Today is Friday, February 25, 2005 and you have reached the APFA Weekly Hotline.
This is Tommie Hutto-Blake.
Today marks the six-month anniversary of my installation as APFA President. I hope that you have learned by observing my first six months in office that I take this job and the responsibilities of this office very seriously. Last week marked my 35th anniversary of my first flight as an AA stewardess in February of 1970. For whatever reason this job of ours has been my life work. In the early 70’s I became a base union representative, shortly thereafter, Base Chair. This is my third time to serve as a national officer. I’ve been a negotiator, a union advocate and trainer, and a labor consultant during the joint dispute resolution process following our ’93 strike. In other words I have worn many hats with our union – but at no time has the challenge been greater than today.
Presently, we are in uncharted waters for both our union and our company. Brett, Cathy, Greg and I, are working hard to develop the best plan for the next leg on this collective journey of ours. We will be meeting with the APFA Board of Directors, Executive Committee, National Coordinators, & Division Representatives shortly to discuss the many issues we must focus on to put a solid plan in place for all of our futures. There has never been a more important time for this upcoming APFA Annual Convention. I hope to see many of you in Chicago next month to observe this process. Most of our scheduled agenda will be held in open session for APFA members in good standing.
The latest event impacting the battle to return our Company to solvency is the continuously high cost of jet fuel. Currently, the government seems to be totally disengaged in any responsibility toward the fact that but for the cost of jet fuel this company of ours would have made a small profit in 2004. The single reason behind this almost return to profit story was the employees’ decision to be a part of the process – a very hard decision resulting in a huge sacrifice related to our wages, work rules and benefits. The employees of this proud company of ours have very much been a part of trying to turn this company around as opposed to racing to the bottom of this industry.
We must not remove ourselves from this process. As I have told you before – while I have a cautious optimism that on this property of ours there is a chance that labor and management, together, can restore order and viability to the finest airline in this troubled industry of ours – your leadership remains prepared for whatever comes our way.
On another important note, next week the ballots from nine of our bases will be counted for leadership positions in our Union. Our National Ballot Committee is, as it should be, a stand-alone committee with huge responsibilities both to our members and to the U.S Government in the form of federal guidelines and labor laws. The NBC will be assisted by Fort Worth accounting firm Whitley Penn. Any member in good standing certainly is invited to observe this process. As soon as the election results are concluded they will be announced on this hotline. Depending on the numbers of ballots returned this ballot count may take more than one day.
I will close this hotline with another anniversary date of note. Last week was the 185th birth date of Susan B. Anthony, the single individual most responsible for a women’s right to vote in this country. Susan argued for women’s suffrage before every Congress for 37 years until her death in 1906. She did not live to cast that first legal vote. It wasn’t until 1920 when the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution became law giving women the right to vote. Susan B Anthony’s words still ring true today. I quote: “Cautious, careful people always casting about to preserve their reputation or social standards never can bring about reform. Those who are really in earnest are willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation.”
Those are words to live up to. I hope our election results next week will find that many of you have cast your ballots for these elected offices in our union. It is our right and our duty to elect our representative voices at this most challenging time in our history.
And now please stay on the line for the remaining issues concerning our union – Leslie,
Thanks Tommie, this is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator with the rest of today’s Hotline.
Don’t forget our 4,268 furloughed Flight Attendants and 20 APFA members serving full-time in the armed forces.
Since Tommie was mentioning anniversary dates, I’d like to add one: today marks the 15th anniversary of the ban on smoking on all commercial aircraft. That was brought about by the strength of flight attendants.
Please note that the Company’s deadline for receipt of dependent verification documentation is April 8, 2005. This is a requirement for all AMR employees with dependents. You may call 800-288-0985 if you have questions regarding the verification process.
As a reminder, the primary vacation bidding period will close at 0800 CST on March 7. Results will be posted by 1700 on March 14. The secondary vacation bidding period will open on March 15 and close at 0800 CST on March 23. Information regarding vacation accrual can be found in the On-Duty Contract Guide, page 32.
From the Hotel Department: On January 1st, the Park Central Hotel in New York was sold. The new owners notified AA of a drastic rate increase thus making it financially unfeasible to remain at this hotel. Any negotiations with the Park Central have been unproductive.
APFA and AA are currently in New York looking for a replacement hotel. APFA is doing everything we can to keep our crews in Manhattan.
AA submitted Requests for Proposals to hundreds of hotels in the New York City area and only a very small number of hotels responded to AA’s request. Most of the hotels that responded were not in Manhattan. A hotel not located in Manhattan is unacceptable to APFA. The APFA Hotel Department will keep you updated as things progress.
Also, the Marriott Courtyard in Marina Del Rey recently completed major renovations. Now that the renovations are complete, they too have decided to inflict a drastic rate increase to AA. This has put us in the exact same situation in LA as we are in New York. Negotiations with the Courtyard have been unproductive and the search for a new LAX long layover will begin the first week of March.
Finding new long layovers in New York and Los Angeles was not something AA or the APFA wanted to do. The hotels have forced this upon us.
This is happening as the hotel industry is seeing record-high occupancy rates as business and corporate travel rebounds at record levels. Sure glad someone’s making money off travelers, though I digress. Rest assured the APFA Hotel Department is working hard on these two layover cities.
Flight Attendants have asked for clarification regarding what the procedures are to replace a lost or stolen ID badge. The information can be found in your In-Flight Safety Manual’s General Policies and Guidelines section, page 1.7. Please note the procedures differ somewhat depending on whether you discover the lost ID prior to your originating trip, or mid-sequence.
APFA urges all Flight Attendants who find themselves in a situation where a fellow employee is violating rules or regulations, to first contact your Professional Standards Representative. This includes pilots and flight attendants alike. The contact numbers can be found on the APFA website’s Health Page. There is a joint agreement between APFA and APA that can be found at www.apfa.org.
The TSA has just released more dates and locations for the Advanced Crew Member Self Defense Training (CMSDT) program. The course is being offered in DCA, PHL, ATL, MIA, ORD, DFW, DEN, PHX, LAX and SFO. If you are interested in attending this voluntary course, more information is located on the APFA Safety Department’s web page. Flight Attendants that have attended this training have stated that it is extremely beneficial. We will continue to update this information as more cities are added.
On March 14th at the APFA Annual Convention in Chicago, there will be representatives available to answer questions and distribute information representing APFA Archives, Communications, Safety, Health and the Hotel department. In addition to these unstructured visits there will be planned seminars offered in three areas: Retirement, Combined Scheduling and Contract, and Legislative Action. The schedule is as follows:
Retirement – 9:00 to 10:30 AM or 1:00 to 2:30 PM APFA’s Retirement Specialist Jill Frank, IMA, will host the APFA Retirement Workshop. Please come prepared with your Retirement Made Easy booklet found in the 3Q Skyword and have your JetNet password handy.
Scheduling/Contract – 10:45 AM to 12:15 PM or 2:45 to 4:15 PM APFA National Contract Coordinator Brent Peterson and APFA Scheduling Coordinator Jaimie McNeice will conduct the Scheduling and Contract Seminars. Please bring your On-Duty Contract Guide from the 4Q Skyword for the training.
Legislative Action – 12:30 to 1:00 PM or 4:15 to 4:45 PM APFA’s Lobbyist on the Hill Joan Wages and Legislative Committee Member and IMA Vice Chair Rick Musica will host the Legislative Action seminars. We urge you to attend one of these presentations to learn more about the issues facing APFA members in Congress and to learn tips on how to lobby effectively. Joan and Rick will also be available throughout the day to answer your questions.
If you plan to attend any or all of the workshops, please call Linda Plunk at APFA headquarters at 817-540-0108, ext. 8200 to indicate your preferences.
APFA President Hutto-Blake will be wrapping up her 10 base-city visits in March with Raleigh on March 3rd and Washington, D.C., on March 7th and 8th. We encourage you to take the time to meet with your President and get your questions answered or share your concerns.
Uli Derickson, the TWA Flight Attendant honored for saving lives by protecting passengers and crew when the flight she was working was hijacked by Lebanese gunmen on the way to Rome, died last Friday. The hijackers held hostages on the aircraft for 15 days killing one passenger, a U.S. Navy diver. The New York Times wrote: “When a ground crew in Algiers refused to refuel the plane without payment, even when faced with the terrorists’ threat to kill passengers, it occurred to Ms. Derickson to offer her Shell credit card. The ground crew charged about $5,500 for 6,000 gallons of fuel. The most terrifying moment for her, she later told Glamour Magazine, was when the more cruel of the two hijackers asked her to marry him.” Ms. Derickson was the first woman to receive the Silver Cross for valor.
She worked as a Flight Attendant for Delta from the early ’90s until 2003 when she was diagnosed with cancer. She was 60 years old.
For those of you asking about the DOT’s award of the Chicago-Shanghai route, American was awarded the China route scheduled to begin in 2006 this week. APFA is thrilled with this news as it indicates more jobs for our workforce. Delta Airlines is not happy with the news, however, and will be filing an appeal. Delta claims their Atlanta-Shanghai proposed route would’ve generated more connecting service, however, the DOT didn’t agree. This new flight will give United a run for their money in the same market.
In rumor control, one Flight Attendant wrote: I am a furloughed flight attendant and Chinese speaker. Would AA ever recall any furloughed Chinese speakers out of seniority order?
Answer: No. The Company must follow the Contract when recalling Flight Attendants on furlough back to active status, which mandates recalls be done in seniority order.
Another Flight Attendant asked if APFA and AA are in talks to reduce the number of speakers on board the aircraft. No, APFA is not in discussions with AA to reduce the number of on-board speakers.
And finally, as far as management receiving any raises, I confirmed with upper management that no one is receiving any raises.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for calling the APFA Hotline.