This is Greg Hildreth, APFA Secretary, today is Friday, January 7, and you’ve reached the APFA Hotline.
Willingness-to-Serve (WTS) Notifications are due in this week for the positions of Base Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Operational Council Representative at every base in the system for the two-year term beginning April 1, 2005. As APFA Secretary, it is my job to coordinate Union elections with the National Ballot Committee (NBC). Members of this Committee will be collecting the Notifications from the appropriate post office box at 10 a.m. Central Standard time on Wednesday, January 12. Any member in good standing may submit a personal Willingness-to-Serve for the designated Base Representative positions or may nominate another member in good standing at the base using the same form. Interested candidates must be stationed at the respective base by February 1, 2005, in order to run for that base office.
A WTS form was included in the Fall issue of Skyword. If you need an additional form, please contact the APFA National Ballot Committee at Extension 8311 immediately. Once the WTS forms are received by APFA, no changes can be made. Base elections will be held if more than one candidate at a base submits a WTS for the position of Chairperson or Vice Chairperson. Elections will also be held for Operational Council Reps if there are more WTS notifications received than the number of positions allowable by the APFA Constitution. Ballots for base elections will be mailed February 1, 2005, and due in March 2, 2005.
All candidates whose WTS Notifications are received by the deadline will be contacted by my office with a letter outlining the procedures and rules governing Union elections. There is also an article by the National Ballot Committee in the latest issue of Skyword, mailed last week, with additional information regarding the upcoming elections.
Willingness-to-Serve Notifications are also being solicited for Executive Committee Ad-Hoc positions #1 and #2. These WTS’s are due in January 31, 2005. A detailed description of the duties of each APFA representative can be found in Article III of the APFA Constitution, which is available on the website at www.www.apfa.org.
As Union Secretary, I keep the administrative records of the association. This includes a written accounting of all meetings of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. A synopsis of the business conducted at each meeting is posted on the website as soon as possible after a meeting is concluded. All of these records are available to any member in good standing. In addition to archives of past meetings and previous Hotlines and Skywords you’ll find the current issues, “hot topics” and responses to the latest rumors. You can also subscribe to the e-mail version of the weekly hotline and to the quarterly issue of Skyword online. Virtually everything you want to know about the workings of your Union is available to you on our website. If you haven’t already visited it or just haven’t been there lately, go to www.www.apfa.org and take a look. You can sign-in to the Members Only portion using your employee number and the last four digits of your Social Security number. There is also a link to our website through the Flight Service site under My Tools, Links. The APFA website is updated almost daily so take a few minutes to check it regularly. That’s it for this week for me. Stay on the line for the rest of the Hotline. Here’s Leslie…
This is Leslie Mayo with the rest of the APFA Hotline for Friday, January 7, 2005.
In most cases I begin the hotline with APFA news and wrap up with Industry News. However, this week I’m going to change that format to address US Airways vs. its employees, as well as United’s attempts to follow suit right off the bat.
Yesterday, January 6th, APFA issued a press release on the heels of a judge’s decision to abrogate the US Air Machinists’ contract and eliminate the pension plans of the machinists and the flight attendants. This press release to our members, fellow flight attendants, the press and our Washington representatives reads as follows:
“Today’s bankruptcy court decision regarding US Airways and its unions is a very loud wake up call to all working men and women of America,” said Tommie Hutto-Blake, APFA President in response to a bankruptcy judge’s ruling to eliminate US Airways’ contract with its machinists and terminate the current and future pensions of flight attendants and machinists. “The traditional airline labor contracts are some of America’s longest standing labor agreements, which were negotiated in accordance with the Railway Labor Act of 1926,” stated APFA President Tommie Hutto-Blake. “This should send a chill up the spine of every working American in this country of ours…. To witness the balance of power shift completely in favor of the ‘protection’ of bankruptcy laws; and, subsequently, eliminating hard-earned pensions, wages, benefits and work rules at the sound of a gavel while maintaining the pensions and salaries of upper management whose decisions steered their company into bankruptcy.”
Hutto-Blake continued, “This should also alert our legislators to take a stern look at bankruptcy and pension reform. America is in the dawn of the largest wave of retirees this nation has ever seen. The question must be asked of our government leaders: Who will take care of the millions of hard-working American citizens who have their pension funds and retiree health benefits dismantled by a bankruptcy court?”
This press release can be found on the APFA website at www.www.apfa.org.
US Airways’ flight attendants ratified more concessions this week with a cost savings to their company of $94 million a year. It passed by 64%. US Airways now has ratified agreements with all of its unions except for the IAM representing the machinists. The IAM agreed yesterday, following the bad news from the bankruptcy judge, to put out for vote the company’s last offer on the table. Ballots are due by January 21st. The company will await the outcome of this vote before proceeding with changes to the IAM’s contract, though they will proceed with and have already begun to coordinate the termination of the retirement benefits as referenced in APFA’s press release.
In similar news at United, the Bankruptcy hearings began today in United’s efforts to abrogate all contracts that have not been successfully agreed to and ratified by its employees. These include the flight attendants, rampers, mechanics and public contact workers. Meanwhile, the pilots deal with United that offers the pilots $550 million in convertible notes after emerging from Bankruptcy in exchange for the elimination of their pension, along with a separate retirement plan that cannot be eliminated has received such negative reactions from other unions, banks, UAL creditors and the government-run PBGC, that a bankruptcy judge threw out the agreement in court today. In a filing by the PBGC yesterday, it called the agreement between United and its pilots an attempt to circumvent the federal pension law, as well as offering its current pilots retirement relief “at the expense of the federal government, its other employees and its creditors.”
Continental and Northwest are among the airlines seeking concessions from its employees. Continental in particular, claims that without $500 million in labor cuts, it will be unable to, among other things, take delivery of its new aircraft. This labor concession epidemic has spread like wildfire, and seems to be the primary mode for upper management to afford whatever they want – at the cost of its employees. Speaking of which, and not surprisingly, there was no mention in the SEC filing by Continental of any concessions on the part of upper management.
Now, onto APFA news…
APFA has been notified that AA will be pre-plotting trips on those Flight Attendants’ schedules with open AVBL days for the weekend of the 14th at some of the International Bases. This will be done according to headcount and open time. Flight Attendants on availability should review Article I.9.C.4.d. Option II is currently open at every International base except for RDU-I.
The InfoRep Program is in full swing and we are hoping to hear from each of you with renewed interest in this program. If you are an InfoRep please log onto the website at www.www.apfa.org and click on the InfoRep link. If you would like to become an InfoRep and are a member in good standing, please contact your Base Chair who will submit your name to APFA Headquarters. It is imperative that we use all available tools to communicate with each other. This is a tumultuous time in the airline industry and factual information is vital. The InfoRep program was most recently used in obtaining our 2001 Contract and made the difference between our members earning an industry-standard contract and an industry-leading contract. Though the program has not been utilized to its capacity since that time, there is no better time than the present to refocus our efforts and reunify this membership. You may contact the InfoRep program at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a VM at extension 8743.
In the new Skyword you will find an On-Duty Contract Guide in the center section. Please take this with you on your trips as a quick reference guide to our Contract. Also, please refer to page 14 of the 4th Quarter Skyword for details on the Membership Opinion Survey that will begin January 18th. Visit our website at www.www.apfa.org if you are not already registered as you will access the survey through your Union’s website.
As we announced on last week’s hotline, the SBA Department will be training all interested APFA members in good standing on a volunteer basis in the grievance process under the Current Bargaining Agreement. This program will begin at 9:00 a.m. on January 14th. If you would like to attend this one-day program, please call APFA at extension 8209. It is space limited and will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
From the Contract Department, please remember only to clean those aircraft marked as C-bill. The TWU was severely impacted by the most recent layoffs. In Philly alone, 24 TWU members were furloughed. We must respect the preservation of jobs and perform our duties as outlined in the CBA while allowing our fellow union workers to do their jobs as well.
The Company has made the revenue sharing form for duty free commissions available on the Purser page of the flight service website. A reminder has also been sent to the various catering stations to ensure forms are provisioned in the cart. If you end up without a revenue sharing form please include the following information on any piece of paper and place it in the duty free deposit envelope: Flight number, date, departure and arrival city, the names and employee numbers of the purser, #3, and selling flight attendants. This will ensure DFASS has the appropriate information for commission payment.
APFA’s leadership summit will begin Tuesday, January 11th. Invitations were sent to former National Officers as well as candidates from the 2003 National Officer election that are members in good standing. The goal of this summit is to bring ideas and diversity together into one room to better our membership. This will be a round table discussion mediated by a professional arbitrator. It will be hosted by our four current National Officers and should last approximately three hours.
From the Hotel Department, please be advised that credit card calls or calling card calls may still incur charges from .50 cents to $5.00 at some of our layover hotels. Also, the hotel department cannot stress enough the importance of a “buddy system” while on a layover. Remember to let someone on your crew know where you are and a contact number for safety’s sake. Finally, keep an eye on your belongings – there was a theft report of a flight attendant’s purse at the London layover hotel.
APFA President Hutto-Blake continues her base visits next week and in the coming months. Her schedule is as follows: San Jose, California Ops on January 12th in the afternoon; San Francisco Ops the morning of the 13th; LAX Operations on January 24th and 25th; Chicago Ops on February 1st and 2nd; Miami Operations on February 14th and 15th; DCA Ops on March 7th and 8th; and RDU Operations on March 28th and 29th. The base visits are typically in the afternoon of the first day and the morning of the second day.
In rumor control this week, the rumors are still coming in about a major announcement this month. So far, AA’s fares matching Delta’s, and a rather large anticipated 4th Quarter loss announcement on January 12th are the only major items AA has made its workers aware of in one way or another. Perhaps a message forwarded to the pilots from AA top executives last month may have fueled these rumors. In its memo, AA tells the pilots that through cost-cutting and moneymaking initiatives, AA hopes to boost its bottom line by $850 million in ’05, despite the 4th Q. loss announcement around 1/2 a billion dollars.. We will keep you apprized of any other news as we receive it.
A few remaining rumors follow:
Q: Are we merging with or acquiring Northwest Airlines?
A: AA has not indicated to APFA that they are interested in buying another airline at this point.
Q: Is AA furloughing more APFA members or asking for concessions?
A: This answer remains to be seen, however, at present, the answer is no.
Please remember our 4,541 furloughed flight attendants and our 20 full-time members fighting for our country full time. Thank you for calling the APFA Hotline.