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3.03.06 – (LAA) – Presidential Grievance Arbitration, Time Accrued Reserve System (TARS), Leave All Blades Behind Bill

This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, March 3, 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.

APFA News: The three unions and AA will be arbitrating the Presidential Grievance next week against the bonuses set to be paid in April to 973 AA managers. The parties continue settlement talks as well as the exchange of documents. The arbitration will begin Wednesday, March 8th 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 and will be held at APA Headquarters. It is APFA’s position that this arbitration should be open to our members. APFA anticipates this issue to be ruled on by the arbitrator prior to the beginning of the hearing.

Primary vacation bids will close at 8:00 a.m. Central Time Tuesday, March 7th. As of Friday the 2nd, Crew Resources was still working on the final slot allocations for next year’s vacation awards. It is expected that the overall allocation will be similar to last year’s allocation. However, due to the fact that there will not be as significant an increase in 2006 summer flying and therefore, less of a decrease for fall flying, there will most likely be a slight increase in slots allocated to summer months and a slight decrease in slots allocated for the fall. There may also be a slight increase in December slots. However, as always, summer and December slots will remain limited. We encourage you to bid your desired vacation slots and enter sufficient back-up bids in order to avoid having your ballot considered as “not enough bids” for the primary round.

From the Scheduling Department: APFA and AA will be conducting a test for reserves at the STL and BOS bases. Currently, Crew Schedule uses the automated program “Time Accrued Reserve System” (TARS) to plot reserves based on GTD (Greater Time To Date). In the past, Crew Schedule tended to assign reserve trips based on a “duration plot,” which would assign flying based on the number of days a F/A is available in GTD order, rather than strictly by GTD. Therefore, for the month of March at STL and BOS, the duration exception will be avoided by Crew Schedule unless it is absolutely necessary to the operation.

APFA is aware that the preferences have not been as effective as we had hoped. Please bear with us as we try to improve the Reserve situation within the parameters of Article 10.

AA has informed APFA that Option II will be open in the bases of IOR and IDF every day for the months of March and April in order to reduce the number of reserves required for these bases. AA has told us that they will consider this test a success if AA does not see an increase in understaffing pay, transfer of flying or incentive pay.

Don’t forget that DFW now has a co-terminal airport. If you are sending a HISEND for MU flying, be sure to specify DFW or DAL if you have a preference. Otherwise, if the trip fits the other criteria you have requested, you may be surprised by the airport you are departing from! Also, reserves who desire to fly out of Love Field should enter that preference.

APFA’s Retirement Specialist Jill Frank Smoak will be traveling the system one more time before she retires. There will be three seminars in March. The first will be held at LGA on March 8th at 2 PM in the 3rd floor Flight Service Training Room. The second will be March 9th at JFK Terminal 8 Second Floor Group Room at 2 PM. And the third will be March 20th at the ORD West Conference Room at 1 PM. Remember to bring your Personal Pension Estimate and Plan Calculation Formula from Jetnet.

APFA is now interviewing for a new Retirement Specialist. If you are interested in this position please contact APFA Contract Coordinator Brent Peterson for a job description and list of suggested qualifications at extension 8271. The deadline for applying is March 31st.

Effective immediately, both of our LAX long layover hotels will be entirely non-smoking. Please check with each of the hotels for designated smoking areas. If you enter your guest room upon check-in and it smells of smoke notify the front desk so that you will not be charged a cleaning fee.

AA crews began laying over at Dallas Love Field this week. See the members-only section of the Hotel Department’s web page on for specifics.

Also, remember to declare any food items upon entry into the U.S. Personal fines of up to $500 have recently been imposed by the US Dept. of Agriculture against crewmembers who neglected to declare fruits, vegetables or other banned food upon entry, whether or not it was acquired in another country.

APFA Legislation: As we mentioned last week, it is important to contact Congress about several issues directly related to your job. First, the Leave All Blades Behind bill. This bill is a result of the TSA’s changes in December of 2005 that allowed scissors, knives and other previously banned weapons on board the aircraft. Second, Flight Attendant fatigue which remains a serious issue. Next, the issue of Foreign Ownership which has bills in both the House and the Senate. And finally, the issue of outsourcing which is designed to give U.S. jobs away to other countries. All of these items are issues APFA takes very seriously. If you would like to join APFA’s Political Action Committee (PAC) fund, which helps APFA fund our efforts on the Hill independent of Union dues, please go to

Bankruptcy Watch: Northwest Airlines, PFAA and ALPA received another extension last Friday from the Bankruptcy Judge to continue bargaining before the judge considered Northwest’s request to abrogate the contracts. The extension lasted through close of business Wednesday, March 1st. The Flight Attendants reached a deal that is still pending approval by their executive committee and a subsequent ratification vote. Details of this deal are not yet public. The pilots, however, continue to negotiate past the deadline and could be subject to the decision of an arbitrator.

Fuel Watch: As of March 2nd, a barrel of crude oil cost $63.36, up $2.35 from the price on February 22nd. The crack spread price on the 2nd of March – the cost of refining one barrel of crude to jet fuel – was $16.91 up about $4.17 from last week’s price. That brings the total price of one barrel of jet fuel to $80.27 as of March 2nd. That is $6.52 more per barrel for jet fuel than last week’s price.

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

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