Hello. This is APFA Vice President Brett Durkin with the APFA Hotline for the week ending April 29, 2005.
As the stream of bad news for most airlines and employees seems never ending, the leadership of APFA will remain vigilant to the many challenges facing our industry. We continue to monitor the imminent termination of United’s defined benefit pension plans and the ongoing merger discussions between America West and USAirways that could trigger an industry consolidation many analysts believe is inevitable. As the industry we know continues its rapid change there are many items strangling our industry which labor has little control over such as fuel cost, over capacity, the continued growth of low-cost carriers and the poor revenue environment. The leadership of APFA is keenly aware that management has viewed labor as the easiest target to constrain costs rather than looking for true inefficiencies within its own management structure. APFA is committed to identifying ways AA’s management structure can be downsized into an efficient model.
Next week APFA will be conducting the second of four Membership Opinion Surveys via the APFA website in conjunction with the University of North Texas. UNT will only share percentages of F/A responses – your individual answers will not be divulged to APFA. Please take a few minutes next week to visit www.apfa.org after May 4th to fill out this very important survey.
Closer to home, my department has just wrapped up a week Quarterly System Board Arbitrations. The most notable being our dispute over the company’s violation of Article 9.P.6 Cancellation/Illegality Pay Protection in the last 5 days of the month. We do not have the arbitrators award but when the ruling is made it will be announced on this hotline. I would like to thank former BOS Chair Julia Carrigan, former BOS VC Michelle Ferragamo, ORD Chair Liz Mallon and former ORD VC Steve Wilson for filing a notice of dispute on this issue as well as the flight attendants that brought it to their attention. APFA presented an excellent case, witnesses included negotiators for each round of negotiations dating back to 1979. My thanks to Kathy Knoop, Patrick Hancock, Deborah Murphy, Cindi Simpson, Laura Glading and Jena Hopkins for their participation.
Also, this week at APFA HDQ all new Chairs and VC’s attended a three-day training session on the many areas of expertise, which will be required as they settle into their new positions. I would like to thank each of them in advance for the time and dedication they are about to contribute to APFA and to the membership that will be required over the next two years.
Finally, please mark your calendars for APFA’s lobby day in Washington on May 11. You will be joining your fellow crewmembers and the entire leadership of APFA on the Hill to lobby on many issues our profession continues to tackle. Your involvement will be important in shaping our collective futures.
Here is Leslie Mayo with the rest of the APFA Hotline:
Thanks, Brett. This is Leslie Mayo with the remainder of the APFA Hotline for Friday, April 29, 2005.
Please keep our 4,240 furloughed flight attendants and our 12 members serving full time in the military in your thoughts.
Last week United Airlines Management and the PBGC announced a deal that includes compensation to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Board in the amount of $1.5 billion of UAL stock in exchange for the PBGC’s takeover of United’s pension plans. Since last August and up until last week, the PBGC had argued vigorously against the termination of the Pension plans. Details will be laid out by United’s attorneys in front of Judge Wedoff in Bankruptcy Court on Wednesday, May 4th. If this deal is approved by the Bankruptcy Court it will give United a cost-advantage over those airlines who continue to fund their pension plans and are attempting to compete with United. APFA supports AFA’s efforts to retain its defined pension benefit plan and will continue to speak out against this destruction of a worker’s right.
AFA reports that “United Airlines’ plan to terminate our Pension and replace it with a Defined Contribution Plan would cause two-thirds of us to lose over half of our pension benefit – affecting those who are furthest from retirement age the most. That would be devastating for us as Flight Attendants and destroy our career forever. That’s why we are fighting so aggressively to save our pensions.”
Many of you have already signed up for our next Lobby Day in D.C. For those of you who have not, please visit www.apfa.org and click on the link entitled May 11th Lobby Day in D.C. for more information and to sign up to meet us on the Hill. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, employee number and zip code. We will be dealing with Pension Reform, Fuel Prices and F/A Fatigue. Skyword Express should be in your homes shortly and will be helpful while you lobby. It contains a lot of information on the issues you will be dealing with when meeting with your Representatives and their Staff in Congress May 11th. APFA and our lobbyist on the Hill will be providing a briefing and talking points for all of you who join us. We look forward to seeing you – remember there is great strength in numbers. Finally, go to www.apfa.org and click on the “We’re Restless” link for a downloadable bagtag insert.
Retirement seminars are being conducted throughout the system by APFA’s retirement specialist Jill Frank and AA’s retirement counselor Karyn Mally. Join us in Chicago May 3rd from 10:30 to 12:30 in the West Conference Room located on the Mezzanine Level. We will be in Miami on May 19th from 10:00 to 11:30 or 1:30 to 3:00 in the 3rd Floor Conference Room, Concourse C. Please visit jetnet.aa.com to download your pension statement as you will need this individualized document for the seminar.
Jill Frank attended the “Subcommittee on Retirement Security and Aging” on Capitol Hill this week. The hearing related to pension issues including the financial status of the PBGC and the proposals to restructure it. The primary topic was the Bush Administration’s Proposal for Pension Reform. PBGC Chair Bradley Belt testified and expressed his support of the Bush Proposal. Others testimonies, however, were less favorable including Sallie Bailey, Senior VP of The Timken Company and Alan Reuther, Legislative Director of UAW. This hearing points to the importance of every APFA member joining forces in Washington, D.C., on May 11th.
A quick reminder from the Hotel Department: please use the in-room safe at layover hotels where available to ensure your valuables are protected.
Today is the first day that crews will be laying over at the new downtown Rome hotel. Don’t forget to send us your feedback on this new hotel.
The Wings Foundation is an organization that provides direct assistance to AA Flight Attendants in need. One program that Wings administers is the Flight Attendant Disaster Relief (FADR) fund. The major source of money for this fund comes from the efforts of AA Flight Attendants when they facilitate the recycling of cans onboard our aircraft. In 2004, those efforts resulted in $47,000 being added to the FADR bank account, $38,000 of which was distributed to Flight Attendants directly affected by fires in California and hurricanes in Florida. All of this from a bunch of empty cans. Wings would like to remind you that a new “tagging” procedure has been developed to increase the visibility of recyclables to our caterers. Tags for carts containing inserts of cans will be available in operations areas for you to keep with you. The tags should be placed on the door handle of any cart containing cans on all domestic flights and all international flights inbound to the U.S.
In more industry news: Continental Flight Attendants are back to the negotiating table with management, however, they disagree on one inherent issue: the fact that Continental states they want more concessions this round because of the delay in relief following a turned-down T/A. The other unions on Continental’s property ratified their agreements and are currently operating under their concessionary deals while the F/As negotiate.
Finally, don’t forget to log onto www.apfa.org to fill out the 2nd of four membership opinion surveys APFA is conducting via the University of North Texas
That’s it for this week. Thank you for calling the APFA Hotline.
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