You have reached the APFA HotLine for June 6, 2008. This is Frank Bastien, National Communications Coordinator.
On June 4, President Laura Glading recorded a special negotiations update to all members regarding the June 3rd briefing by the Negotiating Team to the APFA Board of Directors. The team explained the Union’s strategy for the next three weeks, “focused exclusively on reaching an agreement that provides immediate relief to the Flight Attendants.” The dates for road shows visiting every base in July were also announced. If you have not yet heard President Glading’s message, please select option 7 after returning to the main menu following this HotLine.
APFA continues to press the company on plans for any further schedule reductions that may affect our membership. To date, APFA has received no word from the company on any reductions in the Flight Attendant headcount. As of today, the company has not publicized any further cutbacks since those announced the end of May. Your Union Leadership remains committed to take advantage of any and all provisions in our agreement to limit the number of furloughs that may result from a reduction in Flight Attendant headcount, including overage leaves and partnership flying. As President Glading stated to the Board in Tuesday’s briefing, “our goal is not one Flight Attendant furloughed.”
The Safety and Security Department reminds all Flight Attendants working the Boeing 777 aircraft to include the crew bunks in their pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight inspections and to watch especially for any object or substance that might be blocking or adhering to the smoke detectors, lights and air vents. It is vital that these devices be kept free of any obstruction, from both a safety and functionality standpoint. Your fellow Flight Attendants on long-haul flights depend on the correct operation of the crew bunks for their in-flight rest. Our maintenance department appreciates your alertness to anything that might prevent possible costly repairs.
On June 15, the company’s new $15 fee for most domestic passengers checking their first bag will go into effect. We know of no one who does not expect an increase in bags in the cabin. This change will make it more imperative than ever that the boarding Flight Attendant stop excessive carry-on items at the aircraft door and return the passenger to the gate agent for proper luggage handling. Your APFA leadership has been clear with Flight Service that if any passenger attempts to bring on any item that cannot be stowed within the rules and regulations, the passenger will be referred to the ground staff for their baggage handling needs. We will not risk injury to ourselves or our passengers by attempting to accommodate more than can fit.
Industry news this week was dominated by the growing list of airlines reporting planned reductions in fleets, flights and manpower this year and next. United is looking to scale back up to 18% of its domestic seat capacity and 5% international. Delta Airlines has stated more domestic cutbacks are likely in its future. Continental has announced an 11% reduction while its top two executives declined bonuses and salaries for the remainder of 2008. Airline analysts are warning the public to brace for more service suspensions from most of this nationís carriers. Clearly American is hardly alone in feeling the brunt of skyrocketing fuel costs. Nor have its employees been the only ones to watch their earnings plummet in managementís zeal to put too many seats in the air at too low a price.
While we watch fuel go up and service go down, our Flight Attendants will continue to tirelessly provide the safety, security and service in which we rightfully take pride.
Remember there are over 1,100 APFA members waiting for recall to the line.
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You’ve reached the APFA Hot Topics Line with the latest issues and reminders reported by the National Contract and Scheduling Coordinators. Today is June 6, 2008
Earlier this year, legislation was enacted to provide FMLA – or family leave – benefits as part of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. This new law has two provisions. First it provides eligible employees the right to take up to 26 weeks of family leave to care for a family member in the Armed Forces who is injured or becomes ill while on active duty. Another portion of the law allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of family leave for a “qualifying exigency” – or situation – that arises because a family member is in the Armed Forces on active duty or is called to or notified of pending active duty. The Department of Labor is not expected to write final regulations defining “exigencies” until later this year. While we hope none of our members are faced with a situation in which they need to rely on these provisions, we did want to make sure our members are aware of the availability of the leave. If you have any difficulty in filing for the leave with American, please promptly notify the Contract Department.
APFA 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 they’ve 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 email@example.com 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.
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 Flight Attendants who are not meeting their 420 hour (or applicable) threshold for the purpose of receiving company subsidized health benefits (as part of Attachment K of the restructuring agreement [RPA]) and further do not fly enough hours to cover their premiums. For the past year and a half Flight Attendants 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. Flight Attendants 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 Flight Attendants 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 they’ve 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.
You’ve reached the APFA Hot Topics Line with the latest issues and reminders reported by the National Safety and Security Coordinator. Today is June 6, 2008.
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.
Flight Attendants have reported receiving emails questioning the proper stowing of blankets, specifically: placing blankets in between seat headrests during aircraft taxi, takeoff and landing. APFA’s Safety and Security Department has subsequently held conversations with the FAA regarding this issue. In an email reply available through the “Hot Topics” link on the Safety & Security page of the APFA website, the FAA Cabin Safety Inspector assigned to the American Airlines certificate has confirmed that the practice does not comply with their instructions and poses a potential safety hazard. Should you have questions concerning this issue, please contact APFA at firstname.lastname@example.org. Itís important to note: opinions given by various FAA inspectors on procedures for other airlines might not necessarily apply to all carriers.