Representing the Flight Attendants
of American Airlines

Representing the Flight Attendants of American Airlines

06.10.05

This is Jaimie McNeice, National Scheduling Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, June 10, 2005.

In an effort to avoid the typical holiday-mania that can wreak havoc on our monthly schedules including cancellations, reassignments, reschedules, or even management flying our trips, as well as all the other extra interruptions that go along with our flight schedule during major holiday months, APFA and AA have developed some ways to provide relief, which we hope will result in less interruptions all around during the very busy holiday travel seasons.

Today, if a Reserve Flight Attendant gets a trip they don’t want, their options are few, and do not include trip trading. Beginning the 4th of July Holiday weekend, APFA and AA have agreed to a test that will allow a Reserve Flight Attendant to trade their trip with another Lineholder or Reserve. This will be a short test at first – from July 2 through July 10th. Those bases with multiple airports should really see the benefit of this new option. We know that this will prove to be very beneficial and provide some much-needed relief for our Reserve Flight Attendants.

Second, for those F/As on Availability at the beginning of the month, and for those Flight Attendants trying to trade with Open Time during the first week of each month, you will see trips in open time a day earlier. Crew Schedule will now relieve month-to-month schedule conflicts at 72 hours instead of 48 hours prior to the end of the month. This test will begin with the June/July overlap and be in effect through the January/February overlap of 2006.

Third and Fourth, during critical staffing periods, APFA and AA have, in the past, agreed to allow International Flight Attendants to voluntarilypick up Option II trips on Domestic only after all Domestic Option II was processed. For the months of July, September, December ’05 and January of ’06, during our problematic staffing months, not only will International Flight Attendants be allowed to take advantage of Option II on Domestic (at Domestic rates of pay) AFTER Domestic has had a crack at it, but this will also apply to Domestic Flight Attendants who have maintained their International qualifications. They too, will be allowed to voluntarily pick up Option II trips on International – at Int’l pay rates – once the International F/A Option II list has been processed.

And fifth, for those of you who have been concerned about your paid hours after having to take a PO, you will now have the option of requesting an uncredited personal other (PO) . As you know, PO’s today are credited and therefore, any time lost from the PO cannot be recovered using Make-up. This new uncredited PO option will allow Flight Attendants the ability to use Make-up to recoup time lost if they wish. This will allow Flight Attendants the opportunity to improve their paychecks. This test will continue indefinitely.

Please visit www.www.apfa.org to view the details of each of these five Letters of Understanding. We welcome your feedback on all five of these scheduling items. Remember – this is only a test! If it works, great – let us know. If it doesn’t work for you – let us know that, too. If these tests are successful, they may carry over through 2006 and beyond.

Please stay on the line for the rest of the APFA Hotline. Leslie…

This is Leslie Mayo with the APFA Hotline for Friday, June 10, 2005.

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee chaired by Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, held a hearing on pensions in Washington, D.C. Federal Officials from the PBGC, the Government Accounting Office and the Congressional Budget Office testified, urging lawmakers to act quickly to overhaul federal pension laws.

Chief Executives from Delta and Northwest testified at the hearing asking for more time to fund their pension plans, each stating that they may have to file for bankruptcy protection if their obligations to their pension programs are not eased. United’s CEO also testified, basically, in an attempt to justify the path that United has taken through the bankruptcy courts. Senator Grassley indicated an interest in adopting pension legislation that would apply to all defined benefit plans, not just the airlines. He was very concerned that the laws that determine funding levels allow legal reporting that is misleading. APFA representatives were present in Washington to attend the hearing but were denied entrance due to the large number of Hill staffers and guests in attendance. American Airlines was not invited to testify.

The Unions and Management at American sent a letter to the committee reiterating our joint efforts to maintain our pension plans. American also requested permission to submit statements to the committee for consideration and is in the process of preparing these comments. The joint letter to the Committee included the following:

“While the media has focused almost exclusively on the crisis precipitated by airlines abandoning or freezing pension plans, American and its employees are following a different path. We are, together, working hard to maintain our defined benefit pension plans. We urge the Committee to enact legislation that would give us the chance to do so.” The entire text of this letter can be found at www.www.apfa.org .

In another venue but on the same topic, the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., rejected the United flight attendants’ request to stop the PBGC from taking over their pension plan this week. The court ruled that the standard of harm did not warrant an injunction.

All of this action in DC proves that our lobby day later this month on the Hill has never been more important. We look forward to seeing all of you who signed up for this event on June 22nd.

On Thursday the House GOP leadership on the Education and Workforce Committee introduced a long-promised bill to overhaul pension laws. Committee Chair Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), has been promising changes to pension laws since last year, saying current regulations are outdated and dangerous to the financial future of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC). The Bush administration has suggested reform proposals that have raised concerns even among supporters of wide-sweeping pension changes, including the use of yield curves and credit ratings to assess risk-based insurance premiums. Grassley’s Senate committee is also working on a pension bill and he said his plan would be comprehensive and could include some of the Bush proposals to rewrite rules for all companies that offer traditional pensions.

As we are all aware, with summer weather comes severe thunderstorms, which increases the potential for turbulence. APFA continues to receive reports of Flight Attendant injuries while trying to complete seatbelt compliance checks in turbulence. Travis Blower, Cabin Safety Inspector for the FAA, has confirmed to the APFA Safety Department that during turbulence when the seatbelt sign is illuminated only a PA advising passengers to fasten their seatbelts is required. Flight Attendants should not jeopardize their own safety during turbulence to check seatbelt compliance.

From the Contract Department: When you are scheduled to deadhead, please note that you are not automatically checked-in for the flight once you sign-in. If possible, use a self-service machine or Jetnet to check-in for the flight rather than wait until you reach the gate. This will facilitate passenger service with processing over-sales and the standby list. You can check-in for a deadhead using a Self Service machine up to 30 minutes prior to departure. Jetnet sets in operations can be used for check-in as well; however, Jetnet check-in is not allowed within one hour of departure. Beginning later next week, A1 and A3 deadhead check-in will be available from any Jetnet set up to 12 hours prior to departure. The DECS sign-in of 30 minutes prior to departure remains unchanged.

Just a reminder that Jill Frank – APFA’s retirement specialist – will be at the JFK Retirement seminar June 15th at 2:00 p.m. at JFK. There will be a second seminar June 16th – 2:00 p.m. at LGA and an APFA Rep will be in attendance. Future seminars include SFO on June 27, DFW June 30, BOS August 9, IAD August 3 and DCA August 4.

In Rumor Control: one Flight Attendant asked if APFA’s Merger and Acquisition Committee was in ‘secret talks’ to give TWA their seniority back. Fact: Seriously, that train has come and gone. And has been ruled on – in APFA’s favor – in the Federal District Court of New York since November of last year. No one is in secret talks to give TWA their seniority back. The SIA stands status quo.

Last week, we wrote that Northwest was said to be hiring replacement mechanics. They deny adding mechanics to their payroll, however, the $32 an hour job with paid housing and a $2000 bonus was a recruitment posting for a “major airline in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.”

This week, Northwest Airlines has begun recruiting replacement flight attendants even as negotiations with its flight attendants’ union continue. A job listing on Monster.com encourages candidates to apply by June 12 for a training program to become a certified flight attendant with the airline. The job description, placed by recruitment firm Spherion Corp., says people “who successfully complete the Flight Attendant training may be offered employment in the event of a labor dispute or strike.”

Bob Krabbe, an official with the Professional Flight Attendants Association, said Monday that Northwest is engaging in a campaign of “intimidation and fear” by recruiting replacement flight attendants. Northwest, which is negotiating contracts with three of its four largest unions, is demanding $1.1 billion in annual labor savings. Meanwhile, a steady stream of stock sales by Northwest Chairman Gary Wilson has some employees worried that the airline is preparing to file for bankruptcy if it doesn’t get what it sees as timely relief from its labor costs. The NMB denied Northwest’s request for an impasse in mediated negotiations this week, which would trigger the beginning of a 30-day cooling off period between the company and its mechanics. That means Northwest management will have to continue mediated negotiations with its mechanics union.

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

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