2.03.06 – (LAA) – Presidential Griveance Regarding the Management Cash Bonuses Update, FAs at Continental Reatify Concessionary Agreement

This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, February 3, 2006. We have 4,037 furloughed flight attendants and ten members serving full time in the military. The reduced number of furloughed flight attendants is due to attrition. Please keep them in your thoughts.

As an update to the current APFA presidential grievance regarding the management cash bonuses scheduled to be paid out on April 19th of this year, I wish to report what transpired this last week. There were internal meetings between just the three unions (APFA, APA and TWU) as well as meetings between the unions and management. The parties agree to use two different tracks until this dispute is resolved.

Track one is the adversarial track which would be decided in arbitration with a ruling by a neutral arbitrator. Agreements reached so for by all parties are for the consolidation of the grievances filed by APA, APFA and TWU into one dispute using an expedited process. The parties have chosen counsel and each respective counsel has begun discussions concerning process and exchange of documents. The unions have proffered three names to be considered as the arbitrator in this dispute. As soon as an arbitrator is agreed to and hearing dates are scheduled that information will be made public.

Track two is the use of the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process. This track will be used to resolve this dispute as a parallel track while the parties move forward in the arbitration process. Ultimately the ADR track could have a wider scope in solving this dispute * not just as a short term solution by resolving the April 2006 cash payouts * but potentially a long term solution focusing on all employees of AA.

We will keep you updated as we move down both tracks toward the final conclusion of this dispute. The question that is left to be answered is this: – Will AA prove that they have returned to ‘business as usual’ as we have all seen in the past? Or is AA truly beginning a new era of respect and cooperation with all of the stakeholders of AA? And stakeholders certainly include the employees – those not fortunate enough to be one of the 973 recipients of cash bonuses.

There are discussions scheduled for next week to both continue the ADR discussions and the arbitration process.

The Flight Attendants at Continental, represented by the IAM, ratified a concessionary agreement last week. Details of the Contract are not readily available, however, some of the provisions in the four-year agreement preserve the pay scale for current F/A’s, boost top base-pay to $50 an hour and include a no-furlough clause. The Contract also includes $72M in some wage and benefit cuts.

Continental Airlines management appears to be making an effort to operate in the spirit of turning their company around after announcing yesterday that they would decline the stock awards they were to have received next month. Continental announced their decision based on the fact that their employees agreed to reductions in pay and benefits. Among those forgoing their awards are the top five officers of Continental.

APFA News: From the Contract Department: Retirees or Flight Attendants who resigned from the company between the ages of 50 and 55 take note that if you arranged to have your Supplemental Medical premiums deducted via automatic bank draft, HealthFirst will not offer this service in 2006. Invoices were sent to those who enrolled in automatic bank draft last week. Premiums are due by March 1, 2006. If you have any questions, please contact HealthFirst at 800-711-7083.

APFA’s 13th Annual Board of Directors Convention will be held at the Ayres Hotel – our long layover hotel in LA from February 20-24, 2006. All members in good standing are welcome to attend. You will also have the opportunity to attend Contract/Scheduling and Retirement workshops on February 20th. In addition to these workshops the following APFA Departments will have information booths available throughout the day: Communications, Health, Safety, Hotel, Legislative Committee and Archives. All training workshops and information booths will be held at the Ayres Hotel in Los Angeles.

APFA National Contract Coordinator Brent Peterson and National Scheduling Coordinator Jaimie McNeice will conduct the Contract/Scheduling workshop. Don’t forget to bring your “On Duty Contract Guide.” APFA member and Retirement Specialist Jill Frank-Smoak will conduct the Retirement workshops. Please create and print a Personal Pension Estimate as well as Plan Calculation Formulas for the workshop. It can be found under Benefits on JETNET. Also, bring your “Retirement Made Easy” booklet that was included in Skyword and your laptop if you have one. To enroll in these workshops, contact Linda Plunk, Secretary to the Coordinators at APFA, (817) 540-0108 ext. 8200. Class size is limited so sign up early and plan to stay for the 13th Annual APFA Awards and Recognition Dinner that is being held that evening.

Bankruptcy Watch: PFAA, the union representing the Northwest Airlines flight attendants, argued in Bankruptcy Court today against the company’s request to abrogate their collective bargaining agreement. In a union proposal to the airline this week, PFAA’s reported offer included a possibility of 1,553 job cuts and a 22.5% pay cut. As of reports this morning, the company had not responded to the offer. PFAA spokesperson, Karen Schultz said the union’s proposed job cuts would come in the form of an early retirement plan. She added that the union offer would meet Northwest’s request for $195 million in concessions.

Northwest wants to replace 30% (about 800) of their Int’l Flight Attendants with non-U.S. Citizens to save $20.2 million and to “better serve the market with language and cultural skills”. APFA Supports PFAA in its fight to maintain and protect jobs for U.S. workers and we urge you to voice your support to your legislative representatives. Please check the APFA Web site next week for a link to contact your representatives.

Fuel Watch: As of February 2nd, crude oil was $64.69 a barrel, down $1.20 from last Friday’s closing price. The crack-spread price was $10.35 to refine one barrel of crude into jet fuel putting the price at one barrel of jet fuel at $75.03. This is $3.31 less than last Friday’s price.

And finally, airline employees will be raising funds with a coast-to-coast bike ride for 33 days; one day for each of the fallen crewmembers on 9/11. The funds will go to each of the planned 9/11 memorial sites. The ride will begin near LAX, through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and continue to Shanksville, PA, New York City and Washington, D.C. All airline employees and friends are welcome to join in on the “Airline Ride Across America.” For more information or if you would like to make a donation, visit airlineride.org.

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

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