in case we didn’t reach everyone who may have heard this piece, please be assured, it is fiction. In fact, it is a violation of Article VII,1.B., of the Constitution to advocate or work toward the displacement of APFA as our bargaining representative. Further, Tommie was on the 1999 Anti-Raid Committee following another union’s attempt to card our members following the failure of T/A 1 in September.
Next, there is a rumor circulating that in order for the APFA Board of Directors to avoid a lawsuit by the DOL for violation of Section 401(e) of the LMRDA following the April National Officer election, there was more than one option. The rumor states that not only could the Board have installed Tommie Hutto-Blake as President, but instead they could have opted for an entirely new election for the Office Of President. This is simply not true. Please refer to the August 17, 2004, letter from DOL Chief Investigator John Heaney of the Office of Labor-Management Standards (or OLMS) to John Ward specifying the DOL’s position: I quote: “it is the OLMS position that APFA should immediately install candidate Tommie Hutto-Blake to the position of APFA president. APFA’s voluntary installation of Ms. Hutto-Blake to president for the remainder of the term will remedy the violations of Section 401(e) that occurred during the runoff election.”
And finally, back to the rumor that has a battery life all its own, one flight attendant asked my office if APFA will use the exorbitant cost of lawsuits filed against our Union (a list of which is published in this next Skyword) as an excuse to choose to mediate the Seniority Integration lawsuit. To dig even deeper, apparently in this rumor, this mediator is bound to find in TWA’s favor and the Union reps will feel absolved of any responsibility (nevermind the fact that these same union reps will return to the line and live under this Agreement) because the Mediator made the decision, not the leadership. To clarify, a mediator does not make a decision. A mediator brings the parties together to agree on a position. The APFA Board of Directors has already decided how the Seniority Integration with TWA is to be handled and that is the current Seniority list as it stands today. APFA will do nothing less but defend the Current Seniority Integration Agreement as it stands today. If I spoke Chinese and Farsi I would translate this message in those languages as well. This case lies in the Courts. This is a lawsuit that is filed in District Court and a judge will either dismiss or hear the case.
From the Health Department: those flight attendants who are on an unpaid leave will not be able to sign up for medical benefits until they return to work. Upon returning to work you will have 30 days to enroll in the medical benefits plan.
Benefits for flight attendants who are currently on STD or LTD will continue as long as premiums continue to be paid.
And finally, due to the nation wide shortage of flu vaccine, AA medical will not be supplying its employees with flu shots. AA medical will let us know if this situation changes.
In APFA’s continued effort to bring the FAA’s attention to inadequate rest periods provided under the Flight Attendant Duty and Rest Regulations, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) agreed to send a letter to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey asking her to review the regulations and make changes. A large number of Senators’ signatures will indicate that the Senate takes flight attendant fatigue seriously. So urge your senators to sign onto Senator Boxer’s letter by sending a message from www.apfa.org.
Following the APFA Executive Committee’s resolutions of endorsement at the last quarterly meeting, APFA has listed its endorsements for those candidates we believe will enhance our occupation on the APFA web site. Please visit www.apfa.org for a list of candidates before you vote on November 2, 2004. You may also view several press releases sent out this week in support of these candidates. If you have not registered to vote and it’s not too late to do so in your area, there is a link to complete this process. If you are unable to vote on the 2nd, there is also a link on our site to sign up for absentee balloting. Please don’t forget to vote.
Also, if you’ve not already done so, please visit your Union web site to urge your Senators and Representatives to award the Chicago to Shanghai route to American Airlines. This will mean more Flight Attendant jobs and the prospect of even more furloughed flight attendants returning to the line.
With oil prices per barrel increasing to $54 this week, it is more important now than ever to visit www.apfa.org and send a message to your representatives in an effort to lower fuel prices. Every $1 per barrel rise equivocates to approximately 80 million extra dollars in unanticipated annual expenses for American. There is no end in site to the increasing prices. On that note, we urge you to visit the web site and review the endorsements for president, senate and congressional candidates as well prior to voting on November 2nd. As we have mentioned before, APFA endorses John Kerry for President for several different reasons. Please visit the web site
APFA has been advised that over the next several weeks the FAA will be making random Flight Attendant Safety Manual checks at several bases system wide. Per FAR 121.137(b) “Each person to whom a manual is furnished shall keep it up to date with changes and additions…” If an FAA Cabin Inspector boards your aircraft and finds that your manual is out of date, you are subject to a personal fine of up to $1,100 per violation. Let’s say for example, you have 3 bulletins that should have been removed and 1 revision that hadn’t been inserted by the specified date. If that were the case and a cabin inspector discovered this, you may be fined four separate violations and be faced with up to $4,400 in fines.
The deadline for submitting your information for Flight Attendant Certification is October 31, 2004. As of today’s date, approximately 5,000 AA Flight Attendants have still not signed up. The Federal Government requires that all U.S. Flag Carrier crewmembers must complete this process by the deadline stated. To do so, you may go to www.AAFlightService.com. In the top right hand corner of the screen in “My Info” box click on “Submit your FAA certification data.” Please note that you may not supply a P.O. Box or Rural Route as your physical address. Verify that all information you enter is correct before you click “confirm”. Once you have clicked confirm, any subsequent changes in data must be made through the FAA. Once again the deadline is: October 31, 2004.
The strike continues in New York at the short layover hotel. As of Monday, October 18th all inbound crews have been and will continue to be relocated to our new permanent hotel property. Unfortunately, due to the number of layovers we have per night, we will be utilizing two hotels. Please check your HIHTL to confirm where you will be laying over.
Although the strike in San Francisco had a proposed end date of, October 14th it is still ongoing. Crews will continue being housed at the relocation hotel.
Skyword will be mailed beginning Friday, October 15th. If you are on the Skyword online no-mail list, please be on the lookout for Skyword to be posted on the Web site next week. We have nearly 400 members who have elected to receive Skyword online which will save the Union hundreds of dollars in printing and postage. If you would like to receive Skyword online and not the hard copy to your home, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and in the subject please put: Skyword Online. Include your full name, physical address, email address and employee number and we will remove you from the physical mailing list and send you an email alert when the magazine is published online in pdf format.
Please remember that we still have, as of November 17, 2004, 4541 furloughed flight attendants on the street and 20 members in the armed forces not necessarily out of harm’s way.
Thank you for calling the APFA Hotline