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This is Greg Hildreth, APFA Secretary and this is the APFA hotline for Friday May 20, 2005.

As I’m sure most of you have heard, the Bankruptcy Judge’s decision to allow United Airlines to dump its pension obligations to its workers last week has inundated the national news. This dangerous precedent perpetuated by Judge Wedoff could have potentially serious ramifications up to and including rendering the PBGC insolvent.

As of September ’04, the PBGC had a deficit of $23.3 billion – an amount that could inevitably increase as other airlines are allowed to dump their pension plans in order to remain competitive. AFA reports that up to two-thirds of the United Flight Attendants will lose over half of their retirement benefits. APFA would like to express our support of the United Flight Attendants. These pensions were bargained for years ago in negotiations and the thought that this hard-earned benefit could be written off outside of negotiations is deplorable.

Closer to home and our joint lobby day will is quickly approaching. Please log on to APFA’s website on Monday, May 23 for detailed information about our joint lobby day.

Now please stay on the line for the rest of this week’s hotline, Leslie…

This is Leslie Mayo, APFA Communications Coordinator, with the rest of the hotline for Friday, May 20th.

Please remember the 12 APFA members serving full-time in the armed forces and our 4,211 furloughed co-workers.

Phase two of the APFA membership opinion survey is in full swing on the APFA website. Simply go to and click on the survey link. Please remind your co-workers to do the same. All members in good standing, including furloughed flight attendants are encouraged to fill out the survey to make your voices heard!

From the APFA Safety Department: Some crewmembers have found their names on the TSA “No Fly List.” Neither APFA nor American Airlines has any control over this list. It is a U.S. government watch list containing approximately 400,000 names (or variations of names). When any passenger or employee tries to make a reservation or build a PNR, it will not be allowed by the Security Clearance Center (SCC) because of a match to a name on the list. Needless to say, this can be extremely frustrating, especially if you are a commuter. Unfortunately, you must go through the process required to clear your name yourself. You will find information in the “Members Only” portion of the APFA website to assist you in doing this. Go to the Safety Department page and click on TSA “No Fly List” for details.

From the Contract Department: Attention IOR/ORD Flight Attendants who will attend EPT’s in June. Please note that due to a change in flight schedules, EPT class options have changed effective June 9. Refer to the HI6 message sent on May 19, JETMAIL, or the Training portion of the Flight Service website for new class schedules and roster numbers. You may also contact the Training Support Desk.

Based on a suggestion by a DFW Flight Attendant, APFA has created an area on our website where Flight Attendants can post vacation trade requests. Please note that this is only a reference board; in other words, all flight attendants who wish to trade their vacations must do so through the proper channels within the Company. Please do not email APFA with your vacation requests. The only way you can submit and receive a vacation trade is via HISEND to Crew Resources. One final note, if you have been successful in trading your vacation, please email APFA’s webmaster at: and request that your name be removed from the board. Another vacation note, the deadline to request a vacation move-up is 1700 on the first contractual day of the prior month. In other words, the vacation move-up request deadline for July is at 1700 on June 1.

There seems to be some confusion on whether we are still earning a commission on Duty Free sales. The answer is YES. The Duty Free Commission program is ongoing and procedures have not changed. Effective April 1, 2005, DFASS/Retail Travel Services, AA’s duty free vendor, took over administration of the program. In the future, quarterly commission checks will come directly from DFASS. This is one of those win/win situations in that as sales increase we are able to increase our earnings.

On Tuesday, American announced that the Tulsa maintenance base has won a contract to overhaul 29 jets owned by Synergy Aerospace Inc., a holding company for Latin American airlines. CEO Gerard Arpey reported that the deal is worth “tens of millions of dollars.” On this news, AMR shares rose nearly 10 percent, to close at $12.09 in Wednesday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

In industry news this week, United Flight Attendants, represented by AFA-CWA, continue to fight against the decision of Bankruptcy Court Judge Eugene Wedoff to turn their pension plan over to the PBGC. The union gave notice Wednesday that it will appeal the May 10th decision allowing the airline to terminate all four of its pension plans. Meanwhile, negotiations between UAL and its machinists’ union stalled over pension issues hours before a bankruptcy court trial was to resume on the carrier’s efforts to abrogate the union’s contract. The impasse left looming the possibility of a strike by the IAM workers, who have threatened to walk out if lower pay and benefits are imposed without an agreement

Alaska Airlines this week cut 472 baggage handlers from its payroll at Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport and replaced them with workers from a United Kingdom-based contracting firm. The IAM, which represents the baggage handlers, has sued the airline alleging that the carrier broke provisions of the federal Railway Labor Act. The union believes the workers are protected because their union is still in contract talks.

The Dallas Morning News this week reported that union officials representing air-traffic controllers warned that staffing at DFW will become “perilously low” if the rate of retirements continues to outpace the rate of new hires. By the end of this year, the approach control facility will operate with 25% fewer workers. The Federal Aviation Administration acknowledged the controller shortage.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for calling the APFA hotline.

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