Special HotLine message from APFA President Laura Glading for October 1, 2009.
Dear APFA Member,
Today, six months to the day following the furlough by American of over 300 APFA members last April, we see the departure of 228 more of our colleagues who are going on furlough status for an undetermined time. These numbers bring our recall list to a total of 1,414 and represent the latest impact on our membership of what has been a lengthy process of service cutbacks begun by American in the spring of 2008.
We all hope that this will mark the end of this chapter as we look for signs of improvement in our nation’s economy in general and in the air travel industry in particular. Airlines are often the first industry to show signs of distress in a declining economic climate. And they are equally as often among the first to show recovery when conditions improve, as businessmen and women increase their travel and leisure markets rebound with vacationers again taking to the skies.
As we look for these signals of stability and growth, your APFA leadership will continue its task of protecting the membership from an employer bent on extracting even more sacrifice from its workforce. Your APFA Negotiating Team continues to bargain hard with American over changes to our working agreement which will mean improvements in work rules and benefits, and real pay increases for our Flight Attendants.
We have more work to do and must have the support of all members to realize the changes needed to secure our futures and our profession, to see us again prosper and to have all furloughed members back on the line as soon as possible.
Added to our 228 colleagues going on furlough beginning today, there are an additional 244 who will be leaving temporarily-on a two-month, involuntary leave-to return on December 2. Though no one can be happy over any forced loss of employment, we can at least appreciate that these Flight Attendants can look forward to a determined date of return, and retain their bases, without loss of seniority. This is a first for our workgroup and was not achievable without much advocating by APFA in an attempt to keep furloughs to a minimum.
The number of members affected by either furlough or involuntary leave would have been much higher still without the over 700 Flight Attendants who requested either voluntary leaves of absence of varying lengths, or to go on a voluntary, part-time flying status until the new year. We thank these members whose actions lessened the blow of American’s initial warning of its intent to cut up to 1200 Flight Attendant jobs.
Our industry has seen unprecedented upheaval. The constant barrage of bleak forecasts can leave all of us feeling dismayed and wary of our financial and professional futures. It should, however, also make us determined to fight for not just our survival but for our fair share, to see real reward from our years of sacrifice and to achieve genuine improvements in our careers. We will not be defeated by either downturns brought from outside American or by a stubborn and misguided management within its executive corridors.
Please continue to visibly support your Union and your Negotiators. Proudly wear your APFA pin and yellow, Got Union disk. Stay informed and stay unified.