This is APFA President Tommie Hutto-Blake with a 2007 New Year’s message to the APFA membership.
This year our Union will celebrate its 30th anniversary as the Union representing the Flight Attendants of American Airlines. APFA is the only remaining independent Flight Attendant union in the United States.
During the first two years of this administration we focused primarily on Flight Attendant fatigue, pension preservation and keeping our Contract closed with our remaining work rules, pay and benefits intact. On the subject of pension protection we could not have accomplished what we did without your help. Congress listened and acted by creating the Pension Protection Act of 2006, which has given our employer additional time to fully fund our retirement plan as outlined in Article 36 of our Collective Bargaining Agreement. The lesson we have learned – whether during the time we stood together in ’93 or the pension fight in 2006 is this: Unity Pays.
Recently, senior management has made unilateral changes to Article 35 of the CBA creating an artificial separation between Active and Retired FAs. This action resulted in requiring our Retirees to pay more for healthcare under our negotiated Standard Medical Plan. APFA firmly believes that these changes are in violation of the negotiated terms of our Agreement.
As with any major dispute APFA will continue to urge management to resolve this critical issue. If APFA is unsuccessful in reaching a resolution, we will act with the full rights and privileges of a labor union by going to Arbitration.
APFA needs every one of you to be informed and prepared to act when called upon by your Union. Standing together and facing management in a unified manner will most assuredly accomplish the results we need. Next week APFA will provide you with more information on this issue and how you can get involved to keep our Contract intact. Remember: misinformation could ultimately harm the final outcome of this ongoing dispute. It is imperative that you continue to call the hotline and visit www.apfa.org for the most up-to-date information.
And now please stay on the line for more information on this and other issues. Leslie-
Thanks, Tommie. This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Friday, January 5, 2007.
APFA News: As Tommie mentioned, effective January 1, 2007, the Company has initiated a unilateral change to the Contractual Standard Medical Plan, aka the “80/20 Plan,” which will result in increased out-of-pocket expenses for Retirees who use an out-of network provider. If retirees under the Standard Medical Plan go outside of the provider network, the Company has established 60/40 reimbursement, rather than 80/20. APFA filed a Presidential Grievance in July of last year addressing all changes impacting retiree Health Benefits that created an artificial separation between Active and Retired Flight Attendants under the Standard Medical Plan as outlined in Article 35. The Presidential Grievance states in part, “It is the position of the APFA that the Company is in violation of Article 35.D., Appendix SS [formerly identified as Attachment K Letters I-IV of the 2003 RPA],” by claiming that the Retiree Medical Plan was not incorporated in the CBA by the parties. This continuing contractual violation of excluding retiree Flight Attendants from the benefits and terms negotiated by the parties during the restructuring process in 2003 pertaining to the Standard Medical and Dental Plan for Flight Attendants under Article 35 is a material breach of the agreement made in bad faith by the Company.” To read the Presidential Grievance in full, go to www.www.apfa.org, click on Presidential Grievances, then Grievances Filed.
To date, settlement talks on this issue have been unsuccessful. An April í07 date is scheduled for arbitration in the event that a resolution cannot be reached. We will keep you posted.
Several FAs have contacted APFA regarding a FED EX letter sent to employee addresses on file from the Company. APFA encouraged the Company to send this letter to our members outlining the contractual language and financial obligation for Flight Attendants who fail to meet the annual 420-hour threshold for health benefit payments.
Specifically, the Company notified FAs during the October ’06 Benefits enrollment period that if they fall below the 420-hour annual threshold, this would now trigger a “life-event.” APFA took the position that generating a life-event simply because a FA falls below the 420-hour threshold could result in the loss of insurance benefits. In other words, if you fall below 420-hours in a rolling 12 months, and if this were to be considered a life event, the Company would then require several steps to process this “life-event.” Obviously, some FAs might be unable to complete this process due to extenuating circumstances, triggering the potential loss of benefits for the remainder of the year.
After discussion, the Company agreed that falling below the 420-hour annual threshold should not be considered a “life event.” Therefore, the Company has agreed to offer a one-time opportunity for ALL Flight Attendants to make changes to your Health Benefits, if you so choose. Only those FAs intending to change your Health Benefits should respond to this letter by either FED EXing your response no later than January 17, 2007, or by contacting Employee Services on Jetnetís Benefits page on or before January 20, 2007. If you have any questions, please contact HR Services on Jetnetís live chat.
The APFA Annual Board of Directors Convention will convene on February 8, 2007, in Chicago at the Embassy Suites Hotel on 600 N. State Street. All members in good standing are welcome to attend. If you would like to join us at the Awards Banquet, where Jill Frank Smoak will be receiving the APFA Distinguished Service Award, tickets are $55 in advance, $75 after February 3rd and at the door. If you would like a room at the Embassy Suites, APFA has secured a special rate for a set number of rooms at $129 plus tax. In order to receive this rate, you must reserve your room through APFA. Contact Kim Ramos, APFA Executive Secretary, at (817) 540-0108. ext 8131 no later than January 12, 2007. Or you can email kim at firstname.lastname@example.org. The phone number for the hotel is (312) 943-3880. Room availability is limited so secure your room early.
As we stated in last weekís hotline, Willingness-to-Serve notifications for APFA Base Chair, Vice Chair, Operational Council Representatives (OCRs) and Ad Hoc Places #3 and #4 of the Executive Committee were included in the winter Skyword. Completed Willingness forms for base reps are due in the designated PO Box by 1000 Central Standard Time on January 17, 2007. Willingness forms for Ad Hoc are due in the designated PO Box by 1000 Central on January 31st. Flight Attendants interested in running for any of these positions should indicate the position desired on the line designated for ìslate information.î Any questions about this process should be directed to the National Ballot Committee, ext. 8311.
Another reinstatement proffer to MIA-D is open for two FAs that were displaced from that base in í03 effective January 31, 2007. The deadline for reinstatement requests is 0830 Central Time on January 11, 2007. Eligible FAs have already been sent an HI6 message including proffer reinstatement information. The ballot can be found on aaflightservice.com under Crew Resources. Every FA eligible for reinstatement should complete a ballot as failure to submit – in the event that this round of reinstatement reaches your seniority – will result in the forfeiture of your rights to reinstatement. If you are inactive, you are STILL eligible for this proffer.
Bankruptcy Watch: Bankrupt Northwest Airlines just announced their earnings for the Q4 reporting a net loss of $274 million after taxes, interest and reorganization/bankruptcy items. Otherwise, they say they would have reported operating income of $52 million. As published in the most recent Skyword, this brings Northwest Airlines’ net loss in 2006 to well over -$2 billion.
Fuel Watch: As of Thursday, January 4th the cost of a barrel of crude oil was $55.59, nearly $5 less than last week’s price. The crack spread price was $12.16, about the same as last week’s price. This brings the cost for one barrel of jet fuel to $67.75, nearly $5 less than the price last week. In January of í06, jet fuel was $76.41 a barrel, nearly $9 more than the cost today.
Please remember that we have 2,623 APFA members on furlough. On January 31 we will lose just over 200 of our furloughed members due to the five-year language in Article 16 of our Contract. The Company remains committed to their position that unless APFA is willing to open our entire Contract and enter into Section 6 bargaining in order to amend the five-year recall language in Article 16; it will not consider an extension. APFA continues to seek a solution outside of Section 6 bargaining in order to protect our furloughed members as well as the possibility of any potential furloughs in the future. Our current Contract has an amendable date of April 2008. AA has given the Union no indications for any recalls in the near future.
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That’s it for this week. Thank you for calling the APFA Hotline.