You have reached the APFA weekly HotLine update for September 12, 2008. This is Frank Bastien, National Communications Coordinator.
Your APFA Negotiating Team traded openers with management on Tuesday, September 10 and will continue contract bargaining next week. President Laura Glading began by reading aloud a letter in which she stated to the Company: “The sole purpose of these negotiations is to end Flight Attendants’ suffering. That can only be done by restoring what was lost and by making further improvements to our wages, benefits, and working conditions.” The letter continued: “We can all talk about negotiations being a collaborative process but the difficult part is not how well we get along at the bargaining table but producing something concrete, actually fixing the many problems that now exist. We will wait to see if management now accepts what must be accomplished in these negotiations.” A press release announcing the start of talks, the openers from both sides and President Glading’s letter are accessible on the APFA website. Click on Mobilize to Maximize Negotiations ’08.
A Scheduling and Reserve survey is currently available via a link emailed to members with valid email addresses. If you did not receive a link, it is possible we have an outdated email address for you or that your invitation was blocked by your email provider or software. We have received a number of duplicate requests for links, especially from those with AOL, Hotmail and Yahoo accounts. Please check your spam or junk email folders to see if the email containing your survey link was filtered into one of these spots. Often times, adding firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book will allow the email containing your link to get through. You may go online to the APFA website and select the survey tab where you will find a form to request a new emailed survey invitation.
We close this week’s recorded HotLine update with some words of recognition and honor for our Flight Attendant colleagues who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC just seven years ago yesterday. The changes wrought in our industry, in our profession, in our nation and in our lives that morning would have been unimaginable by even the most skilled fiction writers.
Profound change has indeed been wrought and is reflected in the very fabric of our beings as we work in the air transport field from day to day. Nothing can erase ñ and nothing should erase ñ from our collective consciousness the impact of that day and the events that transpired in the aftermath. We continue to feel both the personal and professional losses, in ways as numerous as there are Flight Attendants among our ranks.
But we maintain the spirit common in all of us that has kept us here, going forward, these last seven years and for however many more it takes to protect and rebuild our profession despite the obstacles so suddenly thrown in our paths. It is with that dedication for our careers and for the service we provide that we persist and carry out our work as in-flight safety professionals; that we serve and protect the traveling public. By remembering those lost seven years ago, not just yesterday but today and every day, we pay them tribute. We salute and honor our fallen heroes.
Job loss in our chosen field is but one of the lasting legacies of 9-11 and there are still 1,184 Flight Attendants on our furlough list awaiting recall. Remember the Wings Foundation, run by AA Flight Attendants, for AA Flight Attendants is there to help your colleagues in their times of need. Ask your base Wings reps how you can help.
And thank you for calling the APFA HotLine.
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The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, representing 27,000 machinists, has called a strike against airplane manufacturer Boeing. The strike began in the early hours of September 7 after last minute talks in Florida ended without an agreement. We at APFA stand symbolically in solidarity with our brothers and sisters at the IAM during this difficult time and wish them well in their fight for a fair contract.
The Coordinators from APFA’s Safety & Security and Health Departments have been working to resolve two issues: lav odor on the 757 and excessive aircraft cabin heat during ground delays in hot weather. Both departments met with AA to discuss the status on the proposed solutions for the 757 lav issues and attempt to formulate a plan to address hot aircraft cabins.
757 LAV ODOR ISSUE: AA has returned to the original lav solution, even at a higher cost. This product should help to eliminate much of the lav odor. Also, the air vent for the 757 aft lavs was also found to be a factor in the odor problem. The Maintenance & Engineering Department is having the vents redirected so the air flow from the lav containers will now be vented directly outside as opposed to the aft cargo area. Starting at the end of 2008, the 757’s will begin to be refurbished and brand new lav systems will be installed.
EXCESSIVE CABIN HEAT: Miami Airport Operations has Hot Cabin Procedures to deal with hot aircraft. At the urging of the APFA Safety & Security and Health Departments the company is scheduling a meeting between MIA, DFW, JFK and ORD Airport Operations and Airport Services along with APFA to come up with a plan and procedures to be used across the system to handle Hot Cabin/Aircraft Issues. We are urging a policy to prohibit passenger boarding of any aircraft unless the cabin temperature measured in the aft portion is below 90 degrees. We are also urging new procedures limiting the length of time an APU can be placarded. We will have these procedures in place before the 2009 summer season begins.
Also in regards to the 757 comes this information from the Vice President’s office. As you have read on the Flight Service website, the Company is planning on reconfiguring a number of 757 aircraft for use on certain routes to Europe, with a two-class service. APFA is still in discussion with management over the staffing level on these flights. On the issue of crew rest, the Company has declined to provide “industry leading crew rest” accommodations and APFA has accordingly filed a Presidential Grievance, which is scheduled to be heard in early December.
From the APFA Contract Department, it is that time of the year to ensure you are on track to accrue your Vacation and Sick for 2008. If you are a low-time flyer be sure you have enough paid hours to reach the 420-hour threshold (or your applicable threshold if you are not active all 12 months) by December 31st. If you do not meet your threshold for the calendar year, you will not accrue any vacation or sick. This is particularly important if you have used PVDs as you will be in an overpayment situation if you ultimately fail to accrue vacation.
You can determine whether or not you are on track to accrue by reviewing your HISK in DECS. The lower section summarizes your Sick and Vacation accrual. Hours that count towards meeting your threshold on a year-to-date basis are listed as Total Full Time Paid Hours (TTL FT PD HOURS). Every year, a few Flight Attendants miss earning their vacation and sick time by falling only a few hours or even minutes short of their threshold for the year. A few extra trips could make all the difference in accruing all or none of your Vacation and Sick. For more information, please review the Contract Departmentís Fall 2005 Skyword Article for details. Copies of Skyword are available for download online at www.www.apfa.org from the year 2000 to the present.
With many Flight Attendants recently retiring or beginning Leaves of Absence, please be aware of the following information concerning travel service charges. If you are a retiree or a Flight Attendant who is either off payroll or do not fly enough hours to generate pay to cover travel service charges, you will pay travel charges through invoice rather than payroll deduction. You can check your Travel History on Jetnet to determine if you have any outstanding travel service charges. The travel history will also show whether or not an invoice has been sent for the charges. This information is located under the Charge Date column. Failure to pay within 30 days of the invoice date will result in the suspension of your travel privileges, as well as a $25 reinstatement fee. In the event you will be away from home for an extended period of time or have not received a bill you can remit payment to the following address in order to eliminate any possible interruption to your travel benefits:
NRSA Dept. MD 765
7645 E. 63rd St.
Tulsa, OK 74133
Be sure to include your employee number on your check. We have requested that the Company provide an easier method to pay travel service charges. While they are working towards an on-line solution, it will be some time before that option is available.
Based on discussions between APFA and Crew Planning the Domestic transfer list was purged on September 11. This is being done to reduce, if not eliminate, the number of Flight Attendants who are offered a preliminary transfer or mutual who do not end up accepting the transfer. If you do desire to be considered for a Domestic Transfer or Domestic Mutual Transfer you must re-enter your preference. The next round of Domestic Transfers will be a mutual transfer effective December 2, 2008. Transfer preferences must be updated in your *3 by 0830 Central Time on November 3, 2008. In order to help your fellow Flight Attendant ñ at a time when transfer activity is once again expected to be minimal ñ please do not enter a request that you are unwilling to accept. If you do add your name to the transfer list, please remove it as soon as your plans change and you are no longer interested in accepting the transfer.
The annual Language Drop Proffer is currently open and will close at 0900 Central Time on Wednesday, October 1, 2008. The proffer ballot is located under Quick Links on the home page of the Flight Service website. Information concerning the Language Drop Proffer can be found in Appendix S.18., of the Contract.
In just a few weeks, the annual benefits enrollment period will open. The APFA Health Department advises all Flight Attendants to carefully review the information sent in the mail and available through the benefits page of Jetnet for changes in enrollment procedures this year. If you should have any questions regarding your benefits selections, please contact the Health Department at headquarters extension 8301 or by email to: email@example.com.
APFAís Treasurer advises those retiring to be sure you settle any dues balance owed prior to thirty (30) days after retirement to prevent your account being turned over to a collections agency.
If you are going on an Overage Leave, remember that you remain dues obligated during the leave. 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.
Make your arrangements via email to the Dues Department at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call headquarters extension 8154.
The U.S. National Elections are fast approaching. If you moved recently, you may need to re-register to vote in order to participate. Pay attention to deadlines as they vary by state and are coming due. One good web resource is: www.longdistancevoter.org. This site contains not only information for registering, but for ordering an absentee ballot, always an important consideration for crew members who may easily be away on voting day. A link to this site is on the APFA main page.
Check the events link on the APFA website for announcements and related web links for a number of upcoming community activities of interest to crew members. In Redondo Beach, CA. there will be a 9-11 Tribute dedication on September 13.
The Allied Pilots Association is sponsoring an event in Southlake, TX during the September 11-13 weekend. Gary Sinise (of CSI:NY) and his 14 piece “Lt. Dan Band” are playing a benefit concert at Southlake Carroll Stadium (Dragon Stadium) to honor and support our servicemen and women who have been wounded while engaged in the global war on terror.
The IDF and DFW bases invite all Americanís union members and their dates to a rally to be held at the Ft. Worth Stockyards the evening of Thursday, September 18.
(The following is reprinted from AA’s Jetwire): “Denver Crew Chief William Dise, working with the New Orleans non-profit St. Bernard Parish Project, wants to bring 400 American and American Eagle employees, active and retired, to New Orleans the week of Sept. 21 to help rebuild the Crescent City. The 28-year AA veteran, and former NCAA basketball player, is no stranger to humanitarian missions. Read Dise’s story on Jetnet. Employees, family and friends who want to help can sign up via the American Volunteers site. Enter “Parish” as the keyword, and sign up for a two-day shift.”