Representing the Flight Attendants
of American Airlines

Representing the Flight Attendants of American Airlines

10.22.04 – AA’s 3rd Quarter Losses, Reasons for FA Recalls, Communicatioin Among Unions, Stepped up FAA Actions, Base Visits

Hello, this is Tommie Hutto-Blake, APFA President, and this is the APFA Hotline for Friday, October 22nd.

This week I will be discussing AA’s 3rd Quarter losses, the reasons behind current flight attendant recalls, the importance of communication among the three unions on AA’s property, stepped up FAA actions, and upcoming base visits.

By now I feel certain you have heard that AA’s third quarter financial results showed a 214M dollar loss. The third quarter historically is our industry’s strongest quarter. However, this quarter’s history will show major financial distress due to a fuel crisis, tropical storms, and fare wars driven by both low cost carriers as well as network carriers trying to survive bankruptcy status.

Due to these results there will be more changes for our company – schedule changes, aircraft groundings, more employee layoffs, and even more emphasis on how the largest airline in the world can adapt in this volatile environment to not only ensure survival but to restore earnings rather record losses. Profits equates to security for the employees of this company. The question is how do we or rather do we participate in some way to assist in restoring a financial balance for our employer? We are already working hard and making less. We are fatigued on the job and sometimes quiet disheartened by the changes we have faced during the seemingly never ending challenges of this current decade.

I want to feel certain that AA and thus APFA will make it to the other side of these hurdles in the coming months ahead. I believe AA has a chance to be the network carrier to lead a new path. A path that includes labor in all major decisions. Senior management must continue to acknowledge that our efforts are valued and incredibly necessary.

There is a chance that AA and its workers could show our industry and our country that there can be a different way to do business. Of course it will not be easy. No one has the magic formula. But we must try NOT to follow in the paths already made by USAir, United, and Delta.

APFA wants to assure our members that we will be in the forefront of seeking solutions to protect and preserve our wages, workrules and benefits along this new path. Currently, we are recalling FAs not announcing further furloughs. One shining light in this journey is the fact that some of our workforce has finally come of age to begin the first real wave of FAs becoming retiree/pensioners. The stewardesses of the 1960s and early ‘70s have just reached true retirement age and each month are beginning to file their exit notices via Article 36 of our contract. As they retire to become members of our first solid group of pensioners – they are creating a natural attrition for our junior most FAs and furloughees to be recalled to active status.

This is good for all of us! But as they open these active slots for our furloughees we must take on the task of protecting their (and our) future retirement benefits. We can do this together. We can also unite the other labor groups on this property to join in this collective task. Our efforts are much more effective if all of labor on our property begins to work together in a united front. This is our intent!

On another subject – when an industry is in financial distress federal regulators watch us much more closely. Thus, FAA inspectors are on our property (as well as the other carriers) with daily checks regarding all aspects of safety compliance. I urge you to make certain that you are in compliance with all safety related responsibilities. During your safety briefings on the aircraft remind your co-workers to do the same. By calling this union hotline – you indicate that you want to be informed. Please pass on correct information to your colleagues in the field.

Some of our members have recently received rather stiff FAA penalties concerning non-compliance issues. Also, over 3000 of our members have yet to register with the FAA concerning upcoming federal certification for all US FAs. I urge you to submit your certification information if you have not already done so. I have been informed that approximately 200 FAs will be receiving a HI6 notice that due to incomplete certification submissions, a new certification record must be submitted.. If you receive one of these notices please follow the instructions carefully.

Finally, beginning in November, I want to announce that I will be visiting each of the 10 base cities. I plan to visit 2 base cities each month. My initial schedule is to be in the operations area on 2 days during these visits. The first day will be in the pm and the second day in the am. I hope to stick with the following pattern. For example: Day One of a base visit – from 1pm to 4pm in a designated operations area and Day Two – from 9am to noon in the same or another designated area (depending on the size of the base city).

My first two base visits will be DFW on November 10th and 11th and STL on November 15th and 16th. Next week’s Hotline will have more specific information. I look forward to meeting many hundreds of APFA members during these upcoming visits. I know you will have some hard questions for me and I assure you I will respond in a straightforward manner. It is my goal to have as much open and direct dialogue with the FAs I represent as possible. We may not always agree on each and every issue but we must remain engaged in open debate with a continued collective spirit.

And now please stay on the line for the remainder of today’s hotline. Leslie,

 

This is Leslie Mayo with the APFA Hotline for Friday, October 22, 2004.

The Presidential election is next Tuesday, November 2, 2004. APFA urges all members to vote. APFA is endorsing Senator John Kerry for several reasons critical to labor. Please visit www.apfa.org for President Hutto-Blake’s letter in support of Kerry and the specific reasons APFA has chosen to endorse Kerry for President. APFA is endorsing several candidates in this upcoming election who have an incumbent labor voting record in support of unionized workers. A list of these candidates can be found on www.apfa.org.

The 4th Quarter Skyword was mailed this past week. It will be uploaded on the web site by the end of next week in .pdf format.

As Tommie stated last week, APFA’s legal counsel will be in the NY Eastern District Federal Court this coming Tuesday to present oral arguments for the pending motions for partial judgments on dismissing the TWA Flight Attendant Seniority lawsuit. Following these oral arguments by counsel for both the plaintiffs and the defendants in this long standing dispute over Seniority, US District Judge Nina Gershon’s future written ruling on this motion should be announced by year’s end. APFA is most hopeful that a favorable ruling will be forthcoming in this matter.

 

In rumor control this week:

I received several questions in the Communications Department similar to this. Question: Will F/A’s be taking a mandatory pay cut in February 2005?

The company is required to abide by our Current Working Agreement – including the standing wage scales as they were re-negotiated and ratified last year. The only way our workgroup would face further wage cuts is with a newly-ratified agreement by the majority of the APFA membership or at the behest of a Bankruptcy judge following the Company’s filing for bankruptcy in the future.

The Communications Department didn’t receive any questions this week about whether Tommie was giving away our seniority, but I did receive a question about whether Patt Gibbs was the attorney defending TWA’s Seniority. This is simply not true. Thanks for your questions and keep them coming!

From the Health Department, the deadline to sign up for AA Health Benefits is October 31, 2004. During your research for the best plan for you, be sure to check the cost of increasing prescription prices.

The Joint Scheduling Committee held its quarterly meeting this week. Jaimie McNeice, APFA’s National Scheduling Coordinator was accompanied by four fellow Flight Attendants from LAX-I, DFW, and JFK. Some of the agenda items discussed with the company included Reserve Utilization Ranges, restrictions on TTOT lights, and the use of International Reserves on domestic. The next meeting is planned for January 18, 2005. This committee meets in an effort to improve the quality of our daily work life. It is not designed to amend or alter the contract in any way. Please feel free to forward suggested agenda items to the Scheduling Department – email address: scheduling-coordinator@apfa.org.

Crew Resources will be awarding some PVD’s and Mini Leaves for November, prior to the beginning of the month. They will pull Flight Attendant PVD and Mini Leave requests on file on Tuesday, October 26th at 0800 Central time. Crew Schedule will continue to offer PVD’s and Mini Leaves throughout the month as the operation permits.

The company is proffering a Personal Leave of Absence for a four-month period beginning January 1, 2005 – ending April 30, 2005. This proffer will close on November 12th at 0830 Central Time. This ballot is posted at aaflightservice.com under “Special Updates.”

As announced on last week’s hotline, the company has agreed to pay a commission to flight attendants selling duty free on a test basis. The company has also agreed to provide commission on a test basis for main cabin amenity kits on Tokyo flights. This test is scheduled to end on December 31, 2004, depending upon supplies. Amenity kits can be found in the duty free cart and will be sold with Duty Free. Please refer to the latest Flight Service briefing for more details.

Duty Free commission sales will begin November 1st and continuing through March 31, 2005. A six percent commission will be paid to those flight attendants involved in duty free sales divided as follows: the #1 and #3 flight attendants will each receive one half percent commission, and numbers 3,6,7 and 8 on the 767 and 3,6,7 and 9 on the 777 will each receive 1.25 percent commission.

And finally, the company will begin a test to rent Portable Entertainment Devices on a small number of domestic flights beginning November 8th. This will also be a shared-revenue test with six percent of total sales – assuming at least 15 are sold – divided among the cabin crew. APFA’s time study experts from the 777 Arbitration and the 737 grievances will be on-board each test flight to monitor the increased workload this test will place on flight attendants. The test will not be conducted during the peak Thanksgiving and Christmas travel periods. The test is scheduled to conclude on Feb 4, 2005. There will be future briefings prior to the beginning of this test.

APFA will continue to vigorously monitor the workload these tests place on flight attendants. We will also continue to pursue revenue sharing for Flight Attendants with American as they continue to pursue these opportunities.

From the Hotel Department: If you are laying over in Brazil please make use of the in-room safe to store your valuables. We have had a few reports of crewmembers returning to their rooms and finding items missing. If you should find anything missing immediately report it to the hotel management, fill out a police report and notify the APFA Hotel Department upon your return to the United States.

The mini-bars in the rooms at our new Paris hotel are automated and very sensitive. In many cases if you move the item your room will be charged. Please remember to check out at the front desk to ensure sure you were not charged for anything you did not use. Upon confirmation, the hotel will remove the charge and require the flight attendant to sign a final zeroed out bill.

Several hotels are sending bills to individual Flight Attendants for the cost of cleaning a non-smoking room in order to return it to non-smoking condition. These charges can be hundreds of dollars. If you are assigned a room that smells of cigarette smoke, please notify the front desk staff as soon as possible so that you will not be charged.

In industry news, American reported a $214 million loss as compared with a $1 million profit in the same quarter last year. Northwest reported a loss this week of $46 million compared to a $42 million profit the same time last year. Delta reported a $646 Million loss compared with a $164 million loss last year and analysts are predicting a Bankruptcy filing by Delta within days or weeks. Alaska Airlines, on the other hand, posted a profit of $55.9 million and has plans to negotiate new labor agreements.

US Airway’s pilots ratified a concessionary agreement with a 58 percent ‘yes’ vote. The agreement includes an 18 percent wage cut over five years. The contract becomes amendable in 2009 and also includes a reduction in the pilots’ defined contribution plan, an increase in productivity, and equity participation shares in the event of profit sharing. In total, the concessions are worth $1.8 billion over the next five years, which, according to ALPA, brings the total pilot giveback to US Airways to $7 billion.

The furloughs received their base assignments this week. 30 flight attendants will be reporting to DCA Domestic on November 18th, 401 to LaGuardia and 65 to St. Louis.

Welcome back to all of our furloughed flight attendants returning to the line.

Please remember that we still have over 4,500 flight attendants on the street and 20 members on full time military leave serving our country. Thank you for calling the APFA Hotline.

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