This is APFA President, Laura Glading, with a Special Weekly Hotline Update for Friday, September 24, 2010.
Yesterday, I met with the director of the mediation department of the National Mediation Board (NMB) , Larry Gibbons. In the more than two hour meeting I repeatedly expressed my disappointment over the NMBís decision to postpone the session that had been scheduled for September 21 through September 23. As I told Mr. Gibbons, although I recognize that this delay may have been unavoidable, it is incumbent upon the Board to do everything in its power to ensure that APFAís bargaining is not in any way prolonged or harmed as a result.
Mr. Gibbons stated that the NMB is inundated with other cases and it probably would not be able to determine a new date until Monday, September 27. Considering that the delay was no fault of ours, I responded that our case should be given the highest priority.
I also reminded Mr. Gibbons that we have been in negotiations for almost two and one-half years. Six months ago we requested that the Board take the necessary steps to trigger the thirty-day cooling off period. Since that time nothing has changed. American remains committed to the same zero sum strategy it has employed since May 2008. We have yet to see a Company proposal that would provide the Flight Attendants with a higher wage than what they earned in 2003 before the RPA was implemented.
They continually refer to us as their sole reason for not making a profit ñ the most recent reference as labor being ìa big brick in our [AA] backpackî ñ A slap in the face remark after the Flight Attendants alone agreed to $340M in annual concessions in 2003 ñ well over $2B to date. And not a penny of that has been acknowledged at the bargaining table ñ they would prefer to take, and take more. All while the executives of this airline continue to reap the rewards. That is the brick in their backpack ñ the bricks of bonuses they receive on the backs of our labor and sacrifice.
The time has come for APFA to meet once again with the three members of the NMB to impress upon them that the impasse in our negotiations will not be broken unless and until a thirty-day cooling off period is begun.
I stated over and over that the current situation is intolerable and cannot go on any longer. The NMB must allow the Railway Labor Act to work and that will only happen if we and American are released. By the end of the meeting I was convinced that Mr. Gibbons fully understood our position. He assured me that he would convey all our concerns to the Board members. The hotline will be updated on Monday to let you know if the NMB has set a new meeting date. And we will be back next week with the regular weekly hotline.
Do not allow this to lessen our resolve and determination to get the contract we deserve. Rather, let it fuel our strength and unity so that we will show this company ñ a company that continually tries to suppress its very backbone, labor ñ that it is OUR TURN now and we WILL NOT BACK DOWN!