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2.09.06 – (LAA) – Speaker Test, Language Staffing Requirements

This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator with a Hotline update for Thursday, February 9, 2006.

Last June, APFA and the Company agreed to test the modifications of language requirements on some international wide-body flying. APFA was motivated both by the concerns of foreign language qualified flight attendants that were frequently bid denied and unable to use TTOT or trade with fellow flight attendants, as well as the concerns of non-language qualified flight attendants to have their seniority honored when bidding and serving reserve. Based on feedback from our members and data collected during the “speaker test,” APFA and the Company have reached an understanding for language staffing during the current stagnant environment where transfers have been few and recalls and new hires have been non-existent. While the Company would like to staff with the maximum allowable foreign language qualified flight attendants, they simply cannot do so given the current shortage in some languages.

Feedback from our members proved we clearly have differing opinions on the issue of language staffing. APFA believes this understanding is the optimal solution for all our members whether foreign language qualified or not.

One of the key components of the letter is that foreign language qualified Flight Attendants will not be force transferred in order to meet the Company’s staffing requirements. In addition all foreign language qualified Flight Attendants who speak the language(s) of destination will continue to receive language pay. For example, if there are five Spanish qualified Flight Attendants onboard flights from MIA to SJU, all five Flight Attendants will receive language pay. This includes those flying a galley position.

Beginning with the bid run for March the following will apply: On dual aisle aircraft with two or three classes service, the maximum number of required foreign language qualified flight attendants will be two. This applies to 767, A300 and 777 aircraft. On flights to or from Asia, one foreign language qualified flight attendant will be assigned to either the first or business class cabin and one to the main cabin, exclusive of the galley positions. On all other destinations served by dual aisle aircraft, positions will be awarded in seniority order without regard to cabin, exclusive of the galley positions. In other words, just as today, if a foreign language qualified Flight Attendant holds position five based on their seniority, the selection will still require two other foreign language qualified Flight Attendants in non-galley positions.

In order to reduce disruption of the planned reserve list, during the bid award process, relief lines that would require removing a language-qualified flight attendant from reserve will not be awarded. The resulting open time will be assigned as contractually allowable, or it will be released in open time and create more flexibility for foreign language-qualified flight attendants to trade with Open Time. In the event that the Open Time remains in day-before coverage, the Company will continue to use language specific Option II as necessary. The Company will also publish Language Ready Reserve selections on the bidsheet. Additionally, for dual language destinations, the parties will continue to explore ways to mitigate reserve disruption. To minimize the number of bid denials, the Company will continue to build selections to minimize the number of necessary language qualified flight attendants. These provisions will remain in effect during this period of limited growth.

A copy of the letter is posted on the APFA Web site . We would like to thank all our members who called or wrote with input and assisted us in creating this solution.

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