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10.29.04 – (LAA) – Skyword, Election Day, Duty Free Commissions, Four-month Leave of Absence Proffer, FA FAA Certification, Health Benefits

Hello, this is Tommie Hutto-Blake, APFA President, and this is the APFA Hotline for Friday, October 29.

This week I will be discussing APFA’s most recent publication – Skyword, and Election Day – Tuesday, November 2, 2004.

I hope you have taken the time to review the current Skyword – our union’s quarterly publication mailed to all of our APFA membership. This editionis the first Skyword published under my administration. The primary theme is the importance of just ONE VOTE. Please make certain you review the inside cover of Skyword listing events in our nation’s history when one vote had so much impact on the outcome of an election. These facts are both interesting and empowering considering the elections ahead of us next week.

As an example women won the right to vote in 1920 by the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Tennessee, the last state needed to pass this amendment, ratified the 19th Amendment by just one vote.

Many of you have already participated in early voting procedures or submitted your absentee ballots prior to Tuesday’s election. I want to compliment your efforts in making certain your vote will be counted during these most important coming elections. I hope to see a restoredinterest in the voting process for those Americans who are registered voters. Our nation’s current focus on this guaranteed right and privilege in our great democracy is uplifting no matter who you have personally decided to support by casting your vote at the ballot box.

As the leader of our Union I have a responsibility to speak out on important issues. There can be nothing more important than the decision as to who will lead our country for the next four years. APFA has endorsed Senator John Kerry for President for many reasons. He supported direct aid and loan guarantees to airlines following 9/11, as well as the increase of cargo security and passenger screening, the ban of permanent replacement workers in a strike and the outsourcing of U.S. airline workers’s jobs. I am not telling you who to vote for but it is important that you know why APFA has endorsed Senator Kerry for President. A Union’s primary goal is job protection and I truly believe we will realize a higher level of job security under John Kerry.

Thank you for calling the your Union’s Hotline and now, please stay on the line for the rest of APFA’s news for this week. Leslie:


This is Leslie Mayo with the remainder of APFA’s Hotline for Friday, October 29, 2004.

This week I will be addressing the duty free commissions, the four-month leave of absence proffer, Flight Attendant FAA Certification, Health Benefits enrollment, Skyword, more rumors and Industry News.

The duty free commission test will begin on November 1, 2004. We hope this test will lead to a permanent commission that Flight Attendants will benefit from for years to come. Forward any feedback you have regarding this program to the APFA Contract Department at Subject line: Duty Free Commission.

The January to April Personal Leave of Absence proffer will close on November 12th at 8:30 a.m. central time. The proffer ballot is available on the flight service website under the special updates section.

FAA Certification deadline is this Sunday, October 31, 2004. The Government requires that all Flight Attendants working for U.S. Flag Carriers must submit the required certification information by the deadline. Some F/As who have already filled out their information will be contacted and asked to resubmit their data due to previously submitting incorrect information. All returning furloughees have until November 17, 2004, to complete their FAA Certification.

The certification process is very simple to complete. Please go to and click on “My Info”, then “Submit Your FAA Certification Data.” You must supply a physical address not a PO Box or Rural Route. Once you confirmed all of your information is correct, click on confirm.

Health Benefits enrollment with American Airlines ends this Sunday, as well. Visit to complete your Health Benefits options for the year 2005.

Skyword is in the field and should be in your mailbox shortly, if it hasn’t already arrived. Please email, subject “Missing Skyword” if you haven’t received your Skyword as of Monday, November 8, 2004. Skyword is delivered bulk rate to save on shipping costs. It can take up to three weeks to arrive at your homes. It is also available for downloading online at APFA’s website at in .pdf format.

And finally, in rumor control, I received a very detailed message from a flight attendant this week so I thought I would share part of it with you. It is my hope that no one is spreading false information on purpose – but I thank this flight attendant for bringing these issues to my attention so that all of us will be well-informed in case someone is purposely spreading misinformation”

Q: I just flew a trip with someone who said she volunteered for years at the Union. She gave me an earful about how Tommie will be giving our Seniority away because of a “loophole” in the first Seniority Integration Agreement. She also told me that the new Hotel Coordinator has less than a month of experience with the Union, however, I read the new Skyword and it says our Hotel Coordinator has experience as a Reserve Rep, a Dispute Resolution Rep and as the JFK Hotel Rep. That’s a lot of experience for under a month’s time. Is this just sour grapes talking? Please clarify.

A: Your instincts are correct. As we all know, rumors are founded on the concept of the old telephone game. Once someone makes that first call – a rumor can be passed on and on and sometimes distorted into something pretty outrageous. Thank you for checking official APFA sources for accurate information. Skyword is an excellent source of factual information. Though it is published four times a year following a Board Resolution due to budget constraints, you have APFA’s website, the weekly Hotline and Rumor Control to clarify any rumor.

To address your questions, regarding the “first Seniority Integration Agreement” there is only one SIA. It is on the APFA website and it is very clear where APFA stands on the issue of seniority. In fact, oral briefs were presented on a motion to dismiss the case in its entirety this week by APFA’s attorneys in New York District Court. We are hoping for a favorable outcome from the judge in the months to come.

As far as the current Hotel Coordinator’s experience – the APFA Policy Manual mandates that all National Coordinators must have a minimum of one year’s experience as a National Officer, Base Chair, Vice Chair, or cumulative one year’s experience as a Base Council Rep for the position s/he is seeking, among the other requirements as outlined in the Policy Manual prior to be considered for an appointment. As we reported in Skyword, Dane Townsend, who was appointed by President Hutto-Blake and confirmed by APFA’s Executive Committee, has experience not only as the JFK Hotel Rep, but is also Dispute Resolution trained and represented Kennedy as the Reserve Representative.

United Airlines reported a $274 million loss as compared to its $367 million loss it reported a year ago. United executives said the airline may need to cut labor costs again because higher fuel costs and lower fares are making it difficult for the carrier to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

Delta reported a $651 million loss this quarter compared to a $168 million loss the same time last year. It blamed fuel prices and pilot wages as its downfall. Delta’s pilots reached a tentative agreement Wednesday that could save the company $1 billion. This T/A includes a 32.5 percent paycut and the option to buy 30 million shares of Delta’s common stock – equaling 15% equity stake in the company. Delta’s pilots have been the highest paid pilots in the airline industry for years. Delta’s CEO says that even if the pilots ratified the new contract, the airline could still seek the protection of bankruptcy.

US Airways reported a $232 million loss this quarter compared to a $90 million loss a year ago. It blamed fuel, low prices and the weather.

Southwest Airlines states it might bid for the latest bankrupt airline’s assets: ATA at Chicago’s Midway airport. Even though AirTran has offered to purchase ATA’s assets, a bankruptcy judge will have the final say.

It looks like even JetBlue can’t escape rising fuel costs. JetBlue reported third-quarter profits at $8.4 million from $29 million a year ago. It also blamed lower fares, the cost of jet fuel and bad weather for its profit drop.

That’s it for this week – don’t forget to turn your clocks back an hour effective Sunday morning, October 31, 2004, at 2:00 a.m. And please remember that we have more than 4,500 furloughed flight attendants on the street and 20 members of the armed forces serving full time to defend our country.

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