You have reached the APFA weekly HotLine update. Today is June 19, 2008. This is Frank Bastien, National Communications Coordinator.
Watch your mail in the next few days for an important message from your APFA Negotiating Team in the form of a flyer featuring the dates, times and locations for road shows coming to each base beginning July 8. Go to the main page of the APFA website and point your mouse at your desired base city for a map to that road show meeting location.
Please use the postage paid reply card included in the flyer to let us know if you are interested in attending a road show. The reply card also provides an easy way to update your member contact information with APFA. Remember, American Airlines does not share your contact updates with the Union. Mail in the completed card to let us know of any changes to your address, phone numbers or email, and to easily add your name to the HotLine email list or enroll as an InfoRep member.
Meet members of the APFA Negotiating Team and some of the National Officers at the road shows and hear their report to the membership detailing the 3-week intensive bargaining session now on-going with American Airlines. Exact items to be presented and discussed will depend on the outcome of this bargaining. If an agreement is reached, the road shows will become part of the ratification process. If no agreement is reached Team members will focus on what needs to be achieved in order to mobilize into a single unified force and maximize the value of our contract.
Planned for a launch in time for the start of road shows, the APFA website is beginning a major overhaul to make it easier to access the volumes of information it now contains. More importantly, the new site will prominently feature our members in photos and videos, will include quicker and more direct navigational tools, and make it easier than ever to sign up for email and text updates. Besides making communication to our members more efficient, and quicker to respond to changing news stories, the new site will feature a remodeled Negotiations section to help you stay informed. As time progresses, all the current departments and sections will be updated and refurbished and find their new home at APFA.org.
Escalating fuel costs continue to dominate the industry news as the Air Transport Association estimates that 73 cents of every airline dollar now goes to putting jet fuel in the tanks. Even low cost carriers are getting into the act of reducing service, though Southwest is still predicting modest growth. Here at American, the company has reiterated that final adjustments to future schedules are not yet determined and that it has not made any decision on potential cuts in Flight Attendant manning. We at APFA remain ready to address any planned headcount reduction in order to protect our members’ jobs. Contractual provisions for overage leaves of absence and partnership flying will help limit any furlough numbers should the company need fewer Flight Attendants. APFA’s goal throughout this process remains ìnot one Flight Attendant furloughed.î
When you return to the main introduction of the APFA Information Line, you may select from additional options to hear HotLine updates from our National Contract, Scheduling and Safety and Security Coordinators which were recorded earlier in the month. All our HotLines also remain available for reading or printing on the APFA website. Click on the link, now located in the upper right corner of the main page, to go to the latest HotLine information. You can also add your email to our distribution list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for calling this weekís APFA HotLine.
You’ve reached the APFA Hot Topics Line with the latest issues and reminders reported by the National Contract Coordinator. Today is June 19, 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 ñ 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 companyís Docking Guidance System (or DGS) in reporting block times. If you arrive or depart from a gate using the DGS, 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 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. Recently, 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 who fail to meet their threshold for two consecutive months. If you should fail to meet your threshold for just one month, your premium balance will remain in the payroll deduction system.
You’ve reached the APFA Hot Topics Line with the latest issues and reminders reported by the National Scheduling Coordinator. Today is June 19, 2008
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
APFA 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.
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 Londonís 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 ìHot Topicsî 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.