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7.10.08 – (LAA) – Voluntary Options Available to Mitigate Potential Furloughs, APFA Dues Q&A’s

You have reached the APFA weekly HotLine update for Thursday, July 10. This is Frank Bastien, National Communications Coordinator.

Questions are pouring in regarding the voluntary options currently available to help mitigate potential furloughs faced by the 900 most junior of our members. Most inquiries concern the Voluntary Bridge to Retirement. Also called the VBR, this one-time offer is extended to all Flight Attendants not currently on furlough who will be at least 50 years old and who will also have at least 15 years company seniority on August 31, 2008. Please note, there is no upper age limit to the eligibility and Flight Attendants who have received a notice of potential furlough, as well as those on paid or unpaid sick, IOD or M4 status, are eligible provided they meet the age and seniority requirements. The ìFA Reductions ñ Volunteer Optionsî section on the Flight Service website links to informational documents as well as a tool for eligible Flight Attendants to elect the VBR. These documents are reprinted on the ìReduction in Forceî page of the APFA website. The deadline for submission is 2300 central time on Monday, July 21.

Unlike the VBR, the Overage Leaves of Absence under Article 16 and Partnership Flying under Appendix F are open only to those Flight Attendants who are not subject to furlough. Of these two options, leaves will be awarded first, followed by partnerships, only after the VBR has been granted. Bidding for Overage Leaves and/or Partnership Flying is done through the Flight Service website. Follow the ìFA Reductions ñ Volunteer Optionsî link and then select the ballot(s) desired. The deadline for bidding is 1030 central time on Monday, July 21. More information is on the Flight Service website and the ìReduction in Forceî page at The APFA site includes a Partner Finder to help interested Flight Attendants find another at their base to team up with for Partnership Flying.

APFA remains committed to do all possible to prevent the involuntary furlough of any Flight Attendant. This includes insuring the maximum number of Overage Leaves requested are granted. The online resources also contain vital information for those who may ultimately face furlough on August 31. Please contact APFA at headquarters extension 8171, or email if you still have questions.

In addition to the VBR, Overage Leaves and Partnership Flying, normal Retirement under Article 36 and the ìEarly Outî under Article 30 remain available for Flight Attendants eligible to take them. Note that the company is giving consideration to waiving the normal six-month notice requirement for ìEarly Outî under Article 30. If you desire to waive the six-month notice requirement please contact your Flight Service Manager. A request to waive the six-month notice requirement also means you will forfeit the right to cancel your election as outlined in Article 30.A.4.

See the online and emailed versions of this HotLine for additional questions and answers regarding the voluntary options and mitigation of furloughs.

Ballots for vice-chair elections at the bases of Chicago Domestic and JFK will be mailed to members at those bases on July 11, 2008 and will be due by 1000 central time on August 11, 2008. There will be no election at Miami International as Jena Hopkins has been duly elected following the withdrawal of the other candidate. If you have any questions concerning these elections, please contact the National Ballot Committee at headquarters extension 8311, or email

As we get through the next few weeks of uncertainty for many in our ranks, please keep in mind that 1,192 of our colleagues are still on furlough and awaiting recall.

Thank you for calling the APFA HotLine.

Road shows hosted by the APFA Negotiating Team were held this week in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. Visit the APFA website for the map with dates, times and locations of meetings to be held in the remaining base cities. Now, more than ever, membership unity is vital as we gear up to again face the company in talks scheduled to resume later this summer. Join your fellow Flight Attendants, APFA National Officers and members of the APFA Negotiating team as we review the progress of talks, strategize for the future, and Mobilize to Maximize.

Following are additional frequent questions heard by our reps concerning the voluntary furlough mitigation options.

The most common questions concerning Overage Leaves are related to seniority accrual and medical benefits.

Seniority accrual for those taking Overage Leaves is as follows:

Occupational (bidding) Seniority accrues for the duration of the leave.
Company (retirement eligibility and vacation) Seniority accrues for the first ninety (90) days and is retained thereafter.
Classification (pay) Seniority does not accrue.

If you wish to keep medical benefits during an Overage Leave, your must pay the full (unsubsidized) cost of your insurance.

Questions regarding APFA dues:

Q. If I am planning on retiring, what happens if I am in dues arrears?

A. Please make sure you settle your balance owed prior to thirty (30) days after retirement to prevent your account being turned over to a collections agency.

Q. What is my dues obligation during Partnership Flying?

A. It is the same as a regular line Flight Attendant. If you are on dues check off, the company will take half of your monthly dues from your paycheck. You are responsible for the other half. Please contact the APFA Dues Department to schedule payment. In order to avoid Article 31 action, the easiest method is to pay your dues in advance or leave us a credit card on file.

Q. Am I dues obligated if I take an Overage Leave?

A. Yes. Once you return from your leave, if you have not prepaid your dues or paid monthly throughout your leave, you will have sixty (60) days to set up a payment plan for the dues accrued and owed. This payment plan must result in payment of your dues accrued during the leave in a time period no longer than twice the length of your leave. It is easier to prepay your dues upfront, or to leave a credit card on file for monthly billing. You will still receive a monthly statement.

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