Hello, this is Cathy Lukensmeyer, APFA Treasurer, and this is Friday, April 1.
Today marks our administration’s one-year anniversary and it’s certainly been an eventful year for APFA.
Results are now in from the first of our four-phase on-line membership survey and it comes as no surprise that FATIGUE is your number one issue. Just this week, APFA and TWU, Local 556, representing the Southwest Flight Attendants, sponsored the first-ever Flight Attendant Fatigue Summit. This day-long conference, held at APFA Headquarters in Euless, Texas, on Wednesday was a gathering of the leadership of five Flight Attendant unions, representing 19 different carriers and well over 100,000 Flight Attendants. Fatigue is a problem that faces all Flight Attendants regardless of their airline. Our strength, as unions, is in our collective numbers.
In addition to the various union officers, safety and health specialists, representatives from the FAA, union legislative representatives and experts in the study of fatigue science were on hand for this strategy summit. Unbeknownst to any of the Flight Attendant unions present, the Department of Transportation had scheduled a “Fatigue in the Workplace” seminar on Thursday, March 31, in Washington, D.C., during what has been labeled “National Sleep Awareness Week,” March 28 through April 3. Ironically, no Flight Attendant representatives were invited to that conference.
We’ve received very positive feedback from you on our “We’re Restless” campaign which was unveiled on the back cover of the last Skyword. I urge you to go to the APFA website to download the color “We’re Restless” bag tag insert. It’s a very cost effective way to get the message out. Print a few extra copies to pass out to your fellow crew members.
Remember – we won’t rest until you rest!
And now, stay tuned for the remainder of APFA’s anniversary hotline from our Hotel Coordinator. Dane…
This is Dane Townsend, APFA National Hotel Coordinator, with the rest of the Hotline for this week.
Please don’t forget our 4,240 furloughed flight attendants and our 12 APFA co-workers serving full time in the military.
This Sunday, April 3, most states change to Daylight Savings Time for the summer. Be sure to set your clocks forward one hour at 2:00 A.M. local time.
I am extremely pleased to announce that after many months of diligence and hard work by the APFA Hotel Department, our efforts to secure a downtown layover hotel in Rome have finally paid off! Effective April 30, 2005, crews will begin laying over at a new hotel in the heart of the “Eternal City.” Special thanks go to Lauri Curtis, AA Vice President Flight Service, and Debbie Carvatta, Chicago Base Manager, for their determination and assistance. You can find details on this new property in the secure section of the APFA website.
Speaking of layover hotels, some confusion has arisen regarding information included on last week’s Hotline. We reported that, in accordance with Article 7.L.5. of the contract, hotel accommodations for a few on-duty rest breaks over five hours might temporarily be double rooms. It’s easy to understand how this was mistakenly interpreted as any rest break over five hours. Understandably, rumors that we would soon be sharing rooms on layovers incited a degree of panic. What was overlooked in the frenzy were the key words “on-duty rest breaks.” The announcement and provision apply ONLY to field breaks longer than five hours in the middle of a duty day. And, that contractual provision applies only in “unusual isolated situations of a temporary nature where single accommodations…cannot be obtained at a daily rate of…$65 or less.” So, you can rest assured that what little “rest” we still have on layovers will continue to be in single rooms – in compliance with the contract!
There has also been some confusion over the joint statement issued recently by APFA, APA, TWU and AA regarding pension reform being proposed by the Bush administration. In short, the statement laid out what AA labor and management would jointly support in the way of reform. Collectively we recognize the need to protect our pensions. The Bush Administration’s pension proposals would actually hurt our Defined Benefit Plans. At AA we are in the enviable position of having a pension that is better funded than any other airline and our CEO, Gerard Arpey, has repeatedly stated he believes that companies have a MORAL obligation to protect retirement benefits that have been promised to their people. Our current defined benefit plan is intact, but we can’t close our eyes to what is happening in our industry and, in fact, our country. For the full text of the statement and a detailed explanation, go to the APFA website at www.www.apfa.org and click on “Joint Pension Statement.”
The rumor mill revved back up this week with pension misinformation at the forefront. No, there is absolutely no change to our Defined Benefit Plan nor is any in the works. In fact, APFA’s National Officers have been working closely with APA, TWU and Senior Management to protect and preserve our current pensions. Another question came up regarding a media report that AA was planning to remove galleys on some of our aircraft to accommodate additional seats. A check with Flight Service Management assured us that this was a mistake and that no such plan is in place. A Flight Attendant also wrote in with a rumor that our vacation application was to be changed so that only actual vacation days touching a trip would be paid. In other words, if you bid a three-day trip that you were removed from because the last day of the trip touched the first day of your vacation, you would be paid only for the last day of the trip. Again, this is untrue. The contract specifies how vacation is paid and it MUST be followed. In fact, you can be certain that if you hear a rumor regarding a blatant change to the contract, it is just that – a nasty rumor.
One last reminder, AA’s deadline for receipt of dependent verification documents is this coming Friday, April 8.
In industry news this week, four unions at Continental approved new cost-cutting agreements but the airline’s Flight Attendants, represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), voted down their proposed contract. Pilots, mechanics, dispatchers and simulator technicians approved new agreements and have chosen to go forward and implement their contracts despite the failure of the Flight Attendants’ tentative agreement. Continental management said it is willing to restart negotiations with Flight Attendants.
Merrill Lynch upgraded AMR stock to its “buy” list this week from its previous “neutral rating.” After the announcement, AMR stock rose 11 percent to close at $11.03. AMR was the sector’s most active stock that day at 14 million shares. The analysts reported on Wednesday that the company should lose less money than expected, now $1.25 a share in the March quarter – narrower than the $3.15 estimate.
AA reported that it expects first-quarter revenue per available seat mile to climb up to 3.9%, compared with year-ago statistics. American attributed the boost to increased passenger traffic and favorable corporate contracts.
A federal research agency reported Monday that traditional network carriers trimmed workforces 4.1 percent last year. Employee ranks meanwhile grew 0.7 percent at low-cost carriers and 16.8 percent at regional airlines, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics said. The steepest drop was at AA, where the sum of full-time equivalent workers dropped 3,161 between January 2004 and January 2005 to a total of 76,047. United reported 1,686 fewer employees to the bureau. United, whose headcount was nearly 100,000 in 2001, now employs fewer than 60,000. Low-cost carrier JetBlue reported the largest increase, with 1,601 more full-time equivalent employees.
Southwest Airlines executives said this week that they are prepared to spend years fighting for the repeal of the Wright Amendment, which limits flying out of Dallas Love Field. American and the DFW International Airport oppose repealing the law.
Northwest Airlines now wants to cut its annual labor expenses by $1.1 billion, up from its previous target of $950 million a year. The Wall Street Journal reported that the airline intends to terminate their employees’ current pension plans.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for calling the APFA Hotline.