This is Frank Bastien, National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA weekly HotLine update for Friday, March 26, 2010.
- British Airways Flight Attendant strike has BA acting like AA!
- Getting set for the next step in Section 6
- Seeing Red Road Shows preparing to tour (calendar)
- Strike authorization ballot readied
- Calling Phone Watch volunteers
ALL EYES ON THE MOTHER COUNTRY
The attention of the labor (and traveling) world last weekend turned toward jolly olí England where CEO Willie Walsh was anything but smiling during a three-day-long strike by the Flight Attendants at British Airways, represented by Unite. Lasting Saturday, March 20 to Monday, March 22, the job action received press reports that were typically either heavily pro-company or pro-union, but one thing is for sure: despite BA’s preposterous claims to the contrary it was decidedly not business as usual. That is unless you buy the corporate spin that cancelling hundreds of flights, shuffling passengers off to other airlines or chartered jets, flying empty airplanes or wildly understaffed flights with voluntary, minimally trained crews and sharply curtailed service is just another day at the airport. Oh, and did I mention losing millions upon millions of dollars for this dismal performance?
BA management claims the high road, stating that their legal structure forbids them from giving anything but accurate numbers to support their claims. And a management intent on making unilateral, non-negotiated changes to contracts would never bend the truth, would they. If this were AMR, Iíd say another round of executive bonuses is due! And if this all looks strangely familiar, it is more than slightly reminiscent of November 1993 here in the states and at our own American Airlines. Let’s see now: empty planes, scab crews, pillow pushers, and a lot of bags flying solo while the passengers wave “buh-bye.” Yep, it’s 1993 all over again, this time with a British accent. And we know that AA told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth when reporting on their operation during our five-day strike.
In case you missed it, stay tuned for a repeat performance as another strike is set to occur this weekend, Saturday, March 27 through Tuesday, March 30. You can read reports from your British Airways striking colleagues direct from their web site here. You can read management’s side from wherever great works of fiction are sold.
See APFAís press release of support for our sisters and brothers at Unite here.
The TWU rally at JFK on March 27 and 28 mentioned previously in this space has been canceled.
Our Flight Attendant colleagues at United Airlines, represented by AFA-CWA, will be conducting informational picketing at major airports on April 6, the one-year anniversary of the formal start of their contract talks. This follows a similar event in January, which many APFA members attended. AFA has again invited us to show our support. See their invitation letter here.
SEEING RED ñ WHATíS NEXT
Our BA colleagues at Unite did not go into their strike action lightly, nor without the strong backing of the 12,000 members. Though we at APFA are not yet to the point of withholding our services from American, we are clearly at the stage of increasing pressure on management to make good on their long promises of rewarding us for our part in the AMR bailout of 2003 and their more recent claims that they are serious in wanting to settle our contract dispute, now approaching two-years of talks at the table. To say their promises have thus far been empty is not quite true. They have far surpassed empty and moved into the realm of the absurd. How else can one characterize proposals that intend to extract more work from labor with overall lower pay, especially when you offset the plusses (few and inadequate raises) with the minuses (more days worked and huge increases in healthcare co-pays)? Itís nothing but a great leap backward for APFA Flight Attendants who are through with concessions, fed up with seeing their hard work handsomely rewarding only a select few, and ready to walk-the-walk and take it to the streets (or at least the curbs in front of dozens of major US airports.)
THE SEEING RED TOUR
Your APFA Negotiating Team is finalizing a national mailing to members in advance of Seeing Red Informational Road Shows scheduled at each base city over a four-week period commencing April 12 for the first of two meetings in DFW. The complete schedule is:
DFW – Monday, April 12
BOS – Tuesday, April 13
NYC – Wednesday, April 14
RDU – Monday, April 19
DCA – Tuesday, April 20
STL – Wednesday, April 21
ORD – Tuesday, April 27
LAX – Wednesday, April 28
SFO – Thursday, April 29
MIA – Monday, May 3
DFW – Tuesday, May 4
Meeting times will be 11 AM to 2 PM and the exact locations are still being finalized. We know that you need information and details to see through the company’s spin and misinformation and to be confident of our path. These Informational Road Shows will bring you updates, explain where we stand, answer your questions, and discuss our next steps.
STRIKE AUTHORIZATION BALLOT
The National Balloting Committee meantime is readying a Strike Authorization Ballot to be sent to members in accordance with Resolution 12 passed at the Fall Board of Directors Meeting in November 2009. This is time for members to clearly make their voices heard. This is the way we force American to bargain fairly. All members must express the power of our unity and determination with an overwhelming YES vote for a strike authorization. To be clear, voting YES does not mean we will strike. But we must make management understand that we will use that tool should it become necessary.
The ballot will begin arriving mid-April in your mailboxes and voting will be electronic as provided in the Constitutional Referendum passed January 7, 2010. All instructions will be provided in the ballot packet. Be sure you have your membership information updated at APFA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 817.540.0108 ext. 8153 with any changes to your address, phone number or email. Everyone needs to take part in this process and no one should be left out.
Continue to wear only your APFA pin, with the red GOT GUTS side showing, and your Flight Attendant wings on your uniform.
When you see the company propaganda in your email or your mailbox, return it to your Flight Service Manager marked “My Negotiating Team Speaks for Me!” Attend road shows presented by your Negotiating Team and, when you receive your ballot information, vote YES for the strike authorization.
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: email@example.com. A Representative will contact you in the coming weeks, as we get ready to open Phone Watch, to inform you of available shifts.
BE READY FOR FAA MANUAL AUDITS
The APFA Safety and Security Department alerts Flight Attendants of stepped up manual audits in the following airports and dates:
ORD: March 29 through March 31
LGA and JFK: April 12 through April 15
SFO: April 26 through April 28
Flight Attendants scheduled to fly on those days through those airports should be aware of increased audits by the FAA and/or Flight Service. Whenever you have an audit conducted, please be sure to alert the Safety and Security Department with the details by an email afterward to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
DOMESTIC TRANSFERS: PREFERENCES PURGED
Based on an increased number of Flight Attendants rescinding their preliminary domestic transfer requests, we reached agreement with Crew Resources to purge the domestic transfer list. This list was purged on March 18, 2010. If you do desire a domestic transfer or mutual transfer then you must re-enter your transfer preference. Out of consideration for your fellow Flight Attendants, please only add your name to the list if you are interested in accepting the preliminary offer of domestic mutual transfer or regular transfer. If you add your name to the list and later change your mind, please remove your transfer preference to ensure as many of our members as possible can get to their desired base. The next round of domestic mutual transfers will be paired from the domestic transfer requests on file as of 0830 Central Time on May 4, 2010. If you are interested in accepting a domestic mutual transfer please ensure your preferences are updated by that time.
CHICAGO RETIREMENT BRIEFING
An APFA Retirement briefing, presented by IDF Flight Attendant, Patrick Hancock, is scheduled for Chicago on April 27 at 2:00 PM. The briefing will 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 1,363 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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