Hello. This is George Price, APFA National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, June 27, 2003.
As previously reported a hearing took place this week in Federal District Court in New York in the seniority integration lawsuit filed by former TWA Flight Attendants and the International Association of Machinists against American Airlines and APFA. The hearing, which dealt with the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction to stop the July 2 furlough of the TWA-LLC Flight Attendants, continued with presentation by witnesses on June 25 and 26, and argument by counsel on June 27. We anticipate a ruling by the Court on Monday morning, June 30.
The Company will furlough 3,123 Flight Attendants on July 2. This is a very sad day indeed for the entire APFA membership and leadership. This latest round of layoffs brings the total number of American Airlines Flight Attendants on furlough to 6,149. APFA encourages all Flight Attendants who have been affected by reduction in force to visit the APFA Web site “Furlough Page” for useful resources and information including links to job listings. This page will be updated as information becomes available.
The Company informed the APFA that some Flight Attendants who will be furloughed effective July 2 that were entitled to full guarantee were not fully compensated in their June 30th paychecks. A separate paycheck will be issued to those Flight Attendants affected no later than July 1st. Flight Attendants furloughed on July 2 will receive their final paychecks on July 15, which will include incentive pay, TAFB, accrued vacation, premium pays, etc. minus any applicable deductions for the contractual month of June 2003. Flight Attendants in Massachusetts and California will receive their final paychecks on July 2 in accordance with state law. APFA has advised the Company of Texas Payday Law Section 61.014, which requires employers to provide final paychecks to employees who are laid off within six (6) calendar days of discharge.
The Company notified the APFA on Friday that Flight Attendants scheduled for furlough on July 2 must turn in all Company property (such as their manuals and other Company equipment) within seven (7) days of the effective date of furlough. Furloughed Flight Attendants will not be eligible for continued pass travel until the equipment has been turned in. This policy also applies to other employee workgroups.
In the Rumor Mill: The APFA has not received any information from the Company regarding recall of any furloughed Flight Attendants. Furloughed Flight Attendants will only be recalled once all Flight Attendants on Partnership and Overage Leaves have been recalled.
A Furlough Assistance Meeting will be held on June 30th in STL at TWA-LLC Training Center Auditorium. Sessions will be 1000 and 1400.
A job fair will be conducted in DFW at the Flagship University Atrium Room on July 7th from 1000 until 1400. There will be over 35 employers in attendance. Flight Attendants who have been affected by reduction in force are encouraged to attend this job fair and bring their updated resumes.
The Company has informed the APFA that approximately 200 Flight Attendants returning from Overage Leave in July are no longer qualified and are either in, or past their grace month for recurrent training. In accordance with the Letter of Agreement regarding Self Sign-Up for Annual Recurrent Training (EPTs/RDTs) found on page 130 of the contract, American will begin scheduling these Flight Attendants for the first available training class in July. Each Flight Attendant affected will be notified of the specifics via an HI6 message. They may request an earlier training class by contacting training after 0800 on Friday, June 27, 2003.
Ballots to determine whether to keep the Underfly provision of the Restructuring Agreement or choose one of two other alternatives are due in the designated Post Office Box by 0900 Central Daylight Time on July 11, 2003. The ballots contain the actual contract language for each of the three options. Please read the ballot carefully. There has been some confusion on just what area to complete to select a particular option. The area to fill in to select an option is located below the option language. Please pay close attention to this when completing your ballot.
There has been additional educational information added to the APFA Web site under “Underfly Information” that helps to explain each of the three options. There are also examples that show various trips as they might be constructed using the changes in duty rigs associated with each option.
The APFA continues to receive calls from members who are concerned about the possible overages associated with options 2 and 3. Option 2 has an estimated overage of 208 Flight Attendants and Option 3 has an estimated overage of 309 Flight Attendants. This does not automatically mean there would be additional furloughs if either option 2 or 3 is selected by the membership. If an overage exists, the Company would still have to provide the APFA and Flight Attendants “subject to” furlough with a 60-day written notice. Then, the Company would have to offer Overage Leaves and Partnership Flying in accordance with Article 16. They could also opt to simply absorb the overage.
Flight Attendants who are forced transferred into STL have reinstatement rights into their former base prior to filling of vacancies at that base through the processing of regular transfer requests or recall of furloughed Flight Attendants. If any Flight Attendant forced to transfer to STL rejects reinstatement to her/his former base when openings occur, they will forfeit their reinstatement right to their original base. The language covering forced transfers and recall rights to original bases can be found in Article 16.C and D of the contract.
The STL occupational or bidding seniority of Flight Attendants transferring into STL on July 2 was adjusted on Wednesday, June 25th to reflect their relative bidding position in the STL base. Flight Attendants based in STL have both an STL occupational seniority number and a combined system seniority number. These are posted in the Flight Attendant’s HI8s.
In light of American’s recent announcement that customers will be allowed to use cell phones longer while at the gate, the APFA Safety Department encourages all Flight Attendants to review American Airlines cabin ready procedures.
The APFA Base Visits will conclude next week on June 30th in Raleigh/Durham. We encourage all RDUI Flight Attendants as well as any APFA members in good standing from the Raleigh/Durham area to join us at this last meeting.
The transition of the APFA Web site is still on schedule for July 8th. The changes, although modest, will be noticeable to Flight Attendants who regularly use the site and the APFA Bulletin Board. Again, APFA expects little if any disruption to the site during the transition.
From Washington, D.C.: It appears that the major airlines have halted-a least for now-their campaign for legislation that would force the settlement of airline labor disputes through a style of binding arbitration known as “baseball” or “winner-take-all” arbitration. Most of the major airlines were donating to a group called CESTA whose primary responsibility was to lobby members of Congress on this issue on their behalf. According to disclosure forms filed with the U.S. Senate, American and Delta spent nearly $1 million last year lobbying for RLA modification legislation. In the Annual AMR Stockholders Meeting, AMR CEO Gerard Arpey told those in attendance that “we have already ceased our relationship with CESTA,” alluding to the fact they had withdrawn support of RLA modification. APFA will continue to work together with other airline unions to ensure that any attempts to modify the RLA in the future are defeated.
The APFA Offices will be closed on Friday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day. An Officer on Duty will be available to take emergency calls. All calls of a non-emergency nature will be routed to the appropriate department or representative the next business day.
In Industry News:
On Wednesday, American announced that it had a positive cash flow from its operations in May and expected similar results in June. The announcement caused AMR stock to rally to the point it was the biggest percentage gainer on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. First Boston upgraded its rating of AMR to an “outperform” from “neutral.” In addition, the analysts estimated that the second quarter loss should only be around $1.10 per share as compared to earlier estimates of $3.60 per share.
Flight Attendants at Air Tran Airways reached a tentative agreement with their company on Monday, June 23rd. Although details of the agreement were not released, it is said to contain improvements to compensation, retirement, and benefits. Air Tran Flight Attendants will be voting on the tentative agreement over the course of the next few weeks.
The Professional Flight Attendants Association (PFAA) last week won the right to represent the Flight Attendants of Northwest Airlines. The airline is now refusing to allow payroll deduction of union dues, which is common practice at the airline. In addition, PFAA is fighting to obtain a seat on the Northwest Board of Directors provided to the Teamsters, the former Northwest Flight Attendant union, in 1993 in return for contract concessions. The Teamsters are now looking into alleged election improprieties, and may file a formal complaint with the National Mediation Board.
Alaska Airlines has approached its employees for $200 million in annual cost savings. It is asking for a 23% pay cut from its Pilots as well as the introduction of one overall healthcare and pension package for all employees.
For more industry news, please visit the “News and Events” page of the APFA Web site.
That is it for this edition of the APFA Hotline. Please visit the APFA Web site for the latest information and for past editions of the APFA Hotline.