Good morning, this is Tommie Hutto-Blake, APFA President, it is Christmas morning and this is an update to this week’s APFA Hotline.
This morning I have spoken to both Heidi Prayon, DCA Vice Chair and APFA’s current officer-on-duty, as well as Greg Fritz, senior scheduler-on-duty, they have both informed me of the following information. Currently the flight attendant system sick list is just under 2000 and the pilot sick list is just under 700. These numbers have driven both reassignments and FAA minimums on our aircraft both yesterday and today. Bases that are particularly at risk for these RAs and minimum standards are JFK and IMA. For tomorrow’s operations both DCAI and LAXI are at risk. The sick numbers are considered at critical numbers for the scheduling department, mainly on the international side of our operation. Near one half of the sick calls are coming from the international bases. Crew schedule is at step 9 of the order of open time. So far there have been no canceled flights due to the above numbers. We will keep you updated throughout this holiday week.
Now please stay on the line for the remainder of this week’s hotline. . .
Today is Friday, December 24th and this is Tommie Hutto-Blake, APFA President with the APFA weekly Hotline.
On behalf of the APFA Leadership and Staff I would like to wish our APFA membership a holiday season of reflection and sense of purpose. We know our members share many different traditions and it is our hope that you will find the time to pause during this busy season and reflect on the importance of a global solidarity for flight attendants in the new year ahead. I also want to take a moment to remember our members who are serving our country in harms way during this holiday season. It is our wish that you will return to us safe and strong.
During this weekly briefing I will be discussing my on going base visits and the next in order SKYWORD to be mailed next week. This week’s hotline also includes a focus on our challenges ahead with the Company’s continued efforts to reduce cost and generate new revenue. We have a busy new year ahead of us so please be aware of your need to be committed and involved in the months ahead.
This week I visited the base operation areas of LGA, JFK and EWR. During these visits I met with many domestic and international flight attendants of all seniority’s, had discussions with the APFA Base Leadership – who showed me the APFA space supplied by local management for APFA base work, as well as meeting with local management regarding specific base-related issues. While listening to thoughts and concerns among the NY based flight attendants I must remark that I heard a repeated perspective from many flight attendants that they feel there has been an uneven shared sacrifice among management vs. labor on AA’s property. This was a common theme that I heard over and over and one that has been and will continue to be addressed with senior management. Your input concerning this matter is important and must be responded to in the weeks ahead.
Next week I will visit the BOS operations area on Tuesday, Dec. 28 between 1600 and 1900 and the following morning between 0600 through 0900. Both Local and National APFA Representatives will be with me and I look forward to meeting those flight attendants working during this busy holiday season. In our next Hotline we will announce dates for base visits for our West Coast bases during the first month of the New Year.
The futures of our flight attendant colleagues at both United and US Airways is still uncertain and we must all be aware that their senior management’s attempts to abrogate and destroy hard-earned contracts, pensions and benefits will have impact on our own careers and the careers of flight attendants everywhere. It was an honor to stand with leaders of these unions during the Support Rally in DCA last week. Our support must not end there. We must all stay focused on the overall cause of flight attendants protecting flight attendants in this country. I hope to announce more on this solidarity matter in the months ahead. It is time to rebuild a strong coalition of all the unions who represent Flight Attendants. We have much work to be done.
The Winter edition of the APFA SKYWORD will be mailed next week. In the center section of this edition will be a tear out On-Duty Contract Guide. This booklet is the first step in getting a printed contract as required in Article 24 of our 2001 Contract. As required in Article 24 this document was funded by the Company, prepared by a joint labor/management team, and will be issued and utilized by you, flight service, crew scheduling, and employee relations representatives. Labor and management will be using the same tool to interpret our agreed to work rules. I am very proud of this new tool and encourage you to place it in your flight bags to have with you during your work trips.
Also in this upcoming SKYWORD is an announcement of the 2005 APFA Members Opinion Survey. The first phase of this opinion survey will begin next month and will be conducted by the University of North Texas. Please read this SKYWORD notice carefully and plan to participate when the survey period begins in mid January 2005. Your APFA leadership needs to have a collective reading from our membership. Your leaders focus will be on our members interest and goals regarding our future. Details will be announced in future hotlines and on the APFA website.
Last week AA announced that beginning in February management has decided that our airline will join many other both foreign and domestic carriers in offering purchased meals in the main cabin on certain flights. This action is a direct hit for the workgroup most affected by this change – us. APFA will be meeting with management during the first week in January on this matter. We have many questions of management before formulating an official position. We have noticed management that APFA will continue our time study tests, collecting data to evaluate impact on our working conditions. We are using the same methods that were used while collecting data during the 777 staffing dispute, groundwork that may prove instrumental in any future action regarding staffing.
It is obvious to all AA employees that our company must continue to find ways to reduce cost and generate revenue but it is our position that these new means must not always be on the backs of flight attendants. Furthermore, it is the position of the APFA that our work group share in any revenue we are directly responsible for generating.
2005 is almost upon us, we have much work to be done and it is our hope a collective purpose is taking shape among us here at APFA. And now here’s Leslie with more APFA and industry news, Leslie….
Thanks, Tommie. This is Leslie Mayo with the rest of the APFA Hotline for Friday, December 24, 2004.
APFA continues to evaluate the company’s ever-changing business plan for onboard services. In an announcement this week, AA has decided to offer food for sale in coach beginning February 1st on 660 domestic trips with a flying time over three hours. Meals will be sold on 620 transcons, and 40 Hawaii flights with pricing from $3 to $5. This process has been as frustrating for the APFA leadership as it has been for all of you who have worked the flights with the litany of new products the company has tested and continues to test. We are fully aware of your concerns in relation to staffing and workload on board the aircraft, and we share your concerns. The System Board department has and will continue to ride specific flights to evaluate any additional workload and responsibilities tied to these new products. Our survey response from f/a’s who worked the previous buy on board flights was excellent. Please continue to provide us with your input as we continue to monitor the ongoing changes.
From the APFA Hotel Department : our Lihue layover hotel has chosen to exercise its right to charge an upgrade fee of $30 when flight attendants request an upgraded room with a balcony. While most hotels agree to switch rooms without charge, this hotel isn’t one of them. While on a layover, always remember to be cognizant of your surroundings and if possible, let someone on your crew know your whereabouts during the layover.
For those flight attendants with questions surrounding the Supplemental Insurance APFA previously offered, please contact the Insurance Company directly at 888.219.9459.
Unused uniform points from one calendar year do not roll over to the following year. 2004 uniform points may be redeemed up until 6:00 pm Central on Dec. 31 for orders placed on the website. Telephone orders will be accepted through 4:00 PM CST on December 29.
In rumor control , many of you emailed the Communications Department inquiring about expected flight attendant furloughs for the New Year. APFA has received no indication that AA plans to furlough flight attendants. In a previous hotline, it was reported that cuts would be seen across the board. Flight Service has made these cuts and they are concentrated on management, not flight attendants.
Another rumor I received in the communications office was that Arpey is about to announce early next year that Eagle will be flying all of AA’s domestic routes. The answer is simply: no. The thought of a transcon flight on a Saab 340 should be enough to kill this rumor dead in its tracks.
A few months ago, AA and its employees fought hard to win the Chicago-Shanghai route. The DOT will announce its decision on which two airlines will operate the US-China routes in January of ’05.
In industry news, I’ll start with the positive piece: An appeals court upheld a half million dollar award to a former TWA Flight Attendant who blamed secondhand smoke on the airplane for her bronchitis and sinus infections. This decision could blaze the trail for about 3,000 similar claims by other flight attendants across the nation. A bankruptcy judge awarded ATA’s assets to Southwest Airlines for $117 million. In the deal, Southwest acquires six gates at Chicago Midway and 27.5% of ATA’s stock. In return Southwest will provide $40 million in Debtor-In-Possession financing to ATA to convert to a loan.
In a T/A last week, United’s pilots will take a nearly 15% pay cut on top of the 30% they took last year in a contract set through 2009. Among the details, ALPA gave up their late-night flying premium, International premium pay and future retiree life insurance, however, vacation, sick leave and minimum days off went unchanged, though not for lack of trying on the part of management. In the seemingly most egregious aspect of the T/A, the pilots agreed not to fight the airline’s efforts to terminate their pensions if approved in bankruptcy court, and opted instead for $500 million in convertible notes to be issued 6 months after United clears bankruptcy. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation strongly criticized this arrangement acknowledging the precedent this may set for other airlines dumping their pension obligations on the PBGC. The pilots agreed to the obliteration of the pension piece on the contingency that none of United’s other pension-eligible employees are allowed to retain their pensions in bankruptcy court. This is reminiscent of the old adage from third grade: if I can’t have it, you can’t have it either.
US Airways wrapped up their arguments last week in favor of a bankruptcy judge granting its 1113 and 1114 motions to abrograte their unions’ contracts. The judge’s decision is expected January 6th. AFA will complete their balloting the day before the ruling and the CWA just approved their T/A yesterday. The holdouts are the mechanics represented by IAM, who are still negotiating their T/A. They have until January 5th to come to an agreement at which time the bankruptcy judge overseeing the proceedings will postpone his decision until the T/A passes or fails. On January 14th of next year, the airline loses its ability to use cash until it renegotiates with its key creditors, and it must find $100 million in investments in order to maintain its financing deal.
APFA wishes all of our fellow flight attendants a safe and happy holiday week and please keep our 4,541 furloughed flight attendants and 20 members of the armed forces serving duty away from home in your thoughts.