You have reached the APFA weekly HotLine update for Friday, January 23, 2009. This is DFW based Flight Attendant Brenda McKenzie from the APFA Communications Department.
AIRLINE EARINGS REPORTS
It’s that time of year again for quarterly airline earnings reports, this time for the fourth quarter 2008, the months of October, November and December. As usual, AMR is one of the first out and its report took no one by surprise. AMR lost $340 million for the period, though if you exclude special write-offs for items such as early-outs and retiring aircraft, the loss was $214 million. Despite the negative numbers, there are positive aspects of the report AMR CEO Gerard Arpey delivered to employees, in which he highlights the steps already taken in the face of reduced passenger loads, while acknowledging the declining price of fuel.
Though we expect CEO’s to paint a rosy picture to investors, they historically have unusually short memories when the time comes to negotiate with employees. AMR management was quick to bring out the scalpel when jet fuel prices shot skyward. In light of the dramatic drop in oil prices, AA’s costs look more manageable, and we remind Mr. Arpey that the time is ripe for payback on our years of sacrifice. As stated in a joint APFA / TWU press release on Wednesday, “As Wall Street analysts predict a banner year in 2009 for the airline industry, and oil prices remain low – Flight Attendants [at American] remain committed, in federal mediation, to restoring what we lost. We deserve a fair and just contract and will settle for nothing less.”
United Airlines turned in an astounding $1.3 billion loss for the three months. Just like last quarter, a large part was due to lopsided fuel hedges. Excluding these, the company lost $547 million. In conjunction with the report, United announced its intention to shed another 1000 jobs by year’s end.
Southwest reported a loss of $56 million, its second quarterly loss in a row and another oddity in its almost 18-year-long string of quarterly profits. And again, bad fuel hedges are largely to blame. Without them, Southwest would have shown a profit of $61 million. In a rare move, Southwest says it plans to reduce 2009 seat capacity by 4%.
CAPACITY CUTS AND VOLUNTARY FLIGHT ATTENDANT OPTIONS
As for capacity reductions, American is not immune, of course. Slower delivery of new aircraft due to strike disruptions means a reported additional 1% decline at AA. 29 Boeing 737 aircraft are now due to be delivered in 2009, instead of the original 36.
These capacity cuts have resulted in an expected overage of 200 to 400 Flight Attendants and prompted the new voluntary options being proffered to Flight Attendants not currently furloughed. 12:00 noon Central time on Monday, January 26, is the deadline for responding to the Travel Separation Program, Overage Leaves and Partnership Flying proffers. Links to the proffer ballots are on the Flight Service website, under the FS News tab.
Check the Travel Separation and the Leaves/Partnerships pages on APFA.org for Questions and Answers and additional information about these proffers.
Please keep in mind that 1,180 APFA members are still on furlough and awaiting recall.
Also, check out the Wings Foundation website for ways you can help this worthy organization provide aid to our members in need. Go to: www.wingsfoundation.com.
And thank you for calling the APFA HotLine.
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This week saw the start of mediated negotiations, under the guidance of the National Mediation Board. Your team spent the previous several weeks meeting internally and making preparations for mediated talks. Another brief scheduling opinion survey is in the works and should be released shortly. To be taken through the APFA website, the survey will be announced via HotLine and email alerts when ready for member input. You can always send your ideas and comments directly to the APFA Negotiating Team by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or use the link “Tell Your Team What You Want” at the top of the Negotiations page found at: index.php?&view=category&id=351.
UPDATE YOUR INFORMATION
Meantime, be sure APFA has your most up-to-date information by emailing any changes in phone, address or email to: email@example.com.
UPCOMING APFA CONVENTION
Negotiations progress will be just one of the important topics undertaken by the APFA Board of Directors at this year’s Convention, scheduled March 5 ñ 8 in Boston. Budgeting concerns will be front and center. The Union faces dwindling resources due to attrition, while at the same time we incur increased costs related to negotiating a new contract for our members. The scheduling of a dues increase referendum is but one of the areas to be decided in this, the most important of Board Meetings in APFA’s yearly calendar.
The APFA Convention is of special importance during a time of negotiations, as the Base Chairs, who comprise the voting Board of Directors, make vital decisions on the direction of our Organization. Your leadership is anxious to take full advantage of the new political era in Washington which brings a fresh, labor-friendly outlook. As we move further along the stages of the Railway Labor Act, we must be prepared to carry this through and take advantage of every step in the process. We have reached the federal mediation level. What comes next will be under review by the Board, with everything on the table and no possibility left unexplored. Hard choices will have to be made to make May Day our Pay Day.
Each and every member needs to do her and his part by keeping up on the latest information. Call your Base Chairs and Vice Chairs and ask how you can play a role. Take an interest and show the company whose side you are on. Wear your APFA pin and your Mobilize to Maximize hang tag. And remember, “My Negotiating Team Speaks for Me.”
Ballots for the contested positions in the 2009 APFA Base Representation elections will be mailed on January 27, 2009. Each APFA member may vote for the Representatives of the base at which the member is based the day ballots are mailed to the membership. Ballots must be received in the designated P.O. Box by 9 a.m. Central time on February 26, 2009.
You must be a member in good standing (dues current or on an official APFA payment plan) no later than five (5) days prior to the election in order to be deemed eligible to vote. Payment plans must be executed at least thirty (30) days prior to the balloting date for the member to be deemed eligible to vote for their Base Representatives. If you have questions about your dues status, or need to arrange a payment plan, please contact the APFA Dues Department at 817.540.0108 extension 8154, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For answers to your specific questions on the election and balloting procedures, you may also contact the APFA National Ballot Committee via email to: email@example.com or by calling headquarters extension 8311.
APFA has received many calls and emails regarding the Cabin ASAP program. While more information to you on this program is forthcoming, we wanted to address some concerns immediately.
Cabin ASAP is NOT a program to report another Flight Attendant or co-worker on the property. APFA has a successful Professional Standards program and any report disclosing a safety related violation of another co-worker will be excluded, the report will be destroyed and the reporting Flight Attendant will be directed to APFA professional standards.
Cabin ASAP is a VOLUNTARY program. If you chose to submit a Cabin ASAP report and it is accepted into the program you will be protected from Company discipline and FAA civil action.
The underlying purpose of Cabin ASAP is to take a proactive role in identifying the underlying cause of why safety violations are occurring and then work with the Regulator (the FAA), the policy maker (American) and the employee (you) to fix the problem. This can only be achieved through information provided by you. In exchange for your information you will receive NO Company discipline and NO FAA action if the report is accepted into the program.
We want you to continue to communicate your questions and concerns regarding Cabin ASAP. Please email these to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For issues with logging into your account please contact the Membership Department during regular business hours at (817) 540-0108 ext. 8153.
For important or time-sensitive issues regarding contract, scheduling, health, IOD, or other department-related questions please visit the department contact information page to contact the department you need. For immediate assistance please call APFA headquarters at (817) 540-0108
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