APFA weekly HotLine update for Friday, March 5, 2010
- ALL SYSTEMS RED continues as lockdown talks end without agreement
- New Negotiations Update video playing on our YouTube channel (video) (transcript)
- Next step? Discussions and action to be front and center at Annual Convention
- Calling potential Phone Watch volunteers
- APFA supports the Unite union as British Airways management readies scab flights
- Several important deadlines approach
TALKS BREAK DOWN; ALL SYSTEMS RED CONTINUES
To their tired arsenal of interminable stalling, AA management has now added simply turning their backs to the process, departing the mediated, lockdown bargaining talks at NMB offices in Washington this past week with several hours of work still to go and without a response to APFA’s comprehensive proposal to conclude the five-day session with a ratifiable tentative agreement. In her special HotLine update to the membership on Wednesday evening, President Glading stated: “Rather than take any time to consider this offer, the company exited the room, informing APFA that it would not be in position to make a counter-proposal [that night],” adding: “… this action by management is inexcusable.”
A press release from APFA sent after the premature close of the talks makes clear APFA’s outrage: “This conduct is just another demonstration of the company’s bad faith bargaining that has been in full bloom for the past 23 months. This display shows complete disrespect and disregard for our hardworking Flight Attendants. APFA remains prepared to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement, but it is clear, now more than ever, that the company does not share the same interest.”
Speaking to why the company might take such a non-productive position, President Glading reiterated that: “Delay only serves the company. Each day without a new agreement equals another million dollars in the pocket of American.”
APFA TEAM LEADER IN UPDATE VIDEO
To explain in more detail the fruitless outcome of these five days in Washington, a video presentation by APFA Chief Negotiator Anne Loew has been posted on our YouTube channel. If you cannot access YouTube, a transcript is available here. In describing the team’s frustration with American’s tactics this round, Anne states: “With ten hours left in the time scheduled for this session APFA made its most aggressive proposal which should have been the basis for a tentative agreement. The company asked no questions, took no time to respond or even consider our proposal. Instead it simply exited the room and the bargaining process. As much as we understand that negotiations are never easy, the process requires two participants. For one to leave before the opportunity for a deal is fully exhausted constitutes bad faith. It also demonstrates a deep disrespect for the process and for the Flight Attendants.”
Try as the company might to stop it, the process of airline negotiations as dictated by the Railway Labor Act moves steadily forward as APFA prepares to contact the National Mediation Board to schedule a meeting and request a release into a thirty-day cooling off period, at the end of which APFA can choose to engage in a strike or other forms of self-help. Though APFA has continuously maintained—and does so still—that a job action is the absolute last resort, such possibility cannot be denied. Explains President Glading “Flight Attendants have been down this path before and we remain unified and strong. Now, with no other options on the table, management has forced us to take the next step necessary to get the contract we have worked so hard for.”
THE NEXT STEP – REVIEW, DISCUSSION AND ACTION
Coming as it does just days before the start on Sunday, March 7 of the four-day 2010 APFA Annual Convention—and as one of the top items of business—the abandonment of talks by American management will be reviewed and discussed fully in briefings from the APFA Team and legal counsel to the APFA Board of Directors, comprised of your elected Base Chairs.
In APFA’s press release, our intentions are spelled out plainly: “We have exhausted all of our options and will now meet with our Board this weekend to move forward with the balloting of the membership for a strike vote.”
The Annual Convention will be held from Sunday, March 7 through Wednesday, March 10. Scheduled start time on day one is 9:00 AM. Location is the Nylo Hotel in Irving, TX. Members in good standing are welcome to attend all open portions of the Convention. Be aware that BOD Meetings/Conventions may have frequent and lengthy off record (closed) sessions.
PHONE WATCH CAPTAIN RECRUITING VOLUNTEERS
APFA’s National Phone Watch Captain, DFW Flight Attendant Jackie Phillips, is seeking volunteers in the DFW area to help be a part of APFA’s Phone Watch. Should we reach the stage of needing to ramp up this service to provide vital information to our membership, we will need many volunteers. If you can offer some of your time for a four hour shift at APFA Headquarters as a Phone Watch volunteer, please send your contact information, name, employee number, phone number and email address to: firstname.lastname@example.org. A Representative will contact you in the coming weeks, as we get ready to open Phone Watch, to inform you of available shifts.
APFA SUPPORTS BRITISH AIRWAYS FLIGHT ATTENDANTS
As reported in last week’s HotLine, the Unite union at British Airways, representing nearly 12,000 Flight Attendants at the carrier, certified an overwhelming approval of its strike authorization ballot as their members face unilaterally imposed reduced staffing and pay freezes in a continued degradation of their profession.
On Wednesday, March 3, President Glading sent a letter of support to the leaders of Unite and other airline unions, decrying the stated intent of BA management to use minimally trained scabs recruited from other departments within the company, some even from other union-represented functions. This is union busting at its most blatant. States the letter: “The public has the right to expect experienced safety professionals, not “volunteer cabin crew” willing to break a strike of union members. We can neither be silent or neutral any longer. It is offensive to contemplate strike breakers, especially members of a fellow union. The ripple effect of long lasting ill-will is unfathomable.” (See the complete letter here)
It is reported that Unite has until March 15 to give management notice of a strike, which could then start a week later. Meantime, BA management and the union continue talks.
DEADLINES APPROACHING FOR VACATION BIDDING; RECALLS TO IOR / JFK / BOS-I
The APFA Contract Department issues the following reminders for some important, fast-approaching deadlines:
VACATION: Primary Vacation Bidding Deadline – Monday March 8, 2010 at 0800 CT
INTERNATIONAL REINSTATEMENT PROFFERS: There are currently 3 open reinstatement proffers to International bases:
- IOR: the second and final reinstatement proffer for up to 118 Flight Attendants to IOR will open today and close on Friday, March 12. The exact time of the proffer closing was not available when this HotLine was sent. Please verify the time on the proffer ballot.
- BOS-I: up to 25 Flight Attendants – Deadline Monday, March 8 at 1000 CT
- JFK: up to 160 Flight Attendants – Deadline Friday, March 26 at 1000 CT
The ballots for all three reinstatement proffers are found through the Crew Resources link on the Flight Service website.
IDF BASE MEETING
The IDF Chairperson and Vice Chairperson have scheduled a Base Meeting for Thursday, March 18 beginning at 10:00 AM. 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.
CHICAGO RETIREMENT BRIEFINGS
APFA Retirement briefings, presented by IDF Flight Attendant, Patrick Hancock, are scheduled for Chicago on the following dates/times:
- March 24 at 9:00 AM and 12:00 noon
- April 27 at 2:00 PM
Briefings last approximately two hours and will be held in the Flight Service Conference Room on the lower level ops area at K19, across from the FYI Center. 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.
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Remember that there are currently 1,410 members on furlough and awaiting recall.
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The Wings Foundation website has information on various fund raising activities, base representatives and even applications for assistance. Take a moment to visit and see how you can help at your base. Wings is formed and managed by AA Flight Attendants. If you haven’t seen the Wings website, check it out today.
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