Hello. This is Denise Pointer, with an InfoRep Hotline for Saturday May 14, 2005.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005, approximately 140 Flight Attendants attended the Lobby Day on Capitol Hill. It was a beautiful day to be walking the Hill, and walk we did! We even ran a little when just before noon we got to experience a frantic evacuation of the Capitol that included F-16s overhead. Apparently, a small unidentified aircraft strayed into airspace over the White House. It turned out to be someone who was innocent and "lost", but at the time, no one knew that. After about 45 minutes, the all clear was given and we were allowed to return to the Hill to continue our day of lobbying. Needless to say, it elevated our excitement just a bit.
Our presence was well received on the Hill. Many groups met with two Senators and as many as 4 or 5 members of Congress. We discussed our pensions, the effect of fuel prices on AA, and we discussed flight attendant fatigue.
One of the main points we stressed to our lawmakers was that American was trying to do it differently than other airlines. The joint statement regarding the defined benefit pension plan legislation was extremely well received by all in Washington. All who were presented with this letter were very impressed that it was a cohesive joint commitment by labor and management.
The cost of fuel was a very hot topic on the Hill and our call for assistance did not fall on deaf ears. We also shared information on flight attendant fatigue and asked our lawmakers to support and sign a letter to appropriators asking for $1 million to be included in the fiscal year of 2005 Transportation Appropriations bill to continue to study the factors impacting flight attendant fatigue. Signatures supporting this bill were due Friday, May 13th. At the time of the writing of this hotline, we received over 139 signatures in support of the bill. Many of these signatures came as a direct result of our meetings with our lawmakers.
Representative Honda, a member of the Subcommittee on Aviation and the sponsor of the fatigue letter, attended our wrap-up rally, which was held on the steps of the Capitol May 11th. He spoke briefly and thanked us for our efforts.
Also, we had excellent media interest in our plight on the Hill. CNN, ABC, NBC and FOX followed various contingents during their visits and were in place when the evacuation occurred. In some strange way, the irony of the evacuation worked in our favor. We also received press coverage in other printed publications, broadcast stations and on-line news media, including the AP, USA Today and NPR.
It was an educational day for many on both sides of the table and hopefully one that will help make changes to issues that impact our lives. To those of you who came to D.C. on your day off and participated in this very important effort, I want to personally thank you. For many, it was the first Union event they had ever experienced. Personally, for me, it was one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had as a fight attendant.
I know that for many of you, it was logistically impossible to attend the Lobby Day. But, there is one thing you can do that won’t take but a few minutes of your time and it won’t cost you a dime. If you haven’t already done so, please go to www.www.apfa.org and click on the icons to send letters to your Senators and Congressmen/Congresswomen regarding these issues. Everything is done for you – all you have to do is fill in the blanks with your name and address. Now is the time for them to be bombarded with correspondence from every Flight Attendant at AA. Remember, you are their constituents!
On another exciting note, it has just been announced that AA, in combination with all three labor unions will be hosting a lobby day on Capital Hill June 22nd to push for support on critical issues that impact our jobs and industry. Details on this very important event will be forthcoming very soon! If at all possible, I would encourage everyone to try to participate.
I just took the 2nd survey that is now on-line at www.www.apfa.org. It took less than 5 minutes and deals with several topics, but one in particular is Flight Attendant fatigue. It is so important that each of us takes this survey. The results of this survey will be a part of our scientific data used in APFA’s continuing efforts to improve our quality of life.
The We’re Restless bag tags are starting to surface everywhere. If you need extras, email me.
Again, thanks to all who participated Wednesday. It was great to see all the InfoRep pins on the Hill! And don’t forget to mark June 22nd on your calendars.
In wrapping this up, I would like to address a few rumors this week…..
No, the APFA did not rent a bus to drive union representatives from DFW to Washington D.C. (anyone you know who would like to sit on the GreyDog for 36 hours?) The APFA did rent a bus to drive the participants, union representatives and volunteers from the Dulles hotel where the Board was meeting to the Lobby Day meeting point.
And, No, we have heard of no proposed changes to our reserve system as we know it.
Also, there are no recalls anticipated for the remainder of 2005. Of course that is based on the current planned schedule. With attrition, it’s always possible there could be some limited recalls in the mid-2006 timeframe. The rumor that we are operating at 70% is just that – a rumor. According to the AA, we are adequately staffed at this time.
Denise Pointer, DFW InfoRep
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