Representing the Flight Attendants
of American Airlines

Representing the Flight Attendants of American Airlines

05.27.05

This is Brett Durkin, APFA Vice President, with the APFA hotline for Friday, May 27, 2005.

The entire country is currently talking pensions – as they should. Rights of workers are presently under attack. Pensions in the airline industry are either under attack or severely stressed, and APFA is working hard to protect the flight attendant pension fund. We have all seen the devastation the United Airlines employees and retirees have suffered to their pensions, decimated in a bankruptcy termination.

Our pensions are in better shape than elsewhere in the industry, but we join the battle with our fellow unions to try for relief and protection for all pensions.

Legislation in both Houses of the US Congress has just been introduced to put a moratorium on bankruptcy terminations of pensions for six months. This would apply retroactively to United Airline employees and we endorse and support them in that quest.

Some other unions want to freeze the benefit they already have, to avoid losing what they have in a bankruptcy termination. We support them in that struggle and we support the legislation that would allow them that freeze and give the sponsor 25 years to catch-up on contributions.

But none of those bills offer us the relief that we need. Just like when you have a balloon payment come due that you cannot pay in one lump sum, we need the option to spread out our payments over 7 – 10 years. But there is no legislation out there to help us. That is why we are having a company-wide fly-in to DCA on June 22, 2005. We need to send the message to Congress that one size does not fit all. We don’t need to freeze our pensions, but we still need relief. We don’t need bankruptcy termination protection, but we still need relief. We need relief that protects our pensions and allows us the flexibility to fund the pensions over a reasonable length of time.

There has never been a time in our collective history that activism was more important. We ask each of you to consider joining your leadership and activists members to come join the APA, TWU, senior officers of AMR and us, the APFA, in DCA on June 22nd. Full details can be found at www.www.apfa.org.

Next week, APFA and Flight Service will be announcing a six month test concerning speaker positions on board our aircraft. This test will begin in July and during the test APFA will expect and encourage feedback concerning the final results of this joint initiative. A compete explanation of WHY this test is important to both parties will be apart of next week’s announcement. Stay tuned to the APFA hotline and website for further details. And now please remain on the line for the remainder of this week’s hotline. .

This is Leslie Mayo with the APFA Hotline for Friday, May 27, 2005.

Please remember our 12 APFA members serving full-time in the military and our 4,211 furloughed flight attendants.

APFA’s Membership Opinion Survey has been available for three weeks with record numbers responding. The survey will continue through next week and we encourage all members to participate. Don’t let this opportunity pass to shape the direction of your future without chiming in via this important survey.

APFA, TWU and APA in conjunction with American Airlines will embark on Capitol Hill June 22nd to address Pension Reform in an effort to assist AA in maintaining our existing defined pension benefit plan. AA has agreed to host two charters departing on June 21 from DFW and ORD. These flights will be crewed with volunteers. AA will provide shared accommodations on June 21 for a maximum of 300 employees, all attending on a voluntary basis. Participation will be limited to 300 total volunteers: 75 APFA employees, 75 APA, 75 TWU and 75 independent AA employees. If you are departing from a city other than DFW or ORD, possible ‘business’ travel arrangements are pending. There will be a legislative briefing, scheduled meetings with legislators and a mid-day rally on the Hill. Please wear your uniform. You can sign up at www.apfa.org

The APFA Vacation Trade Reference Board is up and running. 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. 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: webmaster@apfa.org to request your name be removed from the board.

The Company anticipates it will be able to award limited vacation move-ups at most domestic bases for the month of July. The deadline to request a vacation move-up for July is at 5:00 p.m. Central Time on June 1st. Use HISEND form 3 to submit your request. For the month of June the company was able to grant a total of 199 vacation move-up requests for the domestic operation due to factors including proffers and attrition. Fewer request will more than likely be granted for July.

APFA continues to participate in Retirement Seminars with AA at various bases throughout the system. Jill Frank, APFA’s Retirement Specialist along with an AA Representative will be in the following locations:

  • June 15th at 2:00 p.m. * JFK Passenger Service Group Room, 2nd floor, behind the terminal information counter.

  • June 16th at 2:00 p.m. * LGA Flight Service Conference Room, hangar 3, 3rd floor

  • June 27th * TBA at SFO

  • June 30th at 9:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. * DFW Conference Room behind Terminal C’s MOD Office

  • August 9th at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. * BOS Virgin Atlantic Room

These seminars are specifically for Flight Attendants. APFA and AA are still working on scheduling seminars in DCA, RDU and STL.

The DFW Airport is conducting a Mock Disaster Drill in cooperation with local Police, Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services on Tuesday, June 7th. The drill will run from 5:15 am until noon. 300 volunteers are needed to assist in simulating aircraft survivors and victims. If you would like to participate in this drill or obtain more info visit: www.dfwairport.com/volunteers/index.php You can register online. Please remember to bring the signed consent form and picture ID to the drill.

TWU is attempting to establish May 24th as National Aircraft Maintenance Technicians Day. Charles Taylor, who built the first aircraft engine piloted by the Wright brothers, was born on that day more than 100 years ago. So far, 30 states have pending or passed legislation, and TWU is hoping for a House Resolution declaring May 24th AMT Day. APFA supports their efforts and wishes our brothers and sisters at TWU luck in making May 24th official!

In Rumor Control this week, one rumor in particular weaved itself into quite a tale. Quote: “I hear the National Officers have been using our dues dollars to fund their 401K plans!” Fact: “National Officers are off of AA Payroll for their entire 4-year term of office, which deems them ineligible to participate in the same 401(k) plan available to the rest of us. Instead the plan they are offered via APFA (and funded at their own expense) is far inferior – and if they choose to participate in this plan, the money they invest is taken out of their paychecks just as it is ours.

In Industry News: As most of you have heard, US Airways and America West merged last Friday. The new company will be called US Airways. The current CEOs of both companies claim that they will be able to log $10 billion in annual revenues and $2 billion in cash once the deal is finalized this fall. The airline will fly 361 planes including 239 regional jets and 57 turboprops.

The judge overseeing United’s attempts to emerge from bankruptcy has delayed its ruling on the machinists contract until May 31st. This will give both parties more time to come to an agreement and postpone a potential strike by the machinists if their contract is thrown out in court.

According to the union representing Northwest Airlines mechanics, Northwest plans to cut almost 3,000 mechanics jobs and lower wages by 26%. Northwest has indicated it may outsource work to save money and that it must bring its pay scale closer to United’s for competitive reasons. It has also begun seeking replacement mechanics in the event its workers go on strike.

Last week, Alaska Airlines outsourced 472 jobs away from unionized baggage handlers at SEA-TAC and in the hands of contract workers. This move will save the airline about $13 million a year. Alaska chalks this move up to the fact that no agreement has been reached since January with the IAM, the union representing the baggage handlers. The workers rejected a contract offer of pay and benefit cuts that included a guarantee of four years without outsourcing.

On the other hand, the 1,350 AirTran Flight Attendants, represented by AFA just ratified a 3.5 year contract with pay raises from 24% to 62%. ATA flight Attendants hadn’t seen a pay raise in five years. Their current contract included such conditions as $27,000 a year for a five-year F/A working 90 hours a month, no flight cancellation pay protection, and up to 19-hour duty days in some cases.

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

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