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11.05.04 – (LAA) – Presidential Base Visits, NTSB Sunshine Hearings for Flight 587, More Recalls, Retirement Seminars

Hello, this is Tommie Hutto-Blake and this is the APFA Hotline for Friday, November 05, 2004.

This week I will be discussing moving beyond the national elections and refocusing on our industry and our jobs, the challenges that we face on AA’s property as labor & management struggle to chart a different path, my upcoming base visits during both November and December, and finally news on the Seniority Integration Lawsuit.

Our nation has the national elections behind us and we as a labor group – the APFA, must now refocus and move forward to both protect our jobs and work together toward that end. Since I have personally heard from so many members on the issue of the national elections and why APFA under both the Ward administration and the Hutto-Blake administration endorsed one party’s candidate I feel compelled to state once again that the APFA leadership based our endorsement judgments on which party has historically supported the labor side rather than the corporate side of issues. Again, our endorsements were totally based on protecting our jobs, the current labor laws, and the current established rights of workers in this great country of ours.

In the years ahead it will become even more critical for our collective voices to be heard in our nation’s capitol during any upcoming battles concerning protecting our rights as airline workers.

This week AMR senior management, lead by Gerard Arpey, held a meeting with financial analysts and aviation investors. The purpose of this gathering was to generate trust in the financial community that AA is going to be a survivor in this industry in peril. We are the largest airline in the world and without a doubt we have taken one financial hit after another, but both labor and management leaders on this property are determined we will make it to the other side of our current challenges, still intact and stronger for our struggles. Labor was not present during these meetings. The three labor unions on AA property were thoroughly briefed by senior management both before and following these analysts’ discussions.

We will continue these direct leadership discussions on Monday, November 8 with Gerard and his senior staff. APFA will be at this “joint leaders” table representing the flight attendant interests. The three AA labor unions – APFA/TWU/ & APA, together with senior management have every intention of designing a paradigm for our company that is very different from the one we have been watching emerge on the properties of United, USAir and Delta. Our intention is to have collaborative effort to both turn this company around, while protecting our labor contracts and the interests of all of the AA employees. These are new waters to be charted in an industry historically full of labor/management strife – sometimes to the point of destroying the airline itself. The three labor unions will meet on November 18th, without management, to both discuss our collective futures and a joint labor approach.

Next week I begin my Base Visits. I plan to visit 2 of our 10 base cities during each month from November thru March. I hope to meet many of you during these visits. I will be in the operations area seeking your input and answering your questions. I plan to have both local APFA representatives and some of our national representatives with me at the different base cities. I greatly look forward to receiving your direct thoughts.

On Wednesday, November 10th I will be in the IDF operations area in the afternoon and the following morning in the DFW operations area. On Monday, November 15th I will be in the STL operations area in the afternoon and again early the next morning. In December I plan to visit the operations areas at LGA, JFK, EWR and BOS. These dates will be announced next week.

This administration has every intention of keeping the APFA membership fully engaged as we face our future challenges. Input from each of you on a one to one is so important. Though I cannot personally meet with each of you I can request your input viaa membership survey. In the weeks ahead your officers plan to do just that. This survey will be a web based and your input will be compiled by the Survey Research Center of the University of North Texas.

As reported in a previous Hotline oral arguments to protect the current Seniority Integration Agreement were made by APFA legal counsel during a hearing in the Eastern District Federal Court last week. Judge Nina Gershon had requested these oral arguments to further reiterate APFA’s request to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the former TWA now furloughed AA Flight Attendant’s. We are currently awaiting Judge Gershon’s written ruling. A favorable ruling on our motion to dismiss would give court approvable to our current AA Flight Attendant Seniority List. To have this lawsuit behind us would be a great way to close out this year!

Now please stay on the line for the remainder of this week’s Hotline. Leslie, Thanks Tommie.

This is Leslie Mayo with the rest of the APFA Hotline. Today’s Friday, November 5, 2004.

This week I will be addressing the NTSB Sunshine Hearings for flight 587, details for a memorial in Belle Harbour New York in honor of 587, American Airlines furlough news, furloughee access to jetnet, retirement seminars, rumor control, AVBL days at the end of the month, January through April LOA proffer, Personal Entertainment Devices and Industry News including some information about United Airlines attempts to terminate all of its employee pension plans.

Members of APFA’s Safety Department attended the Sunshine hearings at the NTSB in Washington, D.C., last week for the probable cause findings of the crash of American Airlines flight 587 on November 12, 2001.

The NTSB determined that the probable cause was “The in-flight separation of the vertical stabilizer as a result of the loads beyond ultimate design that were created by the First Officer’s unnecessary and excessive rudder pedal inputs. Contributing to these rudder inputs were characteristics of the A300-600 rudder system design as well as elements of the American Airlines Advanced Maneuvering Program.” Details of the accident can be found on the NTSB website at

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families and friends of those who died on Flight 587.

There will be two memorial masses to remember the passengers and crew who died on November 12, 2001. The first will be in Spanish beginning at 10:00 a.m. at St. Frances DeSales Church located at 129-16 Rockaway Beach Blvd. In Belle Harbour. The second mass – in English – will be held at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

There was a lot of media attention this week surrounding Gerard Arpeys statements this week that all Departments within AA will realize more layoffs. AA continues to reiterate to APFA that no flight attendants will be involved in this furlough due to our attrition rate. APFA is told that the only cuts that will be occurring within Flight Service will be with in Management.

American Airlines recalled 610 flight attendants effective the 18th of this month, and approximately 500 accepted the recall. With our attrition rate this year through the 30th of September at 739 flight attendants, and a summer filled with understaffed aircraft, APFA remains hopeful that we will continue to mitigate any further furloughed flight attendants – and hopefully realize more recalls as soon as possible.

American has informed APFA that recalled Furloughed Flight Attendants should now have access to Please let your FSM know if you are unable to log into the site. If you are returning from American Eagle, your access may be delayed for a few days.

A retirement counselor from American Airlines Employee Services will be presenting one hour retirement seminars to Flight Attendants as follows:

LAX – Monday November 8 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. SFO – Tuesday November 9 beginning at 11:00 a.m.

APFA’s Retirement Specialist Jill Frank will attend the afternoon session at LAX on November 8th and the morning session in SFO on November 9th. Local APFA reps will be present at all sessions.

We encourage all APFA members contemplating retirement to attend these seminars.

Every time I say this, the winds change, but for now, rumor control has died down quite a bit. A new rumor has surfaced this week however. So hopefully, I can squash it before it becomes a redundant rumor.

Q: Is the Company coming after us for seven more days of our vacation?

A: In order for the Company to request any substantive changes to our Contract, negotiations must be opened and the parties must bargain a change in our contract with APFA, then have it ratified by the membership by a majority of those who vote. The Company has made no such requests to date.

A reminder from the Scheduling Department: Article 9, Letter. C, discusses release from remaining AVBL days for Open Replacement Flight Attendants. Those Flight Attendants who show an AVBL day on the last day of the month are eligible for release from remaining AVBL days when they have reached a GTD of 72:01 for the Domestic operation and 77.01 for the International operation. Those Flight Attendants who do not have an AVBL day on the last day of the month are eligible for release from remaining AVBL obligations when they have reached a GTD of 74.01 Domestic, and 79.01 International.

Crew Schedule’s procedures are that they do not release you from duty automatically. Current procedures for release are that the flight attendant must request to be released from remaining AVBL days by calling or sending a HISEND to Crew Schedule. If the flight attendant does not request release, but their option allows a trip to be plotted within their monthly maximums, Crew Schedule may plot a sequence on an AVBL day and the Flight Attendant will be responsible for that trip.

Please make sure that you have requested your release if you do not wish to have any further obligation to the company for the month.

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

American has delayed the start of the Personal Entertainment Device rentals for at least a week. Once it begins, the outside vendor has agreed to share six percent of the total revenue with the working Flight Attendants provided at least 15 units are rented on a given flight. The System Board Department, under the direction of the Vice President, will send trained observers on select flights in order to evaluate any additional workload.

In industry news, in order for Delta to secure the $500 million in financing GE has offered, and possibly avoid filing for bankruptcy protection, its Pilots must ratify their tentative agreement. Delta must also prove and certify that it will cut $5 billion in expenses for the year 2006.

United will be asking a judge for about 3/4 of a billion dollars a year from its employees in an attempt to emerge from bankruptcy. This amount is in addition to the $2.5 billion in wage and benefit cuts United’s unions have already granted. This week,

United announced that it would also request the termination of all four pension plans. If United succeeds at this attempt, it will be the largest burden from a single company to the 30-year old Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, otherwise known as the PBGC. If the judge grants this request, the Government would take on the responsibility for $6.4 billion in United’s debt to its current and potential retirees. The PBGC is already short nearly $10 billion from other companies who terminated their employees’ pension plans.

The first sign that United planned to terminate its pension plans all together was in July when it skipped its scheduled quarterly payment and announced that it did not intend to make any additional payments during bankruptcy protection.

That’s it for this week – please remember that as of November18, 2004, we will still have more than 4,500 furloughed members, and 20 APFA members representing our country full time in the armed forces.

Thanks for calling the APFA Hotline.

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