Today is Friday, October 21, 2005. This is Tommie Hutto-Blake with the APFA Hotline.
From the day Brett, Cathy, Greg and I took office, we have made the AA Flight Attendants’ main concerns the critical issues of our Union. From membership surveys, to base visits, to reading your emails and listening to your concerns while we travel in the field, you told us over and over that your number one concern was fatigue. Our Base Leadership has continued to bring home this message, based on feedback from their members, urging us to find a way to give our membership layover rest relief.
While we are watching every other carrier take things away from their employees, APFA and AA have found a creative way to resolve aPresidential Grievance that will result in some solid relief for our flight attendants in the form of rest and our toe in the door on food.
I don’t need to remind you that since the 2003 concessionary agreement, nearly all of our members have suffered from lack of rest due to shortened layover times.
In short, this year we launched APFA’s We’re Restless campaign, we held a Fatigue Summit attended by Flight Attendant Unions nationwide, we went to Congress with our demand for the government to sponsor a F/A fatigue study. We have requested you share your restless stories with us – some of which were printed in Skyword – and we published the Declaration of Unrest .
We heard you when you told us you were exhausted and needed more time behind the door. AA agreed to work with us to find a way to balance the needs of the American Airlines Flight Attendants while recognizing the financial constraints of AA and the airline industry. Bottom line, we had to create a cost-neutral Presidential Settlement Agreement based on an active dispute in preparation to be decided by a third party and we are happy with the results.
As a result of all this work, I am pleased to announce today that together with AA, we have had a major breakthrough on layover rest, due to the efforts of many of your APFA representatives and all of our collective efforts. While this doesn’t bring us back to pre-2003 rest provisions, it is a major step in our efforts to provide you with relief. We are not finished working on the issues of layover rest and crew meals – which have been important issues for decades.
We have secured a minimum of eight hours “behind the door” effective December 2, 2005, on both Domestic and Caribbean sequences, as well as crew meals on International Long-Range, with the Extended Long Range flights effective November 15, 2005. We have also agreed to meet with the Company quarterly to review other food options for the most egregious sequences where it would be difficult for an F/A to obtain food.
Voluntary training options will also be available, with no need for a trigger process for both equipment and service training. This will allow flight attendants the option to obtain additional qualifications using both online and hands-on training pieces during a year-round basis.
APFA acknowledges the Company’s contractual right in Article 9.B.2. to change staffing formulas within the parameters of the CBA. This language also includes Union safeguards to argue unreasonable workload. Since the reduction in our level of on-board passenger food service earlier this year when BOB began, many of us have been anticipating staffing reductions on certain aircraft because of the reduced workloads in the main cabin. The Company noticed us this week that in December ’05, there will be changes to short-haul beverage-only flights under 1 1/2 hours, and in January ’06 a further reduction will take place on both Hawaii and two-class Transcon Buy-on-Board flights. The Company’s actual “notice letter” with all specifics can be found on the AA Flight Service website.
This Settlement Agreement is another real and tangible result of APFA and AA working together as business partners. We have seen results with our fellow union groups, for example with AA agreeing to hold onto our in-house maintenance, and even turning our maintenance facilities into profit centers, while other carriers out source their maintenance to foreign ports. Also, we have seen our joint efforts by labor and management together to protect our Defined Benefit Pension Plans.
It is important that AA Flight Attendants to be treated as business partners with American Airlines, being in charge of our own destiny. Both parties agreed that flight attendants needed solid relief in the area of layover rest. While we recognize that this is not perfect and it is not everything we wanted, it does reaffirm the potential for future success in our joint problem-solving approach with management.
This is not only a reaffirmation but also a verification that when labor and management focus on problem solving, we can find solutions together. And these solutions can yield tangible results for our members. It is also a reminder of how much more work we have yet to do.
Rest assured that your leadership believes this work can and will be done and that we won’t rest until we tackle all of the tough issues of protecting and preserving our career – together!
And now say on the line for Leslie’s portion of tonight’s hotline where she will brief you on the details of this Settlement Agreement. The complete text is posted on the APFA website. Leslie…
This is Leslie Mayo with the APFA Hotline for Friday, October 21, 2005.
Please remember our 4,106 furloughed flight attendants and our 12 members serving full time in the military in your thoughts.
Since this is not a business-as-usual announcement, I will forego the new format of Fuel, Bankruptcy and Wright Amendment Watches, and general F/A news to focus on the progress APFA has made in the area of layover rest for our members.
As Tommie announced, we have had a breakthrough in the area of layover rest, and even a little movement on the lack of food on board for our longest flights. Also, we have improved trigger training to make it available year-round. As a result of the Presidential Settlement Agreement on the 737 this week, the following improvements will be made to our workrules:
All Domestic layovers effective December 2005 will be built with a minimum of nine hours or more of scheduled rest. In actual operations, domestic rest will not be reduced below 8:20. Basically, this is a me-too with the current pilot provisions and is intended to require “eight behind the door” for Flight Attendants on a layover.
All non-IFS/non-AIFS International layovers effective January 2006 will be built with a minimum of nine hours or more of scheduled layover rest. This will not be reduced below eight hours plus travel time to and from the layover to provide “eight hours behind the door.”
All IFS including deep-South America, Europe and AIFS/Far East layovers effective January 2006 will be built with a minimum of 10:30 of scheduled layover rest and will not be reduced below 10 hours free of duty.
In actual operations, if the minimum layover rest above cannot be met during a sequence, the crew should contact Crew Tracking for an adjusted sign-in time.
As Tommie mentioned, we got one toe in the door on some food for our longest flights and even for some of our uglier sequences where food is difficult to acquire throughout a duty day. This will be evaluated quarterly to identify the most egregious sequences on an on-going basis.
On International long-range flights (as defined in the CBA), Flight Attendants will be provided with a Business Class Entrée, First Class Bulk Salad and a Main Cabin follow-on. On Extended Long-Range flying (as defined in the CBA), Flight Attendants will be provided with two meals; a Business Class Entrée, First Class Bulk Salad with a Main Cabin tray set-up, and a Main Cabin Entrée and set up.
Pursuant to Article 9.F.9.a. and I.9.F.9.a. of the CBA, Trigger Training procedures will be improved so that Flight Attendants can obtain service and equipment qualifications nearly anytime of the year without having to trigger or wait for designated trigger training months based on the Company’s online training offered. This applies to training that requires little or no classroom time in Dallas.
These improvements are the result of a Presidential Settlement Agreement on the 737. The Company acknowledges the considerable expense to APFA in creating the modeling program for “an unreasonable workload on the aircraft” as it relates to Flight Attendant staffing. The Company agrees to explore using this tool in the future evaluation of any staffing changes as it relates to workload on board the aircraft.
APFA is pleased at the work both parties have put into this Settlement to provide relief to our members. Please check the APFA website and AAFlightservice.com for the details of this Presidential Settlement Agreement, as well as some Q&A’s.
On another note, don’t forget that October 31, 2005, is the last day to enroll in Health Benefits on JETNET.
That’s it for this week. Thank you for calling the APFA Hotline.