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11.18.06 – (LAA) – Cabin Jumpseat

This is Tommie Hutto-Blake, APFA President, with a Hotline update for Saturday, November 18, 2006. This hotline update will be a simple fact-based message to all AA Flight Attendants regarding the collective bargaining history of the AA Flight Attendant cabin jumpseat.

In 1976, the American Airlines Flight Attendants were represented by the Transport Workers Union, Local 552. During active section six bargaining, Appendix T, dated May 4, 1976, was negotiated and ratified by the AA Flight Attendants during the course of this standard round of negotiations. Appendix T (page 155), in the 1976 AA/TWU, Local 552 Contract – for the first time – contractually authorized an AA Flight Attendant to use any unoccupied cabin jumpseat for non-revenue travel. In 1979, the first APFA Contract, this contractual language became Appendix Q (page 229) of the 1979 APFA Collective Bargaining Agreement. Today, after over thirty years of bargaining history, the language giving AA Flight Attendants the right to occupy a cabin jumpseat is in Article 30, Letter IV of the Current 2001 Basic Agreement, as modified in 2003 (page 316), which confirms non-revenue travel rights for currently qualified AA FAs.

This contractual language has also been codified in the Flight Attendant Manual. If you turn to General Policies and Guidelines, you will find Flight Attendant jumpseat language on page 1.6. I will read directly from this section of our Part One Manual: “Non-FAA minimum crew jumpseats may be occupied by currently qualified AA Flight Attendants” (the list shows only those with AA Flight Attendant qualifications, but for American Eagle-qualified Flight Attendants). This manual section goes on to state: “Not authorized for cabin jumpseat travel at any time:” The first workgroup listed among others is – AA pilots.

The AA pilots are currently in active section six bargaining. What they cannot bargain for are any items that are already owned by other workgroups. Though the use of our cabin jumpseats are clearly listed in APA’s November 16, 2006, proposal to management, this now public information will only produce ill will among two workgroups. As I have already told the leadership of APA on today’s date, we (APFA and APA) should continue to focus on common interest by standing together as members of organized labor protecting such items as our health and retirement benefits, urging management to do the right thing for all employees. I urge the leadership of APA to reconsider these types of positions. It is critical that labor groups on our property stick together to during this difficult time in our work environment. We certainly don’t need to take positions that disrespect the hard bargaining history of the AA Flight Attendants or any labor group. Let the record show APFA is asking APA to remove this item from their current proposal. We will post a formal letter written to both APA and management on the member’s portion of the APFA Web site early next week. We expect to receive formal responses from both parties to post as well.

Please have confidence that the AA Flight Attendant cabin jumpseat is ours; yours and mine. We negotiated this item long ago and it will remain a part of our current contract in the future.

I would like to make it clear that this is not a reciprocal agreement proposal, but an APA proposal to management seeking an agreement to use the flight attendant cabin jumpseat.

Without a doubt we are in challenging times both on and off our property. You can be confident that no labor group has the right to negotiate something that already belongs to another labor group.

Stay informed and ask all APFA members to do the same. And now please stay on the line for the remainder of this week’s hotline.

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