5.24.06 – (LAA/LUS) – Pension Reform Legislation, APFA EC Notices Company to Cease and Desist

Today is Memorial Day, 2006. This is Tommie Hutto-Blake, APFA president, with a hotline update for Monday, May 29th. This is an urgent call for membership action.
In June 2005, APFA members walked the halls of Congress with over 300 labor and management AA employees asking for Congressional support in obtaining pension reform legislation. Since that time two bills have passed out of both the House and the Senate and early this year the process was begun to merge these bills into one new law. Certain members of both houses are currently sitting on a Conference Committee and these individuals are responsible for resolving the differences between the two bills and then bringing the final language back to each house for an ‘up’ or ‘down’ vote. If the final bill passes both Houses, it will then be taken to the President for signature.
There is a provision in the Senate bill (S. 1783) that contains language that would protect the future growth of the American Airlines defined benefits plans. This language must be in the final legislation in order for our AA Flight Attendant Retirement Plan to grow and be fully funded once again.
The future of our defined benefit pension plan and its accrual is at stake. Only the AA and Continental Flight Attendants are current stakeholders in this battle. All other Flight Attendant workgroups, whether represented or unrepresented, have either given up this negotiated item via the bankruptcy court process or have never been able to obtain a defined benefit pension plan. As a reminder, a defined contribution plan – such as a 401(k), or an employer stock-based plan is considered a supplemental retirement plan. Defined contribution plans are not protected in any way. A defined benefit plan is protected by federal law and protecting what others have lost is the right fight.
I urge each AA Flight Attendant listening to or reading this message to act – and act now. Before it is too late! First, go to the APFA Web site, and review the latest detailed explanation of our fight to maintain the current negotiated language in Article 36 of our 2001 Contract, as modified in 2003. After reviewing APFA’s Web-based call to action please communicate our message with your elected Representatives in both the House and the Senate.
Again, only AA and Continental are still in this fight to have the right to both fully fund our defined benefit plans and have them continue to grow for all employees. This Congressional memorial week recess – from May 29 thru June 2 – is the perfect time to contact your representatives in their home districts. This has been a long, hard fought legislative battle. I urge you to be a part of the final solution!
And now, please stay on the line for this last week’s Hotline message.

This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Wednesday, May 24, 2006. We have 3,949 members on furlough and 10 members serving full time in the military. Please keep them in your thoughts.

APFA News: APFA issued the following press release yesterday:

American Airlines Misrepresents Union Participation to Flight Attendants
APFA Executive Committee Notices Company to Cease and Desist

Euless, TX (May 23, 2006) – The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) passed a resolution during its quarterly executive committee meeting demanding that American Airlines management ‘immediately cease and desist’ the mischaracterization of the union’s agreement of and participation in the Performance Leadership Initiative (PLI) in town hall meetings being held in American’s base cities.

The PLI is an initiative that was developed to identify inefficiencies in all areas of the airline’s operations. The APFA discontinued its participation in the PLI project in January of this year following AA’s announcement of the Performance Unit Plan (PUP) which granted executive bonuses in excess of 100 million dollars at a time when the company and unions continued to explore cost cutting measures.

“The information in the company’s presentation has never been reviewed, verified, approved or sanctioned by the APFA and we have noticed American to cease and desist any PLI-related portions of their meetings and any other distribution of this information,” said APFA Vice President, Brett Durkin.

Durkin continued, “Today, the parties agreed to discuss this issue in an upcoming meeting.”

To view the APFA Executive Committee Resolution on this matter, please go to www.www.apfa.org and click on the link APFA Press Release & EC Resolution – 5.23.06 on the main page.

The FAA is out in force checking manuals throughout the system. Recently, they were in Chicago and New York and fined several crew members for having out of date manuals. It is our understanding that within the next week the FAA may be spot checking manuals in Miami. Make sure your manual is up to date!

Also, F/As are being fined by US Customs and Agriculture for bringing fruit and food items back into the US. This is an on-the-spot personal fine of $500. Repeat offenders could face penalties ranging from $2,000 to $50,000. Check your belongings and discard those items before clearing customs. Please refer to your F/A Safety Manual, Section: Forms/Contacts-3.2 Customs, Immigration and Agriculture Regulations of the Country of Entry for more information.

For Flight Attendants holding a low bid line – meaning a line that is built below guarantee, you should be aware, for purposes of maintaining your guarantee that the value of the same round trip may reduce later in the month due to mid-month schedule changes. If you trade down in time, you will reduce your guarantee not just by the amount of time you trade down, but to what you are now scheduled. Please review Article 25.G.2 of the CBA for details.

Also, remember that low-bid-line Flight Attendants who have not traded down in time are eligible to call to pre-plot flying from Open Time up to the No Option/Option I monthly maximum. You do not have to wait for makeup to bring yourself up to or above your guarantee, but you must request the flying before 0001 local base time, one day prior to the scheduled departure of the first leg of the Open Time trip.

For Open Replacement Flight Attendants, don’t forget to request release from any remaining available days once you have reached the applicable GTD (Page 28 of the On-Duty Contract Guide). If your Option allows for a trip to be plotted, Crew Schedule could potentially plot a trip on AVBL days, even if you have reached a GTD, which was eligible for release.

If you are considering resigning from the company, please remember that the stock options granted under the 2003 Broad Based Stock Option Plan must be exercised prior to your effective date of resignation. Any options not exercised prior to your separation date will be cancelled. Options are retained until the expiration date if you retire or take Article 30. If you resign between the ages of 50 and 55 in order to be eligible for the company’s 50-55 policy, please note the company still considers this a resignation and unexercised options will be cancelled.

The APFA Hotel Department recently conducted reviews in Rio in an effort to secure a safer hotel for our Crews. Despite our proffered alternatives, the company has no intentions of moving crewmembers to another hotel at this point. Please continue to write up your experience in Rio and copy in the APFA Hotel Department.

In May of ’04, the APFA Board of Directors acknowledged the sacrifices of the membership during the Restructuring Agreement by passing a resolution to temporarily decrease dues by $3 per month through April of 2006. APFA has noticed all members in the APFA Hotline and Skyword that the dues will bounce back to the July 2002 originally-ratified amount of $41 per month effective May 1, 2006.

Bankruptcy Watch: Northwest Airlines’ baggage handlers’ union, the IAM, released some details of the Tentative Agreement they reached with the airline last week. The T/A includes fewer holidays and vacation, less sick pay, an 11.5% pay cut and the possible loss of 600 jobs. The T/A also freezes their current pension plan. The union has told its members the T/A “stinks” but added that if the deal doesn’t pass, it would lead to even worse pay cuts and diminishing work rules.

Industry Watch: US Airways has decided to return some of its outsourced Reservations jobs to its own employees. Chief Executive Doug Parker was quoted this week as stating, “Despite our efforts to improve the outsourcing, it will never be as good as having our own employees do it.”

Fuel Watch: As of Tuesday, May 16th, a barrel of crude oil cost $71.76, up $2.23 from last Tuesday’s price. The crack spread price was $15.90, down .50 cents from last week’s price. This brings the cost of one barrel of jet fuel to $87.66 – up $1.73 from the price of jet fuel last week.

One year ago May, the price of a barrel of crude was $49.87, and the crack spread price was $11.86. The total for one barrel of jet fuel a year ago was $61.73, nearly $26 less than the price of a barrel today.

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

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