11.26.04 – (LAA) – TWA Seniority Lawsuit, AFA-CWA Candlelight Vigil, Executive Committee Meeting, US Airways Files Section 1113 Motion in Bankruptcy Court, United Airlines Pilots Offered Pay Cut

This is Tommie Hutto-Blake, APFA President, with an update to this week’s hotline.

Today is November 30, 2004 and on today’s date in the United States District Court in the Eastern District of New York, Judge Nina Gershon’s 22 page ruling was forwarded to the parties involved. Judge Gershon has granted the motions of both APFA and AA to dismiss in its entirety the Amended Complaint in the lawsuit filed by the former TWA flight attendants as represented by the International Association of Machinists. The issue in this Amended Complaint is the challenge to the 2001 Seniority Integration Agreement between APFA and AA. Again, Judge Gershon has dismissed the Seniority Integration Lawsuit in its entirety. This written opinion and order will be posted in full on the APFA website.

This Federal District Court ruling is a giant step toward putting this piece of our history behind us. We must remember that former CEO Don Carty created this dispute with the 2001 purchase of TWA. The after shocks of this purchase are still felt by our combined workgroup – both active and furloughed. With today’s ruling the active AA flight attendants are the victors. The APFA membership must now move forward together, with strength and dignity for all. APFA has much to do in the next leg of our collective journey. We, the AA flight attendants and APFA membership, have created our career together and now we must protect and perserve our overall contract – together. Today was a remarkable day for APFA.

And now please stay on the line for the remainder of this week’s hotline.

Hello, this is APFA President Tommie Hutto-Blake, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, November 26, 2004.

I would like to announce an upcoming nation wide flight attendant event sponsored by the Association of Flight Attendants/ Communication Workers of America. On Tuesday, December 14, the APFA leadership will join representatives from all of the other unions who represent the flight attendants of America. We will be standing together to show our support for both the United and USAir flight attendants who are currently struggling to protect and preserve their contracts. As we see in the media daily the United and USAir executives have shown notice in their separate bankruptcy courts to abrogate both their labor contracts as well as terminate the pension funds for all of their employees. The United and USAir flight attendants need our help!

Effective today’s hotline APFA is urging every APFA member who is available on December 14th to come to Washington, DC and join us. To all APFA retired members – this call to action is in your best interest. To all active APFA members – this call to action is in your best interest. Every APFA member – both past and current – who have the time and the willingness to stand with many other uniformed flight attendants struggling to maintain a career that is slowing being dismantled by acts of terror, escalated fuel prices, and low cost carriers reaping rewards while network carriers struggle in bankruptcy, come to DCA on December 14th.

If you are working as an active flight attendant on that day please urge your colleagues with time off to join us. Also, if you are assigned to work on December 14 wear a white ribbon on your uniform in support of this DCA rally.

The permit for this candle light vigil begins at 1715 local time. Speeches will begin at 1730 and a solidarity march will begin at 1800. Again, wear your uniform and join us at Lafayette Park just across from the White House at 1715 local time on December 14th. We need the flight attendants of America – the first workers to use the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to turn our once forced short termed job into a career. This did not happen easily or with speed. It took us over 40 years slowly step by step – to turn our working agreements into contracts to be proud of. Now we have to stand shoulder to shoulder and have our voices heard together.

I both challenge and urge you to come to DCA next month and join me and other representatives of your union in this continuing collective struggle. I also hope many of you can join me during my upcoming Base Visits on AA’s property during December, January, February and March. In December I will be in the LGA operations area on the 22 in the am and in the JFK operations area in the afternoon. On December 23rd I will be in the EWR operations area in the am.On December 28th and 29th I will be in the BOS operations area. In January I will schedule my base visits to both SFO & LAX, in February MIA & RDU, and in March ORD & DCA.Times and Dates to be announced in future hotlines and on the APFA website.

And now please stay on the line for the remainder of this week’s APFA Hotline.

This is Leslie Mayo with the APFA Hotline for Friday, November 26, 2004.

For those flight attendants most recently returning to the line from furloughed status, please be advised that if you previously elected to prefund your retiree benefits and, upon furlough, subsequently received a refund, you have 30 days to return the full amount of your retiree prefunding reimbursement in order to reinstate your account at the previous rates. Your contributions will continue under the prefunding table and at the age that applied prior to your being furloughed, subject to any table adjustments.

If you do not return the funds and choose to prefund later, you may re-enter the prefunding program at the applicable age-based rates and you will be required to then prefund for a minimum of ten years prior to being eligible for retiree medical.

For those flight attendants who are currently on furlough and have at least 15 years of company seniority and were at least 50 years of age but not yet 55 at the time you were furloughed AND you have been prefunding since your initial enrollment, you will be eligible to receive medical coverage under the Retiree Medical Plan at age 55 as long as you continue to prefund until the age of 55. Please look for your bill in the mail. If you have any questions, please contact Employee Services at (800)447-2000.

For the December bid run, Crew Planning elected to place 100% of the monitored VM positions for International and 95% of the VM’s for Domestic on the bid sheet from December 15-30. As a result, Crew Planning was able to reduce the number of reserves necessary at each base. It also reduced the need for Open Replacement flight attendants, and some bases were awarded only the planned duty free Open Replacement lines. We have asked Crew Planning to warn us if there are to be no Open Replacement lines awarded in the future.

Our downtown layover hotel in San Francisco has gone into a 60-day cooling off period with its union which means crews will return to our original long-layover hotel. We will keep you posted on any changes to the status of these negotiations.

The APFA Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for December 6-7 in Chicago. It will begin at 1000 a.m. Central and will be held at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel at 163 East Walton Place.

The U.S. Department of Transportation should be making a decision shortly on the China flying several airlines have been vying for. If American is awarded the Chicago-Shanghai route, flying could begin as early as March 2005.

As was previously reported on this Hotline, US Airways filed a Section 1113 motion in Bankruptcy Court on November 12, 2004, to abrogate the contracts it has negotiated with AFA-CWA. Further, they filed an 1114 motion to reduce retiree medical benefits and requested the termination of the defined benefit pension plan. Hearings are set to begin on December 2nd. If an agreement is not reached prior to the hearing, negotiations will continue until the judge issues a ruling. The judge will decide whether or not the contract is to be replaced by the Company’s Section 1113 proposal; the judge does not rewrite the contract in court.

United Airlines pilots are being given a choice between an 18% paycut or a smaller pay cut with more strict work rules. United has informed its pilots that even after these new cuts, it may be asking for more prior to leaving Chapter 11.

A bankruptcy judge gave United until January 31, 2005, to renegotiate contracts with its unions on top of the $2.5 billion in concessions United’s labor has already given up.

United Auto Worker’s Legislative Director Alan Reuther stated this week that U.S. taxpayers should save the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) from pension failures in the airline and steel industries. Mr. Reuther estimates the cost the PBGC will incur in covering the pension liabilities of the airline and steel industries to be between $20 and $40 billion.

APFA Headquarters was closed yesterday in observance of Thanksgiving and will be closed today as well in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday

And finally, remember to keep our 4,541 furloughed flight attendants and 20 fellow f/as serving full time in the armed forces in your thoughts this holiday weekend. Have a happy Thanksgiving and thanks for calling the APFA Hotline.

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