5.30.08 – AA Announces Route Cancellations, Heathrow Liquid Restriction Policy, Docking Guidance System

You have reached the APFA HotLine for May 30, 2008. This is Frank Bastien, National Communications Coordinator.

Earlier this week, the company announced several planned route cancellations in what it termed an “initial round of capacity reductions.” Your local and national Union leadership recognizes that Flight Attendants system-wide are concerned about how these and other possible route changes will affect their jobs. Remember that our current agreement includes a number of steps designed to minimize any furlough numbers, including Overage Leaves and Partnership Flying. We continue to press the company for details of any plans that might have consequences for our work force. To date, APFA has received no word from the company on planned reductions in the Flight Attendant headcount.

The British Airport Authority (BAA) at London’s Heathrow Airport has asked us to remind crewmembers they must continue to strictly comply with the liquid restriction policy now in place. While the policy is different that what we face in the US, we have no choice but to comply with the restrictions and follow their policy. Crewmembers leaving Heathrow are allowed to carry 3oz liquid containers in a quart size clear plastic bag without checking their luggage. If you exceed that limitation your bag will be tagged and must be checked. If crewmembers are caught not complying with this policy, the BAA has assured us that they will require ALL crewmembers to check their bags regardless of its contents. We want to avoid that from happening. Again, please do not bring the bag on the plane and place it in the cabin if your bag has been tagged and contains more than the allowance.

A popular saying reminds us “the more things change, the more they stay the same. “That’s never been truer than at AMR, whose CEO Gerard Arpey, according to TheStreet.com, is now “blasting” a number of low-cost carriers for their continued expansion “faster than conditions warranted.” Well the irony is lost on no one that no sooner does Mr. Arpey last week announce significant service cuts, job losses and increases in fees — including a first-ever $15 charge for checking a single bag — then he and his fellow so-called leaders walk away with yet another undeserved performance and retention bonus plan promising them collectively hundreds of thousands of shares of stock. Flight Attendants are asked to continue to wear your “Resign!” hang tag behind your ID to demonstrate to these executives that their corporate level elitism deserves nothing more than their own job loss. Proudly wear your APFA union pin to show your support for your negotiating team as they meet the company face to face beginning June 10.

In industry news: in ballots counted Wednesday, Delta Airlines Flight Attendants again rejected union representation. According to the AFA-CWA, which sought to represent the Delta Flight Attendants, “a larger portion of the Delta workforce than ever before voted for union representation.” The union vows to continue take up the fight again after the planned merger with Northwest, whose Flight Attendants they currently represent, in order “to make sure that [Delta] flight attendants are not left behind as the merger progresses.”

Finally, all the uproar over service cutbacks and added fees nearly drowned out an unusually positive report a week earlier for British Airways CEO Willie Walsh. Though not without his share of criticism in running BA, Mr. Walsh saw fit to decline a reported bonus of almost $1.4 million as he took responsibility in that carrier’s bungled move this past March into its new Terminal 5 at London’s Heathrow Airport. Though the airline reported record profits, its chief executive stated he thought it would be “inappropriate that [he] be paid a bonus.” We are left nearly speechless.

Remember that we still have 1,193 members awaiting recall and thank you for calling the APFA HotLine.

This is APFA Negotiating Team member Jeff Pharr with a negotiations update.

On May 28, American launched the APFA portion of their negotiations website. This is their blatant attempt to negotiate directly with the membership and was not unexpected as they had already created similar sections for their talks with APA and TWU. APFA requests members not visit this website but rather obtain the facts directly from your Negotiating Team via the APFA website, hotlines and Skyword. The Negotiating Team is working on a redesign of the negotiations portion of our website and hotlines. The goal is to be your only source for the most reliable and current negotiations information.

To date there is little news to report beyond our first meeting with the company which we referenced in the InfoRep and regular hotlines earlier this month. This meeting was called to introduce the respective teams and set ground rules and schedules. Our exchange of openers with the company, and the face to face talks, will begin on June 10. The openers are being prepared based on the results from the membership survey in February as well as your calls and emails. The Negotiating Team will report to you after the meeting or sooner should information warrant.

You’ve reached the APFA Hot Topics Line with the latest issues and reminders reported by the National Coordinators.

The APFA Contact Department needs your assistance in determining the accuracy of the company’s Docking Guidance System (or DGS) in reporting block times. The DGS system has now expanded to all gates in Miami. If you arrive or depart Miami, please request the actual in or out time from the cockpit – that is, when theyíve set or released the brakes – and compare this to your HI3. If the DGS records a different time than that indicated by the cockpit, contact APFA’s Contract Department at contract@apfa.org with details of the in and out times recorded. Please also forward any documentation, such as an ACARS printout received from the pilots, to APFA via your local APFA lockbox.

Also from the Contract Department, the final portion of the Comprehensive Health Care Benefits Settlement Agreement reached in January 2007 went into place at the end of May. This portion concerns those FAs who are not meeting their 420 (or applicable) hourly threshold for the purpose of receiving company subsidized health benefits (as part of Attachment K of the RPA) and further do not fly enough hours to cover their premiums. For the past year and a half FAs in this situation have received a quarterly statement advising them of the balance of their outstanding health care premiums. Last week the company sent invoices for premiums accrued from January 1, 2007 through April 30, 2008 which have not been paid through payroll deduction. FAs will have 60 days to make payment to American. If you believe you may need to arrange a payment plan in order to pay this bill, please contact Corporate Receivables at the number provided on your invoice. Going forward, bills will be sent to FAs that fail their threshold for two consecutive months. If you should fail your threshold for just one month, your premium balance will remain in the payroll deduction system.

APFA’s Scheduling reps have noticed an increase in calls about OE trips. As a reminder, if you pick up an OE trip, you are free to drop or trade that trip to another Flight Attendant. If you trade it, then all trips in the trade become OE as well. Reserve Flight Attendants who trade or drop an OE trip theyíve picked up on a duty-free period will not reduce their reserve guarantee. If you have more questions on the OE flexibilities, please contact an APFA Scheduling Rep at extension 8161.

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