APFA weekly HotLine update for Friday, October 16, 2009.
- 2010 Benefits Enrollment underway
- Supplemental Medical changes
- COBRA benefits for those on furlough, leaves of absence
- H1N1 (Swine) flu vaccines
With this being the season of benefits open enrollment, with the recent changes to COBRA, and news over the H1N1 flu, this weekís HotLine is largely focused on items of note from the APFA Health Department.
2010 BENEFITS ENROLLMENT
2010 Benefits Enrollment began on October 1 and will run through October 31. The APFA Health Department recommends that members go online and review their benefits selections. Keep a printed copy of both your current (2009) elections and your elections for the coming year.
Note that the preferred Health Care Administrator will be changing in nine states: AZ (Arizona), CO (Colorado), ME (Maine), MA (Massachusetts), MT (Montana), NH (New Hampshire), NJ (New Jersey), NY (New York), and VT (Vermont). If you live in one of these states and are on the Point of Service (POS) plan, it is important to make sure that your doctors are in the network that you select. Employees who elect the POS plan will have the option of choosing any of the three plan administrators. Employees who elect the Standard plan will be covered by the preferred plan administrator for their state.
Please review the plans carefully to determine which is best suited to your needs. Additional information is available in the 2010 Benefits Decision Guide that was sent out to all employees. The information is also available on Jetnet.
AA recently sent out a letter regarding the Supplemental Medical Plan. This plan was initially offered in 2002 on a one-time only basis. In 2010, the premiums will be increased from $5 to $15 monthly, and there will now be a $250 deductable. This is a significant increase. While everyone must evaluate her or his own financial and insurance needs, please keep in mind that if you drop this coverage you will not have the opportunity to get it back unless you get married or add a domestic partner. Supplemental Medical is a ìpay-as-you-goî plan, meaning that you are paying for coverage that you currently have. If you drop the coverage there will be no refund of past premiums.
COBRA FOR FURLOUGHS, OVERAGE LEAVES AND INVOLUNTARY LEAVES
According to the Human Resources (HR) Department at American Airlines, COBRA solicitations are scheduled to be sent out within three weeks of an employeeís removal from payroll. Employees who began their overage leaves on August 31, 2009 should have received their COBRA solicitations by the week of September 23. Employees who were furloughed or who began overage leaves- voluntary or involuntary – on October 1, 2009 should receive their COBRA solicitation by the week of October 23. Anyone in one of these groups who does not receive their COBRA information by the designated date should contact Human Resources at 1-800-447-2000.
H1N1 (SWINE) FLU VACCINES
As many of you are aware, the H1N1 vaccine has been released in the form of a nasal spray: “FluMist.” AA Occupational Health Services (OHS) will not be administering FluMist due to the fact that it contains the live vaccine and is not advised for people with certain health conditions such as respiratory ailments or compromised immune systems. This form of the vaccine is best administered by your own healthcare provider, since they are familiar with your individual health concerns. AA OHS is hoping to receive supplies of the injectable form of the H1N1 vaccine by the end of October. This vaccine will contain an inert form of the virus and will be offered to employees as soon as it becomes available. The seasonal flu vaccine is currently available at AA OHS locations. There is a charge for the vaccine.
Members with additional questions about any of these issues are asked to contact the APFA Health Department at headquarters extension 8301, or via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep in mind that call volume is increased during this season, while our representative staffing is reduced from that of previous years. Most calls will go to voicemail and will be returned as quickly as possible.
This week, as scheduled, select members of your APFA Negotiating Team – including financial experts – met under mediation with counterparts from American Airlines to review economic analyses and cost outs of various proposals. Meantime, members of the APFA Team’s communications subcommittee finalized the informational pamphlet to be sent to every Flight Attendant which spells out clearly where we stand in relation to the company’s positions when it comes to the current bargaining and what every member needs to comprehend and needs to prepare for as we ratchet up our pressure on AA to negotiate a ratifiable working agreement.
Eighteen months since the amendable date of our agreement is already too long to wait for American to make good on promises made to extract sacrifices which daily continue to erode our standard of living.
Your Team, along with your local representatives, have been holding InfoRep and Base Council meetings around the system to explain in detail the steps to be taken over the next few weeks, including demonstrations of our unity and our resolve on the 16th anniversary of our 1993 strike on November 18. Watch for the pamphlet soon in your mail. Read and understand its contents and get ready to show your commitment to this process. Our actions over the next several weeks may very well lay the path of our future for the next several years.
Every member must take part and do her and his share. Start now by showing you back your Union, your Negotiation Team and your fellow members. Wear only your APFA pin and yellow Got Union disk along with your wings on your uniform.
For a replacement pin or disk, email: email@example.com or leave a message at headquarters extension 8153. Have an extra pin or disk? Share it with somebody needing one on your next flight. Use the same email or extension to ensure your contact information – including address, phone and email – is updated with our membership department.
If your name is not yet on the APFA Virtual Picket line, add it today. Go to: apfavirtualpicket.com
Share the APFA YouTube channel with your friends and family. Our several short videos describe our needs, our wants and our struggle. Visit: youtube.com/aaflightattendants
AIRLINE EARNINGS REPORTS SEASON BEGINS
As we reach mid-October, we enter another season of airline quarterly earnings reports. Starting off this week was a report of a $16 million loss by Southwest Airlines for the three months of July through September 2009. Though much reduced over the loss reported for the same quarter last year, it marks a rare return to red-ink for the carrier, which bucks the growing industry trend in its relative lack of add-on fees. Like its competitors, however, Southwest spins its earnings reports to show them in the best light, this quarter claiming that, if not for the losses attributed to its fuel hedges and an early retirement program, it would have made a profit of $23 million for the three months. AMRís quarterly earnings report, widely expected to be awash in red, is expected next Wednesday the 21st. Spin will no doubt be prominent in the announcement from Centreport as well. One would hope AMR was so imitative of Southwest in some other areas for which its cross-town rival is renowned, such as good labor and employee relations.
STL VICE CHAIRPERSON ELECTION – FINAL WEEK FOR BALLOTS
Just a few days remain to return ballots for the Vice Chairperson election at STL. Ballots must be received in the designated P.O. Box by 10 a.m. Central Time on Thursday, October 22, 2009.
STL base Flight Attendants needing a duplicate ballot may request one by:
- calling the National Ballot Committee at 817.540.0108 extension 8311, or
- emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org, or
- for those with an APFA website password, using the online Duplicate Ballot Request Form from the Elections and Balloting page of APFA.org.
In accordance with the APFA Policy Manual, if both an original and duplicate ballot are received, only the duplicate will be counted. Duplicate ballots will be issued, upon request, up to five (5) days prior to the ballot due date.
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. If you have questions about your dues status, please contact the APFA Dues Department at 817.540.0108 extension 8154, or email: email@example.com.
As detailed on the Elections and Balloting page of APFA.org, the STL Vice Chair election is being conducted under the supervision of the US Department of Labor. For answers to your specific questions about the election and balloting procedures, contact the APFA National Ballot Committee via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling headquarters extension 8311.
APFA Retirement seminars for Flight Attendants are scheduled at:
- DFW on Monday, October 19 at both 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Yandry Center, located across gate C2 in DFW terminal C. APFA Retirement Specialists Patrick Hancock and Jackie Philips will be present, as well as APFA reps from DFW and IDF.
Additional company-sponsored, Flight Attendant-specific seminars are scheduled for:
- LGA on Tuesday, October 27, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the 3rd floor Conference Room.
- JFK on Wednesday, October 28, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the DuPont Center, Terminal 8.
- ORD on Thursday, October 29, from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Flight Service Conference Room, K19 Ops.
APFA Retirement Specialist Patrick Hancock will also be present at the New York and Chicago meetings and will be available for one-on-one Q&A.
Discussions include pension selections and retirement benefits, including insurance and travel. To get the most out of these helpful and popular seminars, print out and bring your personal pension estimate and plan calculation formulas from Jetnet. Flight Attendants from all bases are welcome to attend and no reservations are required.
IDF BASE MEETING
The IDF Chairperson and Vice Chairperson have scheduled a Base Meeting for Tuesday, October 20, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The place is the Unity Pays room at APFA Headquarters, 1004 W. Euless Blvd. in Euless, TX. (click here for map) Members in good standing are invited to attend.
– – – – –
Remember that there are currently 1,415 members on furlough and awaiting recall.
Hundreds of our members are actively involved in organizations which help their fellow Flight Attendants or provide needed goods and services in disadvantaged communities around the world. Thousands more of our members provide monetary support to these same groups. Visit their sites through the links below or from the main page of APFA.org to see how you can help.