This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, February 10, 2006. We have 4,037 flight attendants currently furloughed from American, and ten members serving full time in the military. Please keep them in your thoughts.
This hotline will include an update on the Presidential Grievance filed against AMR’s bonuses set for payout in April, information on the Speaker Test, Enhanced Deadheading Procedures, clarification on the Purser Flexibility Test and Diversion Pay, an update on the APFA Convention, Retirement Training Dates, Bankruptcy Watch and Fuel Watch.
Today concluded the last of the scheduled discussions prior to APFA’s Annual Convention on the Presidential Grievance filed against the Executive Bonuses scheduled for payment on April 19th. The arbitration date has been tentatively set for March 7-9 with Arbitrator Robert Harris, the former NMB Chair, as the agreed neutral. The arbitration will consist of a seven-member System Board composed of three management-appointed reps, three labor-appointed reps and the neutral arbitrator. The attorneys for all four parties (the three unions and AA) have been in preliminary discussions this week relating to the exchange of documents and the witness list.
In the meantime, the parties have been involved in frank and open discussions concerning potential solutions to the dispute. As with all disputes, a resolution created by the parties is always preferable to an arbitrator-imposed solution. Discussions will continue up to the point of arbitration.
Yesterday, APFA announced the agreement with AA on the speaker provisions that are to remain in effect during this period of limited growth.
To recap, 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 of 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 bid sheet. 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.
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.
APFA News: The continuation of the Family Leave Arbitration will be held February 16 and 17th in Boston at the Sheraton Four Points Boston Logan Hotel. All members in good standing are welcome to attend. The arbitration will begin at 10:00 a.m. on the 16th. This arbitration will address the remedy of the first Family Leave Award.
Based on membership feedback and discussions at the recent Joint Scheduling Committee meeting, APFA and the Company have reached an agreement to further enhance flexibilities for deadheading Flight Attendants. Enhancements have been made in four areas: First, Flight Attendants who commute from San Juan will have the same ability to request waiver of deadhead on origination as Flight Attendants who commute from domestic cities. Second, Flight Attendants who commute from other international cities will also have the option to request waiver of deadhead on origination provided that the request does not result in less than the required minimum crew deadheading on the original leg. Third, International Flight Attendants requesting waiver of deadhead on termination will be provided with A-12 travel for one leg back to a city in the 48 contiguous states. Lastly, all provisions and enhancements will be applicable to Flight Attendants working a VMC trip sequence, with the exception of reserve flight attendants and military charger flights. These enhancements will go into effect on February 15. A copy of the Letter of Agreement addressing additional deadhead flexibilities will be posted on the Contract Administration page of the APFA Web site next week.
Regarding the Purser Flexibility Test: there has been some confusion surrounding the increased flexibility for pursers. TTOT allows transactions until 0001 local base time the day before the departure of the earliest leg of the trip sequence. After that, Crew Schedule cannot trade trips in open time for the next day, including request for pursers. In Day-Before Coverage, Crew Schedule will honor VP requests submitted by 15:30 prior to running the 16:00 round of MU and they will move up “V” pursers on their own sequences if the purser position is open prior to running both rounds of MU. Also, Crew Schedule cannot override the TTOT buffer. All flight attendants, including pursers are limited to trading down in time by a maximum of two hours.
Flight Attendants are entitled to diversion pay per Article 8.K if you are not blocked in at a gate and/or passenger egress is prohibited. If you do block in when you divert and passengers are not allowed to leave the aircraft, make sure to send a HISEND Form 14 to Pay/Comp explaining that passenger egress was prohibited. The diversion pay is automatic if you do not block in, but it is interrupted when you do. Pay/Comp has no other way of knowing that you blocked in but did not allow passengers off the aircraft.
APFA’s 13th Annual Board of Directors Convention will be held at our long layover hotel in Los Angeles – the Ayres Hotel – from February 20-24, 2006. This is the official business meeting of the APFA leadership. Prior to the official commencement of the Convention, Gerard Arpey and Jeff Brundage are scheduled to meet with the Board of Directors. On Friday, the 24th, a more formal delegation of AA Senior Management will meet with the Board including Dan Garton and Lauri Curtis. Following the first day of business on February 20th, which will include the nomination of one Ad Hoc position and discussion on the annual budget, the APFA Board of Directors will be honoring the following twelve people as award recipients on Monday evening at the banquet:
Elaine Barber will receive APFA’s highest honor – the Martha W. Griffiths award; Steve Sternig – In Memoriam, and Suzie Thorley will receive APFA’s Distinguished Service Award; Kathy Lord-Jones, Debbie Roland, Lonny Glover and Mario St. Michel will receive the Jose Chiu Award for Safety; Ada Asher – In Memoriam, Patty Baskin and Marie Lockbaum will receive the APFA Award of Merit for their work with Wings; and APFA staff members Rosemary Cooper and Kim Ramos will become honorary APFA members for their 20 years of service to our Union.
Tickets for the banquet are $50 in advance, $60 at the door. Please contact Executive Secretary Rosemary Cooper at extension 8121 if you would like to purchase a ticket. Rooms are available at the Ayres Hotel for APFA members – please contact the hotel directly for your reservation. You will also have the opportunity to attend Contract/Scheduling and Retirement workshops on Monday, 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, Archives, Airline Ambassadors and Wings. All training workshops and information booths will be at the Ayres Hotel in Los Angeles.
All members in good standing are welcome and encouraged to attend. It is APFA’s goal to keep the meeting open to members, so please be mindful that your Base Chair is your representative voice during this business meeting. It is not a Town Hall meeting with open dialogue, bur rather a place for members to observe their Union at work.
For the Contract/Scheduling workshops, don’t forget to bring your On Duty Contract Guide. Training will be conducted by the National Contract and National Scheduling Coordinators. If you plan to attend the retirement workshop, please bring your Retirement Made Easy booklet found on www.apfa.org and create and print a Personal Pension Estimate as well as Plan Calculation Formulas. It can be found under Benefits on Jetnet. Finally, please bring a laptop if possible. To enroll in these workshops, contact Linda Plunk, Secretary to the Coordinators at APFA, 817.540.0108 ext. 8200.
Jill Frank Smoak, APFA’s retirement specialist will also be co-conducting two other Flight Attendant specific retirement seminars in February with AA’s retirement counselor Karyn Mally. The first will be in the Miami Dade auditorium on February 27 at 3:30 PM, and the second will be held in SJU on February 28 at 2 PM in the PIQ room above Gate 9. Please go to JETNET and print out a personal pension estimate and the Plan Calculation Formulas and bring these documents to the seminars with you. Future seminars include LGA, JFK and ORD in March and DFW, LAX and SFO in April. Dates and locations will be announced as soon as plans are finalized.
Bankruptcy Watch: Yesterday, the Bankruptcy Judge overseeing the Northwest Airlines proceedings granted the airline’s request to extend the tentative concessionary contract between the Flight Attendants represented by PFAA and NW Airlines, despite the union’s statements that Northwest did not bargain in good faith.
And despite the fact that United Airlines has emerged from bankruptcy, they’re still dealing with their actions taken when inside bankruptcy. A District Court Judge has ruled that the Bankruptcy Court did NOT, in fact, have the right to cancel the pilot’s pension plan, but that this decision should have been made in District Court. Some have a renewed sense of hope that their pensions may still have a chance, but naturally, United says it’s just a legal technicality and that they are confident the pensions will not be restored.
Also, the AFA-CWA-represented Flight Attendants at United are voting on a Tentative Agreement that replaces the defined benefit pension plan with a defined contribution plan. Balloting is set to finalize on the 24th of February. All of the pension plans at United were cancelled and the PBGC was subsequently compensated for having these plans dumped in their laps.
Fuel Watch: As of February 9th, crude oil was $62.62 a barrel down $2.27 from last Thursday’s price. The crack spread price on the 9th of February, which is the cost of refining one barrel of crude to jet fuel cost $11.07 was .72 cents more than last week’s price. That brings the total price of one barrel of jet fuel to $73.69. That is $1.34 less than last week’s price.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for calling the APFA Hotline.