This is Brett Durkin, APFA Vice President, with an APFA hotline update for Wednesday, June 1, 2005.
Bid denials caused by the need for specific language qualifications have always been problematic, especially for senior and mid-seniority range speakers. At some bases the problem of bid denial has been growing at a rapid pace during recent months. Those of you who hold such qualifications are a finite group and furloughs, retirements and natural attrition is shrinking your numbers.
Also, with furloughs and a hiring freeze, everyone becomes acutely aware that seniority is virtually stalled. Individual seniority during a furlough period is certainly impacted. The best evidence of this is found when you look at the seniority of Flight Attendants serving reserve. In too many instances, Flight Attendants who had been off reserve for one or more years find their lives totally disrupted because they have been drawn back into the reserve pool. During such difficult times – pure seniority must become an overriding factor.
In an effort to improve these conditions, effective with the July bid run, the number of language-of-destination ‘speaker’ flight attendants on dual-aisle aircraft will change. APFA and the Company have agreed to a six-month test relating to trip selections in foreign language markets.
This change should significantly alleviate the Company’s need for specific special qualifications and will therefore, decrease the need to bid deny for a language qualification. Fight Attendants with a language qualification have told us that bid denials negatively impact their ability to hold selections they bid and should hold by right of seniority. Denials can also impact vacation bidding, and reserve rotations just to name a few.
Positions will be filled in seniority order as follows: Wide-body three-class aircraft will be staffed with two language-of-destination positions, which will be awarded in seniority order – one in the premium cabin and one in main cabin. For marketing reasons on ORD-NGO-ORD the company may continue to utilize the contractual maximum of one speaker per cabin. Per Article I,11 of the current Contract, this will be at the Company’s discretion.
Wide-body two-class aircraft will be staffed with one language-of-destination position, which will be awarded in seniority order with the exception of flights to ZRH and BRU, which will retain the current dual-language capability.
Narrow-body aircraft will remain unchanged.
The contractual language concerning the number of ‘speaker’ positions and cabin requirements is permissive of these changes and can be found on page 531, Article I,11.C.4 of the CBA. Per the Contract, the Company is not obligated to require one speaker per cabin on dual-aisle aircraft; however, the language permits up to the maximum of one speaker per cabin on dual-aisle aircraft.
We are hopeful that this will result in a reduction of bid denials for speaker and non-speaker flight attendants, improved trip trading options for flight attendants with a language qualification, and an improved pure seniority reserve list.
We all look forward to the day when growth and profitability as opposed to stagnation and losses are the norm within our company.
APFA respects and values those of you that hold language qualifications and the contributions you make when using those skills to assist your customers and colleagues in-flight and on the ground. We understand this announcement may be viewed as negative by some, and positive by others. Please understand that we took the impact of many factors into consideration before coming to this conclusion. The full text of the Letter of Agreement is available on the APFA website.
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