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1.06.08 – (LAA) – BOD Meets in DC

This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Sunday, January 6, 2008.

On Friday, the APFA Board of Directors met in Washington, D.C., to address a number of important issues for APFA members. During this meeting, the Board strongly endorsed the December 20, 2007, Settlement Agreement between APFA and AA providing a two-year extension of recall rights to our remaining 1,200 furloughed members. Without this agreement, the last of our remaining furloughed brothers and sisters would have fallen off the recall list by May of this year.

As you may recall, APFA’s efforts to extend recall rights for our members, thousands of whom were furloughed after 9/11, ramped up during the 2007 APFA Annual Convention and was reported to our members in June’s Skyword Express. It was at that Board Meeting that Resolution 8 was unanimously adopted, containing the Board’s mandate for the APFA President to make every effort to effectuate further recalls and extend recall rights, outside of Section Six bargaining, and without impacting in any way the 2001 Seniority Integration Agreement.

In the fall of ’07, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) invited a delegation of AA senior management and APFA leaders to her Washington D.C., office for settlement discussions. Though that meeting did not result in an acceptable resolution for our furloughs, it later provided a two-month extension for those scheduled to fall of the seniority list on November 1, 2007. Between November and December 20th, the day the two-year mediated settlement agreement was reached, Senator McCaskill continued pushing the parties to reach an acceptable conclusion.

This Settlement Agreement would not have been possible without Senator McCaskill’s involvement and APFA is thankful for her efforts on behalf of our members. She listened to her constituents and became their voice – initially introducing Senate bill (S.1992) that would have given all FAs furloughed after 9/11 ten-year recall rights, including those who had already been removed from the seniority list, and eventually mediating an agreement between the parties that without a doubt is a compromise solution.

APFA is grateful for the potential of saving 1,200 members’ jobs, but we are greatly disappointed that AA would not agree to allow those who had already fallen off the list to be included in this agreement. After all, every one of our furloughs lost their jobs following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Again, a union must protect and preserve jobs – continued recalls provide relief to our active members on the line as we’ve seen with recent transfers due to the FA recalls in the field, while allowing those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own following 9/11, to return to the careers they love. Anyone who promotes the loss of jobs promotes management’s position that our jobs are simply disposable.

Rumor Control
Q: Is the TWA Seniority Agreement going to change now that Allegheny/Mohawk legislation has become law?
A: No!

The APFA Leadership discussed at length a wholly separate issue Senator McCaskill has been working on with other Senators and House Representatives during Friday’s Board meeting. The issue, which was eventually moved to and included in the recently passed 2007 Omnibus Bill due to the continued delay of the FAA Reauthorization Act, has now been signed into law by President Bush. The APFA leadership received a thorough briefing from Senator McCaskill’s Chief of Staff Sean Kennedy regarding this piece of legislation. It includes the incorporation of Allegheny/Mohawk Labor Protective Provisions (AM-LPP), old airline language (already included in our Contract) that addresses protective provisions for labor in any future airline mergers.

As an entity, the APFA leadership could not and does not support this legislation and Senator McCaskill addressed her disappointment with our decision in a letter she wrote to us last week. This letter can be found on APFAís Web site, under National Officers – President’s page.

Mr. Kennedy described the Senatorís support for workers’ rights when corporations consolidate and her commitment to labor. He also reinforced Senator McCaskill’s unequivocal position that she is NOT interested in making ANY changes to the APFA-AA-TWA í01 Seniority Integration Agreement. THIS ISSUE IS OVER.

Ironically, and on a side note, Senator McCaskill was one of the few Senators who ended up voting no on the Omnibus bill because of all of the legislation added in the end that earmarked millions and millions of dollars for frivolous expenditures she felt were fiscally irresponsible.

It is important to note that rumors, comments, statements, allegations, insinuations, suggestions or even jokes at this point about APFA altering in any way the APFA/AA/TWA Flight Attendant Seniority Agreement is simply a waste of time and energy and only serves to confuse, scare and/or divide our membership. These rumors have been circulating off and on for the past several years and have no merit. They didn’t then, and they don’t now. We are entering into Section Six contract negotiations this spring. Please do not allow rumors to destroy our unity and interfere with the most important bargaining our membership will tackle to date.

There are many other Senators and Representatives who are committed to the rights of workers. These elected U.S. officials will likely be called upon during APFAís next round of negotiations as we sit across the bargaining table from a very large and obstinate corporation with a good deal of support on Capitol Hill. Remember, despite our overwhelming “Yes” Strike vote in 2001, the White House made known their intentions to end any Strike before one could even begin. It is good to have our Union friends on Capitol Hill.

Next week, all APFA members will be sent a letter from the APFA Negotiating Team, the subject of which will be the upcoming APFA Membership Survey conducted by the University of North Texas and linked directly from APFA’s Web site. Please read this letter carefully. The survey will set the tone for APFAís openers with AA next spring. Your Team asks for your participation in this very important assessment of our membersí collective priorities.

Also, APFA’s National Officers along with the APFA Negotiating Committee, will be traveling to Washington, D.C., next week to co-host the Flight Attendant Union Strategic Bargaining Summit. Every FA union in the nation has been invited. APFA’s contract will be the first FA contract bargained with a major airline since the tragedy of 9/11, the subsequent airline bankruptcies and the restructuring of our entire industry. On our heels will be the Southwest FAs, represented by TWU Local 556, when they open their contract next summer. The summit will address the importance of airline labor unions banding together as management does when they devise tactics to bust unions. APFA’s goal is to reverse the direction of the past six years with management controlling and potentially destroying our careers. The AA FAs have worked for decades to turn this formerly short-term job into a career, and we have every intention of moving ahead in this next round of bargaining!

APFA will follow up with a report in next week’s hotline. The most recent Skyword will be hitting the field soon and I suggest you read pages 15 and 21 in particular, which contains more information on APFA’s efforts to reach a solution for the extension of recall rights.

Thatís it for this week. Thank you for calling the APFA Hotline.

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