You have reached the APFA weekly HotLine update for October 10, 2008. This is Frank Bastien, National Communications Coordinator.
If you happened to pass through DFW, LAX, LGA or MIA on October 10, you might have noticed your APFA InfoReps at work, bringing a targeted negotiations campaign right to our passengers. Called “PAX for PAX” (from the Latin for “peace” and an airline abbreviation for “passenger”), our “Peace for Passengers” campaign focuses on improving air travel for both passengers and Flight Attendants.
Flight Attendants understand all too well the challenges that face air travelers today, such as: the reduction in flight schedules, increasingly crowded planes, additional charges for food and beverages, and no blankets or pillows. Along with distributing to passengers an informational flyer and an inflatable neck pillow – some small measure of peace for their flights – our InfoReps were able to convey our understanding of the customers’ plight and, in turn, enlist their support for our cause by highlighting our poor working conditions.
Despite making sacrifices to stave off bankruptcy in 2003, Flight Attendant pay and benefits have been reduced by 33% while workload has increased 47%, resulting in less time with our families. Meanwhile, American Airlines executives have rewarded themselves with $366 million in bonuses over the last three years.
Encourage the support of inquiring passengers by directing them to the website: www.paxforpax.com. Check the InfoRep page of the APFA website to get first-hand knowledge of this and other negotiations activities and to participate in future campaigns.
News accounts this week purport that American is planning a move to what is called an “‡ la carte” pricing structure. Though details remain sketchy, most characterize this as another step in the ever-increasing trend toward the unbundling of airline services from the price of tickets. One thing we can assure you it does not mean is the insidious and surreptitious piling up of duties upon our workforce. The Company’s recent attempts to expand their On Board Retail Sales program without negotiating with their onboard professionals – that’s us – through our elected bargaining voice – the APFA – is just the latest example. You might have noticed the order form included in the current SkyMall magazine with the advice to contact a Flight Attendant to place an order. As reported last week, APFA restated to management its firm position against any attempt by the Company to unilaterally implement additional onboard sales requirements during Section Six bargaining. You might say, in other words, putting its “‡ la carte” before the horse.
Remember that your Negotiating Team is your voice at the bargaining table. When asked by management your opinion on contractual matters, or to take part in another of their suspiciously-timed surveys, the correct answer is: “My Negotiating Team speaks for me.” Continue to send the Team your thoughts and comments on issues important to you by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The APFA Fall Board of Directors meeting will be held over two days on October 21 and 22 at the Marriott Solana in Westlake, Texas. Scheduled start time each day is 9 A.M. Members in good standing are invited to attend the open portions of the meeting.
Visit the APFA website for the latest updates, including videos from the Mobilize to Maximize road shows, Quick Quizzes, and a new EAP section under the Departments menu, with links to several useful reference sites and documents. Wear your Mobilize to Maximize hang tag under your ID and your APFA pin on your uniform to show your unity.
Check the Wings Foundation website at www.wingsfoundation.com for the latest events and Wings Rep contact information for your base.
Remember there are still 1,184 of our members on furlough and awaiting recall. And thank you for calling the APFA HotLine.
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In a turn-about from its previous stance, American announced it will “implement technology to filter pornographic content over the [onboard] Internet service.” American attributes this change in its policy to the concerns expressed by Flight Attendants and the public.
The APFA Safety and Security Department is pleased to announce that the FAA has finally signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Cabin Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP). Information about the Cabin ASAP program was included in the Winter 2006 edition of SKYWORD (pgs. 16-17). You should be receiving information regarding the roll out and start up of the program in the very near future.
What is the Cabin Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP)? Cabin ASAP is a voluntary safety reporting and data collecting program that allows Flight Attendants to self-disclose safety and non-compliance issues without the fear of FAA civil actions or Company discipline. This program was initially modeled after the AA Pilot’s ASAP program. However, AA Cabin ASAP has been modified to address the specific cabin safety issues exclusive to the Flight Attendant work environment. Cabin ASAP has a three-member Event Review Team (ERT) consisting of a designated representative from APFA, the FAA and American Airlines. The ERT will review all reports submitted by Flight Attendants to Cabin ASAP and determine if the report meets acceptance criteria of the program and if so, may recommend constructive actions for the reported cabin safety event and/or concern. Other airlines, such as United, already have a Cabin ASAP program. We are very excited to finally provide an ASAP program for our AA Flight Attendants. Stay tuned! APFA Safety and Security Coordinator Lonny Glover would like to thank Kathy Lord Jones for her vision to try and obtain this program for our Flight Attendants while she was APFA Safety Coordinator. We all appreciate her dedication for assisting the department in achieving this very important safety program for our membership.
Also from the Safety and Security Department, APFA was instrumental in encouraging the Federal Government for funds to study Flight Attendant Fatigue. The FAA Civil Aero Medical Institute (CAMI) has received final approval to send out the Flight Attendant Fatigue Survey. The FAA is utilizing approximately 60,000 Flight Attendant addresses obtained from the Federal Register. The FAA will be mailing a post card to these addresses to verify the information they have on file. It is important that if you are selected and receive this post card, that you please fill out the card and return it immediately. Out of the 60,000 Flight Attendants that receive the post card, approximately 30,000 will be randomly selected by the FAA to complete the fatigue survey. Your assistance and participation in this survey is needed so the FAA can address Flight Attendant fatigue. Thank you for your participation.
The 2009 Benefits Enrollment period is now open and runs through October 31. The APFA Health Coordinator strongly advises all Flight Attendants to carefully review information regarding their 2009 Health Benefits enrollment arriving in the mail and available on the benefits section of Jetnet. Unlike in prior years, the company has contracted with additional plan administrators. Depending on your plan and your address, you may see a change to your default administrator. Additionally, the Point-of-Service plan (POS) permits you to choose another of the three administrators at an additional cost. If you are accustomed to allowing your choices to carry-over from the previous year without going online to complete your elections, you may find yourself with a new plan administrator for 2009.
Don’t be caught unaware! Review the benefits information and make an informed choice. Email the Health Department Representative on Duty at email@example.com, or call headquarters extension 8301 if you have questions.
There is a change from what was announced previously regarding the procedure for those who opt out of benefits coverage. If you opted out of coverage for 2008 and fail to make an election for 2009, your opt-out status will carry over into the new year. This information supersedes what we had been advised and what was announced in earlier HotLines. The Health Department recommends that all Flight Attendants actively make an enrollment selection this year and not depend on rolling over to the default choices. Additionally, it is always a good idea to print a copy of your completed enrollment form for your records.
Flight Attendant retirement seminars will take place during October at LGA, JFK and ORD. The LGA seminar is on Tuesday, October 21 and starts at 3 P.M. in the 3rd floor conference room, hangar 3. The JFK seminar will be held Wednesday, October 22 in the 4th floor conference center, over by pilot operations, beginning at 1 P.M. The ORD meeting will be from 2 P.M. to 4 P.M. Wednesday, October 22 in the west conference room.
Ballots for the Vice Chair election were mailed on September 16 to members based at LGA. They must be received in the designated Post Office Box no later than 10:00 AM central time on October 15, 2008. The Chairperson of the National Ballot Committee reminds members of Article VI, Section 4.D of the APFA Constitution which reads: “Any active member in bad standing must arrange to become an active member in good standing not later than the close of business on the fifth (5th) day prior to the time limit for the return of ballots (the Balloting Date) of any election or referendum.” Contact the Dues Department at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or headquarters extension 8154 to make any necessary arrangements.
Do you know where you will be on Election Day? Absentee voting is the way to ensure your voice is heard in the upcoming U.S. National Elections. To find out how to vote absentee in your state, call or visit the website of your local election board, or go online to any number of informational websites. One recommended site is www.longdistancevoter.org, linked to from our main page. This site can assist you in applying for an absentee ballot in the event you may be away from your polling place on November 4.
Speaking of voting, in a resolution passed September 15 during the second quarterly meeting of 2008, the APFA Executive Committee unanimously endorsed Illinois Senator Barack Obama for U.S. President in the upcoming national elections. In a letter to the Senator, President Laura Glading stated: “Your work as a community activist, Illinois State Senator and U.S. Senator has demonstrated your commitment and support of the issues that are critical to the economic prosperity of workers and working families.” In a national press release announcing the endorsement, President Glading declared “On every issue important to Flight Attendants Senator Obama has been in our corner. From protecting health and safety in the workplace to fighting for U.S. jobs to preserving Medicare and Social Security and advocating a fair and just tax policy for working families, Senator Obama is on our side.” You will find a link to the Obama endorsement press release on the APFA website main page.
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