February 15, 2012Contact:
Jeff Pharr (954) 558-4155
Patrick Hancock (817) 467-0737
Proposed Early-Out Package Would Help AMR Emerge with Efficient Workforce
FORT WORTH (2/15/12) – The Association of Professional Flight Attendants and the Transport Workers Union presented separate plans to American Airlines management today that provide a blueprint for moving the company’s aging workforce into retirement as a way to save money and mitigate the company’s proposed layoffs. On February 1, 2012, AMR management announced that it planned to reduce the company’s workforce by 13,000, including 2,300 flight attendants. The two unions’ proposals represent an effort to engage in good-faith negotiations with management in what has thus far been a contentious bankruptcy.
Early-out packages are a fair and decent way to approach the problem of headcount reduction. Both unions are insisting that these early-out options be put to their members immediately. That way, the true needs of the company can be reassessed based on how many employees subscribe to the buyout and how much cost-savings is realized.
The proposals would allow employees to retire early with a secure plan including full pensions and medical coverage before they become eligible for Medicare. Among the most controversial of management’s terms were the termination of employee pension plans and retiree medical coverage.
According to the APFA’s plan, vetted by a team of legal and financial professionals, as many as 3,000 members could be expected to participate, which can generate savings in the hundreds of millions of dollars over the six-year term of the contract. A vast majority of American Airlines’ flight attendants – approximately 80 percent – are at the absolute top of the pay scale. Under the company’s proposal, 2,300 of these employees would be furloughed, meaning they would be the first to be called up again, at the height of their contractual salaries, when the company will require new hires. Under the APFA’s plan the company could immediately begin hiring as many as 500 new flight attendants, providing cost-savings and efficiency.
“This proposal is a win-win. It is forward thinking, provides a dignified retirement strategy for flight attendants that have given so much to this airline, and saves the company money. I hope Tom Horton has the foresight to acknowledge that and act on it,” said Laura Glading, APFA President. “I am calling on management to put this package to our members immediately, and revise their term sheet factoring in these new savings.”
About APFA – Founded in 1977, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) is the largest independent Flight Attendant union in the nation. It represents more than 16,000 Flight Attendants at American Airlines. APFA Members live in almost every state of the nation and serve millions of Americans as they travel the nation and the world. In 2003, APFA played a major role in keeping American Airlines solvent and out of bankruptcy by giving back an employee bailout of $340 million in annual salary and benefits, for a total of over $2 billion and counting. APFA had been in negotiations with American for almost four years when the carrier filed for chapter 11-bankruptcy protection on November 29, 2011. Laura Glading is serving in her first four-year term as president of the union.