Representing the Flight Attendants
of American Airlines

Representing the Flight Attendants of American Airlines

6.22.07 – (LAA) Solidarity Steering Committee

Today is Friday, June 22, 2007. This is Tommie Hutto-Blake, APFA President, with a Hotline message to the APFA membership.

This week, the APFA leadership met for three days creating union policy and meeting with advisors to focus on future union strategy. At the close of yesterday’s meeting, your APFA leadership formed a Solidarity Steering Committee with one individual chosen to represent each of the elected branches of our union. Those for this steering committee are John Nikides, LAX Chair; Megan Mitchell, BOS-I Vice Chair; Tim Weston, Ad Hoc Member of our Executive Committee, and Greg Hildreth, APFA National Secretary. These four APFA leaders have been charged with the responsibility of keeping all of the union government branches connected, unified and focused on APFA’s ultimate collective task – negotiating the best possible Contract for our membership.

During the course of this week’s meeting the APFA Leadership also unanimously endorsed the following Resolution. I believe this resolution, creating a solid union position, was possibly the most important work of our three days of meetings. Resolution #8, dated June 19, 2007, was passed unanimously by all 18 Base Chairs – the Maker was APFA President and the Second was IDF Chair Judy Masterson – it reads: 

Whereas, the APFA Constitution, Article III Section 2.A. states: “the governmental powers of the APFA shall be vested in the Board of Directors, and the officers and representatives of the APFA in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution;” and

Whereas, the employer of all APFA members is the AMR Corporation, with American Airlines as a wholly-owned and primary company under this corporate structure; and

Whereas, the primary purpose of the APFA concessionary bargaining period in 2003 was to prevent AMR from using the bankruptcy protection process to restructure American Airlines; and

Whereas, AMR avoided filing Chapter 11 largely due to the voluntary 2003 concessions negotiated by the three labor unions (APFA, APA and TWU) on AA’s property – conditioned on the understanding that labor/management would share the sacrifices necessary to avoid taking the company into bankruptcy with the purpose of bringing back solvency as the unions assisted in rebuilding a foundation for growth; and 

Whereas, AA’s three unionized workgroups, following the ratification process of 2003, experienced significant financial hardships due to the concessionary contracts which produced massive cuts in wages, work rules and benefits, while providing AA with over $6.4 billion in cost savings relief during this now four-year period; and

Whereas, in the fall of 2003 forward to this date and time AA management has continued to invite the union leadership to the business table of AA/AMR, while using the management consulting firms of BAIN, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Overland Resource Group (ORG) and DuPont, touting a paradigm shift, full transparency, and offering a business partnership to the organized work forces, thus stating the corporate culture of AMR’s past was no more; and

Whereas, for nearly three years the APFA, APA, and TWU leadership, though moving with extreme caution, have attempted to work within what has been labeled a unique collaborative business model; and

Whereas, there is no doubt that senior management further touted that the shared sacrifices of 2003 would mean shared rewards at the point of American returning to sound financial footings, positioning AA’s frontline & management with shared gains at that point; and

Whereas, though this labor/management collaborative strategy did indeed produce substantial benefits to the financial status of both the corporation and upper management, no shared rewards, other than those ‘purchased’ by the unionized work groups during the concessionary restructuring period have been similarly experienced by the front line;

Whereas, that due to this clear disparate treatment of the APFA membership, along with all other employees but for the elite list of 800+ senior executives, the APFA leadership is now forced to reconsider the validity of any and all consultant driven work, as well as any and all labor/management joint projects that have currently produced a clear inequity, which now is threatening the long-term health and viability of our company;

Be it resolved, that meetings with the company be limited to work conducted to protect the contract and to improve the work lives of the AA Flight Attendants and these meetings will not include any consultant-driven work, including participation in any committees or attending meetings with the company for the purpose of achieving cost savings for the company, and

Be it resolved, that the APFA leadership and membership are now moving away from what could have been a profitable labor/management business model, and moving toward full preparation for the next-in-order round of collective bargaining on behalf of the American Airlines Flight Attendants; and

Be it further resolved, that the APFA cease participation in any and all joint projects and immediately refrain from use of any further “Union Joint” or ‘UJ’ trip removals;

Be it further resolved, that the APFA leadership will, henceforth, make any and all efforts to prepare for imminent bargaining with the employer with the purpose of producing the needed gains in wages, work rules and benefits to cause a ratification vote by the APFA Membership, a work group who – as the front line of AA – has experienced extended and longer hours on-duty in a stressful work environment for less pay and benefits in order to make our company solvent once again;

Be it therefore resolved, that the 2008 Contract be the just and equitable reward for our members’ efforts to turn this once proud airline around and thus finally value the above and beyond work of the AA Flight Attendants – if AA management fails to recognize the inherent value of this 2003-2007 period, the APFA will demand this recognition via a negotiated working agreement.”

With the close of these three days of meetings and the strategies discussed and developed, APFA has just entered into the first stage of active collective bargaining, and that stage is internal preparation. The APFA Leadership has taken a firm union position that collective bargaining is now our number one focus.  This focus must remain in place until we have our next-in-order ratified Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). You will read more about this CBA process in the Summer Skyword that will be headed to our printer next week.

And now please stay on the line for the remainder of this week’s hotline, Leslie…

This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with the rest of today’s APFA Hotline.

From the Safety Department: APFA would like to make our members aware that the FAA is in the field checking safety manuals. As a matter of fact, inspectors were verifying the updates as early as one day following the most recent revision date. As each of us already knows, it is an FAA regulation that working crewmembers carry an up-to-date manual. If an FAA inspector finds that your manual is out of date, FAs may be personally fined.

From the Communications Department: Skyword Express was shipped this week to all APFA members’ homes. It is also available for download from the APFA Web site at www.www.apfa.org by clicking on Skyword from the main page links.

APFA is asking all members to visit our Web site to send a letter to your Congressperson regarding two very important issues: OSHA Protections for Flight Attendants in the FAA Reauthorization Bill and the inclusion of specific language for airline crewmembers regarding Family Medical Leave currently in the House . Take a few moments to visit the APFA Web site and click below the Action Alert link to send a letter to your Congresspersons today via Capwiz.

From the APFA Contract Department: The next round of domestic mutual transfers will be paired based on the transfer requests on file as of 0830 Central Time on Monday July 2, 2007. In order to ensure every possible mutual transfer is successful, please be certain that your transfer request accurately reflects only the requests you are willing to accept. If there are any requests on your mutual transfer list that you are no longer interested in, please remove the request so that another FA may be able to be successfully paired – particularly during this period of prolonged stagnation for transfers.

During the last round of mutual transfer pairings, which included the addition of alternate FAs, problems arose with pairing FAs who had more than one transfer request. As a result, the alternate test will not be continued. This makes it even more critical for FAs to review their 3* record in SABRE.

The significant delay in processing passport applications and renewals is having an adverse effect on FAs in the process of renewing their passports. Anytime you renew your passport, all crewmembers are required to use the “EXPEDITED RENEWAL OPTION” with your application. There is an additional $60.00 fee for this service, which the company will reimburse. If you do not make a same-day appointment, be sure to write the word “EXPEDITE” on the outside of the envelope with your renewal paperwork. In addition, the company will provide you with a letter to accompany your renewal application that confirms your position as a Flight Attendant. Please note, this letter alone is not sufficient to receive expedited service from the State Department. You must also pay the additional fee and include a specific request for the service.

Due to the backlog in processing passports, begin the renewal process well in advance of the expiration date of your passport. Email APFA’s Contract Department at contract@apfa.org if the backlog is creating problems with your schedule. If you are experiencing a delay in receiving your passport, you should contact your Congressperson immediately. APFA will continue to search for ways to minimize the negative impact these delayed passports may have on our members.

From the APFA Scheduling Department:  If an FA is drafted out of seniority order either to a trip selection or onto Reserve due to her/his language qualification, s/he will receive the monthly earnings of the trip selection or Reserve hours flown, or the trip selection denied, whichever is greater. Monthly earnings are described in detail in Article 3.O. To review bid denial/pay protection in the Contract, refer to Article 11.D.1, and Appendix I, Article 11.D.1.

Industry News: In the midst of United Airlines’ post-bankruptcy bliss from shedding billons of dollars in labor costs during the bankruptcy process – the airline has announced they will hire approximately 100 new pilots by year’s end. They must, of course, first recall all furloughed pilots remaining on the seniority list that are still willing to work for the low-paying carrier.

And over at US Airways, their post-bankruptcy bliss includes the purchasing of 92 new airbuses to replace their “aging fleet” including 60 narrow-body and 32 wide-body planes.

Lower-cost carrier Spirit Airlines is aiming for a new self-proclaimed title: Ultra-low cost carrier as it begins charging $10 per checked bag at the airport; $5 per checked bag online. The fee applies to the first and second checked bags, with a third bag costing $100. Charges will increase with oversized/overweight bags. They will also begin charging $1 for sodas and coffee, however, tap water will still be free.

We still have 2,104 furloughed American Airlines Flight Attendants awaiting recall.

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

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