This is APFA President Laura Glading with a special HotLine update.
Today, August 18, American announced the reopening of the Overage Leave and Modified Partnership Flying proffers for a period of one week.
Since first announced in June, APFA has explored every option available to help offset the potential furlough by American of up to 1,200 of our members. These efforts continued after the proffers closed as we assisted the company in combining leave ballots for maximum benefit.
During this time, we began to press the company and Department of Labor for more detailed information concerning the COBRA subsidy associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This federal program provides a subsidy for COBRA health benefits that pays 65% of the cost for eligible persons, making coverage available at just 35% of the normal full rates.
Upon further examination it became clear that those taking an Overage Leave which commences by December 31, 2009 may also be eligible for this subsidy as their leave saves another employee from furlough. (see FAQs from Department of Labor site for more on eligibility – click here)
We realize that for many of our members, the decision whether or not to take an Overage Leave-or the length of the leave requested-rested on the projected costs of their health benefits while on the leave. Since our members did not have this significant new information concerning the COBRA subsidy in order to make that decision, we have reached agreement with American to reopen the Overage Leave and Modified Partnership proffers effective Wednesday, August 19 at 8:30 AM central time.
The reopened proffers will close on Wednesday, August 26 at 8:30 AM central time. APFA will work with American to incorporate any new or revised Overage Leave ballots with the existing ballots. Results are anticipated on September 1.
We know that Flight Attendants are very anxious for the proffer results, but we believe this new information may permit many members to reconsider and submit a ballot or increase the amount of leave time they’d originally requested.
If you are a member who might now consider submitting an Overage Leave proffer or lengthening your original proffer request, or if you wish to switch from a Partnership to a Leave request, please visit the Reduction in Force page of APFA.org for information.
If no change to your Leave or Partnership proffer is desired, no further action is required. Contact APFA if you have any questions. Click here to email an APFA Rep-on-Duty.
Please share this information with anyone you know who may now be in a position to take a leave or increase the length of their proffered leave.
Thank you for your patience as we work through this process and strive to save the careers of our most junior colleagues.
Why are the leave proffer results being delayed? Canít partial results be released?
The company ultimately determines how the leaves will be combined and our goal is to see they do it in such a way that benefits our members. Flight Service has told us they are not prepared, given the possible influx of new leave or longer leave requests, to issue partial results.
We supported the reopening of the proffer to make the benefit available to as wide a group as possible. We agree that quicker results are desirable, but not at the cost of cutting short a process that may mean even one more job saved.
Update for August 19:
Flight Service has updated their original announcement reopening the Overage Leave and Modified Partnership Flying proffers to include the Travel Separation Program. From the Flight Service communication:
Ö Human Resources confirmed that flight attendants who take the 5 & 10 Year Voluntary Travel Separations may also be eligible for a COBRA subsidy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, 2009).
>> The Voluntary Travel Separation Program will open on Wednesday, August 19 at 0100 CT and close on Tuesday, August 25 at 2300 CT. (**Please note**the Voluntary Travel Separation program has a separate deadline from the Overage Leave/Modified Partnership Flying proffers.)
Click here to link to the Voluntary Options information on the Flight Service Website. (Jetnet login required)