This is Tommie Hutto-Blake, APFA President, with a Hotline Update for Thursday, September 14, 2006.
As the only independent Flight Attendant union in the nation – representing 18,071 active and 3,882 furloughed AA Flight Attendants – and as mandated by the Railway Labor Act and the labor laws governing this country, APFA has a duty to represent each and every AA Flight Attendant on the seniority roster. This is called the Duty of Fair Representation and it is incumbent upon every U.S. labor organization that is deemed the exclusive bargaining agent for a workforce to act in accordance with the standards of Duty Fair Representation. A labor union must represent its bargaining unit “fairly, in good faith, and without discrimination.”
Though the AA Flight Attendant Seniority List and the former TWA-LLC Flight Attendant Seniority List were not formally merged until the fall of 2002, the official seniority number of the greater majority of flight attendants hired by TWA is April 10, 2001. This was the will of the APFA governing body in 2001. Any flight attendant hired by TWA after the April 10th date has a December 17, 2001 seniority date. All furloughees on the AA Flight Attendant recall list remain there in accordance with Article 16 of the APFA/AA 2001 Contract, as modified in 2003, for 5 years. At that point, and in compliance with this language a flight attendant’s name is removed from the list. Most flight attendant contracts in the industry have a five-year recall timeline. Prior to today, there had never been a time in AA history that a flight attendant was on furlough status for longer than two years. AA has continued to slowly reduce capacity since this industry went into a tail spin following the terrorist attacks in 2001.
Following no less than two years of efforts by APFA to encourage the Company to extend recall rights to all American Airlines Flight Attendants, AA Senior Management told us late last week, following several hours of discussions on this topic, that the only possible way to even consider a change to this language was to open Contract talks early, exposing not just Article 16 containing furlough language, but our entire Collective Bargaining Agreement to the very real possibility of more concessions.
The fact is our 2001 Contract, as modified in 2003, has an April 30, 2008, amendable date. APFA has no intentions of opening our Contract early during a time of such industry uncertainty. Simply put, our Collective Bargaining Agreement is closed.
A couple of important notes: First, any extension of furlough recall rights will apply to all APFA members in the event that we suffer more furloughs in the future due to further capacity shuts or worse impacts from the growing consolidation movement in the aviation community. Also, any major change to our current Contract would be subject to the requirements set forth in the APFA Constitution.
APFA is greatly distressed to report that on October 1, 2006, five years after their furlough date in 2001, 867 American Airlines Flight Attendants – 697 originally hired by AA and 170 originally hired by TWA – will be removed from the Seniority List due to the language in Article 16 of our Collective Bargaining Agreement. This is the first of nine scheduled expiration dates for our flight attendants furloughed between 2001 and 2003. On October 7, 2006, we will lose another 289 more American Airlines furloughed Flight Attendants. While any division among our ranks only serves the employer, the fact remains that our strength is in our unity and in our members. On October 8, 2006, our strength in numbers will be reduced by 1,156 American Airlines Flight Attendants.
APFA will continue to address the issue of extending the industry-standard of five years for AA Flight Attendant recalls with Senior Management outside of opening up our Contract. As your President, it is my duty to represent ALL AA Flight Attendants in the event that we are faced with even more furloughs, bankruptcy, or the chilling idea that we may merge with or be acquired by another airline.
Now, please stay on the line for the rest of the APFA hotline. Leslie…
Thanks, Tommie…This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Thursday, September 14, 2006.
APFA News: October 1st begins the Health Benefits enrollment period for Flight Attendants. Due to several disputes with American Airlines regarding health benefit changes, APFA advises you to be especially careful in the selection of Plans during this enrollment cycle, as the total cost based on your selection may result in added costs that will be borne by you.
As a result of the Restructuring Agreement and negotiations under Attachment K, the Standard PPO Plan was incorporated into the Contract. This incorporation locked PPO benefits from reduction during the life of the agreement. The Point of Service (POS) Plan, however, is not contractualized for any work group on the property. The Company maintains it has a unilateral right to reduce or alter benefits within this Plan by notice to Plan members.
APFA has been noticed of several changes in the Point of Service (POS) Plan for the year 2007 which may impact your overall out-of-pocket costs minimally or significantly depending upon how you use the Plan. Therefore, before electing the Point of Service (POS) Plan, extra caution should be taken to review the changes.
Once an enrollment selection is made, no alteration is possible unless there is an occurrence of a life-changing event.
Please stay tuned to the APFA Hotline, the Web site, and other Union communication channels for potentially new information regarding these disputes prior to making your selection.
From the Contract Department, as a reminder, passports for all Domestic Flight Attendants are required no later than September 30, 2006. Please refer to aaflightservice.com and click on the link entitled Passport and Visa Information toward the bottom of the page under Quick Links. There, you will also find a list of passport-related items that are reimbursable.
APFA is pleased to announce that a two-year renewal of our contract at our current layover hotel in Paris has been reached. The hotel has already begun major renovations which will bring the property up to Marriott standards. We have received assurance that crewmembers will be placed in a quiet section of the hotel during these renovations. As most of you are aware, France has recently passed a no-smoking law that bans smoking in public buildings. This ban will be fully enforced by December 31, 2006.
APFA continues to work with AA in an effort to find resolution with our layover hotel in Rome. We will be sending a review committee to Rome shortly. Our goal for APFA members is to find a safe, clean hotel in downtown Rome while working within the budget AA has provided.
We have secured a new short-layover hotel in Tampa. Please check the Web site for details. We are also in the process of searching for a third long layover property in LAX away from the airport. With the schedule changes in September, our two hotels do not have enough rooms to accommodate the number of rooms we need each night. And finally, we have agreed to a mid-range SFO layover hotel for layovers between 15 and 16 hours. Please check the Web site for details. Our former hotel raised its rates substantially on September 1, 2006, and therefore, we were forced to find another location.
Q: “If I am vacationing out of the country, does my insurance follow me?”
A: Yes. If you have the Point of Service Plan, you or a designee should notify UHC within 48 hours of medical treatment. If you use an HMO you may want to contact your HMO provider prior to leaving the country to verify coverage. If you have Standard coverage, you simply submit your claims as you ordinarily would.
Bankruptcy News: The Northwest Airlines mechanics won a court ruling entitling them to unemployment benefits back to the time they went on strike. The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled this week that a 25 percent pay cut that was imposed on the mechanics constituted a lockout.
The NW Flight Attendants continue to prepare for a strike despite the fact that a federal judge put a temporary block on their legal ability to strike. NW Airlines says that if the Flight Attendants do walk out, it could put the airline out of business. There is no news on a proposed date for the judge’s final decision. In the meantime, the company has recalled all of their furloughed flight attendants due to the significant number of resignations and retirements in recent months.
Delta has sent recall notices to 200 pilots and 65 flight attendants as they expand their route system. Delta says they anticipate emerging from the protection of bankruptcy sometime in 2007. Both Delta and Northwest entered bankruptcy in September of last year.
Industry News: AA has filed a request with the DOT to operate Dallas Ft. Worth – Beijing route beginning March 25, 2007. If AA secures this route, it will mean more jobs for Flight Attendants. Please visit www.flytochinaonaa.com to send a letter to the DOT Secretary in support of AA securing this new route. The deadline for Congressional support is September 22, 2006.
Fuel Watch: As of Wednesday, September 13th, a barrel of crude oil cost $63.97, down $4.63 from last week’s price. The crack spread price was $8.61, down $5.17 from last week’s price. This brings the cost of one barrel of jet fuel to $72.58 – down $9.80 from the price of jet fuel a week ago.
One year ago September, the price of a barrel of crude was $65.55, and the crack-spread price was $28.41. The total for one barrel of jet fuel a year ago was $93.96, about $21 more than the price of a barrel of jet fuel today.
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That’s it for this week. Thank you for calling the APFA Hotline.