11.12.10 – (LAA) Negotiations Update, APFA on Wall Street, Meeting of the AA Unions, FAA in ORD, AIT Body Scanner Update, Carry-on Assist, In Memorium of Flight 587

This is APFA Communications Coordinator, Jeff Pharr, with the weekly hotline update for Friday, November 12, 2010.


We’ve received copies of hundreds of letters and e-mails sent to the National Mediation Board (NMB) asking them to allow the Railway Labor Act to move forward – stories of hardships and suffering as a result of working under a concessionary agreement over two years beyond what was intended.

One member wrote in part, “I have custody of my 10 year old granddaughter [and] we will be moving to a one bedroom apartment because I can no longer afford a two bedroom.  Rent has gone up every year, water went up and so did electric, but not my paycheck.”  These stories are similar across the system and will reiterate to the NMB what APFA President Laura Glading has been telling them since the beginning of negotiations.

We have heard from some members that they feel their story is too personal to share. APFA President Laura Glading stated, “Please do not let this persuade you from sending a letter to the NMB. A detailed personal account of your hardships over the last eight years is not mandatory. Some messages have simply expressed frustration with both AA and the NMB for lack of progress and that only the looming end of a 30-day cooling off period would force the company to negotiate.What is most important is that every member take action by sending a letter or e-mail to the NMB.”

As we’ve mentioned in prior hotlines, Capwiz has been activated to allow e-mails to be sent to the NMB. Talking points are provided that can either be embellished or simply inserted into the e-mail. It only takes a couple of minutes to log on and send the e-mail via Capwiz or by clicking the “Take Action” tab on our Facebook page.


This week, APFA President Laura Glading, Vice President Brett Durkin, Chief Negotiator Anne Loew, Labor Counsel Rob Clayman and Airline Economist Dan Akins paid a visit to Wall Street to deliver and brief airline industry analysts on an APFA white paper, “What’s Wrong With American Airlines? Part Two.”

The issues outlined in the white paper are:

  • The $600M Labor Cost Claim – American claims a $600M labor cost disadvantage over other carriers. This claim remains unsupported by the data and model provided to APFA.*
  • The Revenue Gap vs. CASM Gap – American’s profit margin compared to its competitors has widened over the past three years, while the CASM gap has shrunk.*
  • Labor Cost Convergence ñ Arpey stated in the 2010 AMR Annual Meeting that AA’s alleged labor cost disadvantage would narrow over time and labeled the phenomenon as “cost convergence.” However, the white paper predicts that by the end of this year, American’s Flight Attendants pay will lag the industry average by 6.8%.*
  • Executive Compensation – In 2007, 2008 and 2009 the top five officers of AMR received a total of $49M while the company lost $3.1B*

For detailed explanations on each topic, please review the white paper posted on APFA.org.


The beginning of this week brought all three unions on AA property together. Leaders of the APA, APFA and TWU met during a two day summit to discuss their respective negotiations and the NMB. Although the unions communicate regularly, this is the first meeting since the newly elected leadership of APA.


The FAA will be in ORD on November 17, 18 and 19. Base manual audits may be conducted at ORD on Wednesday, November 17, Thursday, November 18 and Friday, November 19, 2010. Flight Attendants flying in and out of ORD should expect to have their manuals audited by both the FAA and local Flight Service.

As always, please make sure your manuals are up to date. The latest manual revision and bulletins can be found on the Flight Service website via the “Manuals & Guides” link.

Anytime you encounter an FAA inspector, please send an e-mail including the date and flight number to safety@apfa.org.


The Advanced Image Technology (AIT) Scanners and the new pat-down procedures received a great deal of media coverage this week. As we stated in last week’s hotline, we recommend that you view the information on the TSA website and then decide whether or not you want to pass through the AIT Scanner.

Opting not to pass through the scanner will result in a mandatory pat down with hands run around the collar, inside the belt area and up into the thigh/groin area.†The search should be conducted in private with a witness and could take up to 20 minutes, and should it cause a late arrival to the gate or a subsequent flight delay, it is not the blame of the Flight Attendant choosing the pat down over the scanner.

APFA, along with our fellow Flight Attendant Coalition Members, will continue to fight for Flight Attendant exemptions from both the AIT Body Scanners as well as the enhanced physical pat downs. We all agree that we deserve to be exempt from these intrusive procedures and will continue to make our case on Capitol Hill.

Anytime you opt for the pat down, or are subsequently required a pat down due to an AIT Scanner alarm, please send a report to the APFA Safety and Security Department.†APFA is collecting as much information as possible regarding the new invasive pat down procedure.†Please send a detailed report to safety@apfa.org as well as submitting a report via the AMR Event Reporting System.


Many may remember a year or so ago when American attempted to “help” with the boarding process by hiring contracted workers to assist stowing luggage during the boarding process.† Even if you did not experience these helpers first hand and the chaos that entailed, I am sure you can imagine. APFA challenged the company arguing that it violated the CBA and the workers were quickly removed.

A Flight Attendant brought to our attention this week that management at FLL apparently did not get that memo and tried to implement this procedure again, and it was quickly halted after an e-mail reminder was sent to management.

Should you encounter something like this on any of your flights, please let APFA know as soon as possible by sending an e-mail to contract@apfa.org.


On November 11, Americans honored military veterans on Veterans Day. The day honors veterans of all wars and military service, many of whom number in our ranks at APFA. We remember, honor and thank our veterans – and those who serve their country today – not just on November 11, but every day. Our freedom as Americans exist solely because of your service and sacrifice.


Today, November 12, marks the 9th anniversary of the loss of the entire American Airlines JFK crew, the passengers and several people on the ground in the crash of flight 587.†The A300 was bound for SDQ but crashed shortly after takeoff from JFK. Our membership, and the rest of the country, was just barely beginning to see through the emotional haze left after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, making this loss especially painful. Please take a moment to remember our fallen colleagues and their families.

Flight 587 Crewmembers:

Deborah Fontakis
Barbara Giannasca
Wilmer Gonzales
Carol Palm
Joe Lopes
Michelle Mills
William Valdespino
Ed States
Sten Molin

Photos of the crew and a link to the 2002 Special Edition Skyword are on the APFA.org website. Navigate to the “In Memory Of” link in the “About APFA” page.

Please remember there are currently 1,111 members on furlough and awaiting recall.

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