Representing the Flight Attendants
of American Airlines

Representing the Flight Attendants of American Airlines

10.14.11 – (LAA) – President’s Remarks at Fall BOD Meeting, Occupy Wall Street, AA Plans Capacity Cuts, November Bidsheets, SFO Pilot Base Closure, Benefit Enrollment, Make-up Reminder, Bid Leaves, Golden Wings, Sky Ball, ORD RDUI Retirment Briefing

Weekly Hotline

For the week ending Friday October 14, 2011

APFA PRESIDENT

Below is an excerpt from APFA President Laura Glading’s opening remarks at this week’s APFA Fall Board of Directors Meeting:

Perseverance is a hallmark of APFA. From the very beginnings of our Union ñ and through some very trying times – APFA’s membership and leadership have shown a level of dedication, determination and perseverance that sustains us all, to this day.

“The negotiation over a new contract has rightfully been the main focus of our members, and our Union, for some time now. For three years, management has used the system ñ abused the system even – to forestall the improvements we need and deserve. Despite this, our primary goal remains: that of bettering the lives of our membership and protecting and improving this profession.”

The full text of Laura’s remarks has been posted on the President’s page on APFA.org.

OCCUPY WALLSTREET

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants supports the efforts of the Occupy Wall Street movement to hold Wall Street accountable for the nation’s economic woes.

American Airlines Flight Attendants are members of the American middle class and have long been the victims of corporate greed at the hands of company executives that annually take exorbitant bonuses even as Flight Attendants suffer extreme financial hardships. American Airlines has reaped the benefits of workforce concessions totaling over $2 billion since April of 2003.

We stand united with our unionized brothers and sisters across the United States who are facing similar threats to their collective bargaining rights and we share many of the sentiments being expressed by the protesters of the Occupy Wall Street movement. It’s clear we are all a part of the 99%.

These sentiments include disgust with rampant corporate greed, resentment of bombastic conservative rhetoric, disappointment in the widespread attach on collective bargaining rights in the United States, and frustration with the government’s inability or unwillingness to address these problems.

AA FLIGHT ATTENDANTS NOT BUYING IT

American has been touting a labor cost disadvantage anywhere from $600M to $800M compared to other carriers – but has yet to provide any substantiation to this claim. Earlier this week APFA’s Airline Analysts Dan Aikins spoke with Ted Reed of TheStreet.com to bring some clarity and fact-based numbers to light, as far as the Flight Attendants are concerned, to the company’s labor cost disadvantage.

The article reads in part, “That number is not accepted by APFA, which says it is frustrated, not only by continual repetition of the number but also by the suggestion that American employees made no concessions. “In March of 2003, employees gave back $1.8 billion annually, and those savings are continuing,” Akins said.
The full article can be read here.

AA PLANS CAPACITY CUTS

Earlier this week American announced adjustments to the fall and winter schedule that will result in a 3% decline to its mainline capacity in the fourth quarter. AA also plans to retire up to 11 757 aircraft in 2012. Click here to read the AA Press Release.

APFA President Laura Glading spoke with management in regard to the reduction and the effect it could have on Flight Attendant staffing. The company is confident that any surplus in headcount can be accommodated with additional bid leaves for November and December.

NOVEMBER BIDSHEETS

By now you’ve most likely seen the November bidsheets and the effect the capacity cuts announced this week have had on them. Vice President of Flight Service Denise Lynn stated in her hotline this week to “please take this into account as you review the November bids, and bear with us as we work through these schedule changes. Additional reductions are planned for the December schedule, but Crew Resources should have more time to work through the impact on the bidsheets than they had for November.”

SFO PILOT BASE CLOSURE

American announced this week the closure of the SFO Pilot base. A firm date has not been set as AA is obligated to give APA six months advance notice.

APA President Captain Dave Bates commented via a Hotline message to the Pilots, “This regrettable development will adversely affect hundreds of American Airlines employees and their families, including 300 SFO-based pilots. APA is disappointed that management could not find a way to maintain the San Francisco base as part of the airline’s network. We intend to do everything feasible to protect the interests of the pilot families that will be affected. We are keenly aware of the hardship that results from a base closure.”

American said, “At this time, there are no plans to close the SFO Flight Attendant base, as Flight Attendants have multiple equipment qualifications, providing greater flexibility to manage bidlines and daily operational coverage.”

HEALTH DEPARTMENT
health@apfa.org

-2012 Benefit Enrollment
Open enrollment for 2012 benefits is available on JetNet through midnight central time on October 31, 2011. Please carefully read the Enrollment Guide – which is available in the Benefits section of JetNet – in order to make the best decisions for you and your family.

This year American will not mail paper copies of the Enrollment Guide to each employee’s home. The Enrollment Guide will only be available online through JetNetís Benefits Page or www.AAHealthBenefits.com.

Deadline for open enrollment is midnight central time on Monday, October 31, 2011.

-Long-term Medication Changes – Value Plus Plan
If prescription medications are the most significant portion of your health care costs, please review the following change under the value plus plan carefully.

Beginning January 1, 2012, you and your covered family members will pay a higher cost for long-term medications at your retail pharmacy after your initial purchase plus two refills. Long-term medications include those that you take on an on-going basis for conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, depression or diabetes. You are encouraged to use the Medco MailOrder Pharmacy for long-term medications. You can order up to a 90-day supply for your mail order co-pay, which means fewer refills.

-What if I don’t use mail order for long-term medications?
After your initial purchase plus two refills, you will pay 50% of the drug cost. Even though there is a maximum you pay for short-term medications purchased at a retail pharmacy, maximums do not apply to long-term medications after your initial purchase plus two refills. You should continue to purchase short-term drugs like antibiotics from your local network pharmacy. Youíll pay your retail pharmacy co-payment for these medications.

Under the Value Plus option you will always pay a co-pay for your prescription medications.

-What about the Standard Plan?
Under the Standard Medical Planyou may have your prescriptions filled at any pharmacy. For most covered drugs you are reimbursed at 80% of the Medco discounted price after satisfying your medical option deductible. You must present your Medco prescription drug card every time you purchase prescription drugs in order to receive the discounted medication rates. If you do not present your Medco prescription drug card at the time of purchase, you will pay the non-discounted price at that time and reimbursement from the plan will be based on the discounted price. This means you pay the difference between the non-discounted and the discounted price, in addition to paying the 20% co-insurance (after your deductible has been met). Drugs prescribed by a physician or dentist may be purchased either at retail pharmacies or through the Medco Mail Service Prescription Drug Benefit. Only eligible expenses for covered prescription drugs purchased at a retail pharmacy apply to your deductible or out-of-pocket maximum. Once your deductible and out of pocket max have been met, prescriptions filled at in-network pharmacies will be covered at 100%.

To fill prescriptions at an in-network pharmacy and file for reimbursement:

– Present your Medco ID card to the pharmacy every time you order your prescription from an in-network pharmacy.

– Pay the discounted price for the prescription and obtain a receipt when you pick up your prescription.

– File a claim for reimbursement of your covered expenses through Medco as explained below.

To fill prescriptions at an out-of-network pharmacy and file for reimbursement, you will follow the same procedures, but will not receive a discount. You pay the full retail price for your prescription and file the claim in the same manner.

-FSA Deposits
If you use a Health Care FSA, now is a good time to prepare for a big change that will go into effect in 2013: Starting that year, you will only be able to put $2,500 into your health care flexible spending account. That is half the amount you can contribute today. This change is a result of Health Care Reform and not a policy decision by AA. So it may be a good idea for anyone who likes to use the Health Care FSA to schedule any costly procedures that they have been putting off to be done in 2012 while they are still able to contribute up to $5,000.

MAKE-UP REMINDER
scheduling@apfa.org

Weíve reached an agreement with AA concerning the proffering of Make-up flying. As a result of this agreement Crew Scheduling will only be required to contact the phone numbers listed in the Home ëHí and Cell ëCí field of your HI1. You may update your phone numbers via AVRS or in your Personal Mode. Please remember to use /H/ to update your home number and /B/ to update your cell number.

For additional information you can view the Letter of Agreement on APFA.org.

BID LEAVES
contract@apfa.org

The company has announced that Bid Leaves will be available for November. Please keep in mind that if you take consecutive leaves, the leaves are considered to be one continuous leave and could impact your travel privileges and/or seniority accrual. Please be certain you are tracking the total time of your consecutive leaves to avoid a negative impact to your travel privileges or seniority.

GOLDEN WINGS
retiremeint@apfa.org

Golden Wings, which is an independent company that sells supplemental insurance to retired airline employees, has announced they will no longer write coverage for retirees not receiving Medicare. Apparently the new healthcare rules would require them to provide unlimited coverage, and the premiums would be very high. By limiting the coverage to retirees that also have Medicare, the premiums can be smaller. For further information, please see the Retirement Page (log-in required) at APFA.org.

SKY BALL

It’s that time of year again when we roll up our sleeves and open our hearts to help our brave men and women in uniform. Sky Ball is just around the corner and preparations are in full swing. This will mark the 9th annual event and this year is shaping up to be the best ever as we celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Medal of Honor and the 100th Anniversary of Marine & Naval Aviation.

For those that are not familiar with Sky Ball, it’s an annual fundraiser to support a number of military/veterans organizations.

Over the past four years Sky Ball has raised more than $1.5 million dollars. This has allowed the Fort Worth Airpower Foundation (FWAPF) to contribute to projects that directly support members of all branches of U.S. military and their families through various contingency funds at the Naval Air Station, Fort Worth, Joint Reserve Base and other programs.

Sky Ball IX proceeds also go to:

  • Heroes on the Water, helping veterans heal through fellowship and fishing
  • Freedom Flight, taking heroes of the Greatest Generation, our WWII Veterans, to visit their Memorial in Washington D.C.
  • Wounded Warriors Veteran’s Day Weekend in Las Vegas
  • Snowball Express, helping children of our fallen military heal and make new memories.
  • Many other programs and causes in direct support of military families

For more information on the event, please visit the website at: skyballinfo.com

If you or someone you know is, interested in volunteering for this worthwhile event, there are many volunteer opportunities available from Wednesday, 10/19/11 through Sunday 10/23/11, so please keep these dates open on your calendar and sign up at: skyballvolunteer.com – family and friends are welcome to participate too!

Regardless of the time you have available, there is a place where you can help make a difference.

ORD RDU-I RETIREMENT BRIEFING
retirement@apfa.org

APFA Retirement Specialist Patrick Hancock will be hosting Retirement Briefings at ORD and RDU.

ORD
Wednesday October 26, 1000-1200 and again from 1300-1500 in the Flight Service Conference room at K19

RDU
Tuesday November 8, 1500-1700 in the 3rd floor Conference Room outside security. The door at the end of the AA Ticket Counter next to the ATM will lead you to the elevator. For more information contact RDU-I Vice Chairperson Peggy Turley at vcrdui@apfa.org

The seminars are open and useful to all Flight Attendants from all bases, but particularly important to Flight Attendants planning to retire in the next 10 years.

To make the most of these briefings, print and bring your personal pension estimate and plan calculation formulas from JetNet.

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Please remember there are currently 218 members on the furlough and awaiting recall.
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