You have reached the APFA HotLine for June 13, 2008. This is Frank Bastien, National Communications Coordinator.
As announced earlier by APFA President Laura Glading, on June 10 your APFA Negotiating Team began a three-week period of intensive bargaining with American Airlines. If you havenít yet heard the message, you may do so by choosing option 7 after this HotLine. In July, the Team will be on the road visiting each base city. A National Mailing with the complete road show schedule will arrive in your mailbox in the coming days.
American has notified APFA that they will be rolling out a new attendance policy effective August 1. They have been testing this policy in MIA and SFO. The attendance policy is NOT incorporated into the contract and management is making these changes unilaterally. However, APFA Representatives have provided suggestions to make improvements where possible. We will be closely monitoring how the new policy affects our Flight Attendants.
Speculation continues around the system on the possible ramifications of service and fleet cutbacks. Despite significant flight suspensions announced the end of May, no further information has come our way regarding how these or any future schedule changes might result in reduced jobs. There are several factors that will help to mitigate reductions in head count. These include a steady attrition rate and the expedited delivery of 737 aircraft. Contractual provisions for overage leaves of absence and partnership flying will also help limit any furlough numbers should the company need fewer Flight Attendants. APFA’s goal throughout this process remains “not one Flight Attendant furloughed.”
As the bidding period for July nears, APFA’s Scheduling Department has the following reminder regarding Vacation Legalities. When bidding for a month in which you will have vacation, remember that you will be removed and paid for your sequence if any part of it overlaps your vacation. That includes both the sign-in period at the start of the sequence and the 15‑minute domestic or 30‑minute international debrief period at the end. Once you have been removed from a sequence for vacation, you will then be legal to fly a trip which signs in after the debrief period – 15 minutes for domestic, 30 minutes for international – following the vacation sequence. Should you have any questions regarding bidding during a vacation month, please contact a Scheduling Rep at extension 8161.
Frequent delays caused by persistent storms this month and last have brought a sharp increase in calls regarding the Maximum Duty Day. Page 25 of the On Duty Contract Guide contains a handy formula for determining your maximum day and when you go illegal. The formula is also included in the emailed and online versions of this HotLine.
When Do I Go Illegal?
__________ Sign in
+__________ Add Operational Maximum Day
– __________ Subtract Debrief: 15 minutes Dom., 30 Minutes Intíl.
– __________ Subtract Scheduled Flying Time
=__________ Ready to Depart with Door Closed
* Be sure to convert to one time zone
In industry news this week, the rising cost of fuel has prompted United Airlines to announce it intends to follow AA’s lead in charging certain passengers for the first checked bag. US Airways is going a step further by adding not just a first-checked bag fee but a charge for all beverages on board.
Throughout the upheavals in our industry over the last several years, our Flight Attendants continue to show their dedication to their profession and attention to those in need. Past HotLines have mentioned the WINGS program, a worthy organization run by Flight Attendants to assist our own colleagues. This week we spotlight Airline Ambassadors, working to bring our spirit of caring to the global community. Go to their web site at www.airlineambassadors.org or call 866-ANGEL-86 to find out how you can help.
Remember we still have 1,192 members awaiting recall to the line and thank you for calling the APFA HotLine.
Safety and Security Hot Topics – last updated June 13, 2008
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 13, 2008.
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.
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 from 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 the 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 email@example.com. It’s important to note: opinions given by various FAA inspectors on procedures for other airlines might not necessarily apply to all carriers.
Contract and Scheduling Hot Topics – last updated June 6, 2008
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 ñ 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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
APFAís 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.