APFA Hotline – Proof of Claims Notice
You may have received a packet from a company that is processing claims against American Airlines. This packet includes a form known as a “Proof of Claim.” The court has set July 16, 2012, as the “bar date” or deadline for filing claims. Filing a Proof of Claim is required to preserve the right to collect from the Company payment on a claim that arose prior to the bankruptcy filing of November 29, 2011. Please be advised that APFA will be submitting a blanket Proof of Claim covering all Flight Attendants who have claims against the Company arising from grievances or from any type of CBA violation. Flight Attendants with such claims need not (and should not) file separate Proofs of Claim.
If you have a different type of claim against the company (unrelated to a CBA violation), which arose prior to the bankruptcy filing, it is your responsibility to file a proof of claim according to the directions in the packet. For example, if you have a lawsuit or workers compensation claim that was pending before the bankruptcy filing you must file a proof of claim to preserve your claim. Only those persons who have formally filed proofs of claim will be eligible for payment of pre-petition claims once the bankruptcy process is concluded. You may wish to consult with an attorney concerning your potential claims, although you do not need to do so in order to submit your claim.
TEXT TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM JETNET: Proof of Claims, Jetwire, May 23, 2012
Q: What do I need to do in response to the Bar Date Notice?
A: If you believe that you have a claim against the company concerning a matter that arose before Nov. 29, 2011, you should review the materials carefully since Proofs of Claim must be submitted by July 16, 2012 at 5 p.m. Prevailing Eastern Time. If you do not have a claim, you do not need to do anything in response to the Bar Date Notice. If you believe that you have a claim, you may want to consider obtaining advice from an attorney about your claim and how to submit a Proof of Claim.
This is Leslie Mayo, National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline for Monday, May 21, 2012.
Last week was labor’s turn to present its cases in The U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York. After APA presented its case, it was APFA’s turn to take the stand. President Laura Glading led off, followed by Lead APFA Negotiator Anne Loew, Adam Condrick with The Segal Company, Airline Financial Consultant Dan Akins and finally Leon Szlezinger, a managing director of The Jefferies Group, APFA’s advisors on the Creditors’ Committee. APFA’s portion of the testimony including cross examination by AA’s counsel finished on Friday before noon. Our experts, along with Laura and Anne, performed confidently and convincingly. TWU began their presentation on Friday for the two remaining locals who did not ratify their “Last Best Offer (LBO).” The following statement regarding five of seven “LBOs ratified earlier in the week” was made by Attorney Sharon Levine, on behalf of TWU during her opening statement on Friday, May 18th: “None of those votes should be taken as an affirmation of this process or of this business plan as fair or appropriate. Quite simply, they’re not. Our members have been faced with a horrible Hobson’s choice, a Sophie’s Choice. Either they take huge concessions, face huge layoffs and potentially get early out remediation, or they are fired. There is no middle ground. We are facing 9,000 jobs lost, 4600 with the two groups who actually voted no.” The judge did comment that in no way did he take the voting as speaking for or against AA’s business plan.
The following excerpt was written by APFA Vice President Marcus Gluth who had the opportunity to see our three experts testify on Thursday and Friday of last week:
“In the two days of testimony I witnessed, the company used four different attorneys to cross examine three witnesses. These are not ordinary attorneys, these are senior partners, former federal prosecutors and all extremely high-priced. Several of them also worked for Frank Lorenzo and Texas Air. They now work for the Los Angeles-based [union-busting] law firm Paul Hastings. Each one of these attorneys has a group of associates who helps them prepare for each question. The associates sit in the gallery with iPads and are constantly communicating with the main attorney. I was told they each make upwards of $800 – $1,000 per hour, not including their associates and expenses. If you check the AA bill for Paul Hastings in December and January alone, it totaled $2.9 million; and this was prior to the 1113 trial. Can you imagine what that bill is now? It was at this point that I realized how bankruptcy really is a David vs. Goliath. Not just with us, but with all unions and individual creditors involved in bankruptcy.
“We are very well represented by Rob Clayman, Carmen Parcelli [of the Washington, D.C. firm Guerrieri, Clayman, Bartos and Parcelli] and their team. All three labor groups have similar-sized legal teams. Personally I felt that, in the process, I was represented very well. Not only because our people held their ground against the company’s hired guns. But also because in regular negotiations, the company rarely uses its hired guns. Instead, it uses employee relations representatives who have climbed the corporate ladder, along with an attorney or two. Flight Attendants often remark to me they envision AA having this huge team of top attorneys at the negotiating table, but we all know that is not true. However, in bankruptcy court, it is much different. AA actually does have the highest-paid attorneys in the country ready to do battle; a battle that may allow management to possibly erase 50 years of collective bargaining. And they know the odds are on their side. I witnessed Rob, Carmen and our professionals shine and prove they are proud to represent our members. Listening to different members of the Jefferies Group, they are showing me they are starting to feel like they are one of us, not just corporate suits. Dan Akins has a head start with his honoree APFA membership following our Strike, but the smirk he gave to the company officially makes him one of us.
“TWU began their case Friday morning with Jeff Brundage. He started out almost bubbly about describing how since he had last testified, he had retired and was so happy to be replaced by Denise Lynn as Senior VP and that he is now an advisor to the company. At one point, when TWU asked him about executive cash bonuses, he stated they never took one dollar in bonus money, but rather stock options, in accordance with the “executive retention program”. By the way, it actually took Brundage at least 10 minutes to explain that sentence.
“Leon [Szlezinger] took the stand on Friday morning. When Carmen asked Leon on direct testimony to clarify his experience in order to qualify him as an expert witness, I was shocked at his extensive background. For example he represented a bank that Enron was about to put the screws to. Leon and his team were the first to identify the problem and rescue most of his client’s money. When we first met with him in December, he was obviously modest about his background. For the court, he was much more detailed and it was very impressive. Leon was confident and spoke with authority. He testified that AAís future business plan was so poor, he was forced to advise his client (APFA) to consider other options. This crushed the company. You could see the Senior VPís squirming in their seats, uncomfortably. Here is a guy who was one of the first in identifying Enron as a major problem now saying that AAís business plan is seriously flawed. The company tried to go after Leon on cross examination with no success. Leon went on to state that if he had used the same math and ìback of the envelopeî calculations that AA and the McKinsey group had made regarding the business plan, he would be fired. AA was stoic, but a room full of Attorneys and Financial wizards buzzed and snickered. I looked right away at the Judge and he was staring straight down taking notes. We are well represented.
“Among Dan, Rob and Leon, I know we have the right professionals representing us. Over the years, I have heard Dan talk and explain his position and views on AA and the airline industry. After hearing both Leon and Dan and their collective views, it was even more powerful.”
Bankruptcy Court May 21-25
The coming week in Bankruptcy Court will be a busy one. TWU is scheduled to wrap up their presentation on Monday, at which point the company begins their rebuttal where they will be recalling witnesses in an effort to discredit the Unions’ testimonies. Also, the next Omnibus Hearing, which is designated for a variety of different matters relating to the bankruptcy case to be heard, is scheduled for Thursday, May 24. APFA will once again be live-tweeting directly from the open session of the 1113 hearings this coming week. If you would like to follow along, APFA’s Twitter feed is @APFAunity. We will include a summary on the hotline and also on APFA’s Facebook page.
1113 Decision Delay
There is one important change to the 1113 calendar: Judge Sean Lane initially set June 6th as the date he would make the decision whether or not to grant the company’s motion to impose the 1113 Term Sheet. However, the Judge expressed concern that the case was taking longer than expected and because of that he has set a new date of June 22 to render his decision.
Here are a few interesting articles written about the bankruptcy hearings last week, including this one published in USA Today following Dan Akins’ testimony on Thursday. Note: Bill Swelbar, who is mentioned at the bottom of the USA Today article, and is widely believed to be a consultant for AA. He is also the only “analyst” anywhere that appears to support AA’s Standalone business plan.
More Management Misbehavior
Word on the street is AA management is offering some of our flight attendants a seat at Craig Kreeger’s Roundtable discussions next month at Centreport. From there, we are told, Craig who is the Senior V.P. of the Customer Experience wants to put together a group of Flight Attendants for special-assignment all-expense-paid trips “round-the-world” including, of course, trip removals. This tactic is divisive and should not be indulged in by our members. We are in Bankruptcy Court fighting for our livelihoods. This is not the time for all-expense paid vacations and more trips dropped into open time for an already maxed-out membership. If you receive one of these invitations, APFA asks that you decline and remind management that your union speaks for you.
A recent Flight Service Update contained misinformation related to last week’s testimony by APFA President Laura Glading and APFA’s Airline Financial Analyst and expert witness Dan Akins. Please take a moment, if you’ve not already done so, to review the hotline tweets over the past week by clicking here. Also, transcripts of the hearings will be made public by the court, and when they are, APFA will upload them to the web site and let you know as soon as possible.
At the request of Judge Sean Lane, APFA’s negotiating team will be participating in mediated sessions with American Airlines and Judge James Peck, who is also a bankruptcy judge of the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. These sessions will begin on Tuesday, May 29th in New York.
On another note, we have uploaded a new AA-US Airways pro-merger bagtag insert. It is available for download here. Print out a page and share them with your crewmembers.
From the Contract Department – Article 30 and the Five-Year Clock
For those FAs interested in an early-out option, Article 30 is still available. The company is enforcing the requirement of six-months notice before you can take Article 30. If you are out on long-term sick or IOD status and do not expect to be able to clear medical prior to the 5-year clock expiring, and if you believe the only benefits you may be eligible for are those under Article 30, you must give management notice of your intentions to take Art. 30 AT LEAST six months before the 5-year clock expires. Eligibility requires that members are between the age of 45 and 55 with a minimum of 20 years of company seniority. According to AA’s 1113 Term Sheet, they are attempting to eliminate the medical and life insurance benefits associated with Art. 30, but not the lump-sum payment or the travel provisions included in that option.
APFA Flyer App for iPhone and iPad, Version 2.0
IOR Flight Attendant Alex Rodriguez, the genius behind APFA’s Flyer App, has just finished an update to . This app, which allows flight attendants to determine legalities, access the contract, receive the hotline, determine 2-for-1 calculations and so on, has undergone a face lift and other updates. Only FAs in good standing will be able to download the app. You must be using ios version 4.0 or later. Click here for instructions on downloading as well as details on its new features.
Alex is anxious to hear feedback about this new version, which contains a number of improvements. Please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments or suggestions – or if you just want to thank him for all his hard work! The licensing agreements require annual re-versioning of the application which is why the current app will no longer work. This update occurred because of licensing agreements that require re-versioning of the application annually, in addition to taking the opportunity to further refine the program. This is similar to any app that needs updating.
Some of the new features include: a new photo option allowing you to take a picture and include it in your report to APFA’s Hotel Department or Safety Department, an iPad-specific app, the ability to upgrade directly from your iPhone or iPad rather than having to visit a 3rd party site, a de-bugged break-calculator, quicker start up, and other bug fixes and improvements.
Labor International Hall of Fame
Thursday evening, APFA Secretary Jeff Pharr, Safety Coordinator Kelly Skyles, APFA’s Archivist Sally Prater and Wings President Debbie Roland attended the Labor’s International Hall of Fame ceremony last week. This year’s inductees included 600+ union members represented by over 20 unions who died in the 9/11 attacks. Speakers included Former US Transportation Sec’y Norman Mineta, AFA International VP Sara Nelson, members of the FDNY and Cathie Ong-Herrera, sister of Betty Ong. APA President Veda Shook also spoke and shared remarks prepared by APFA President Laura Glading who was testifying in Bankruptcy Court that day. Laura’s comments follow: ìOn behalf of American Airlinesí 17,000 flight attendants who hold our fallen colleagues in our hearts every day, I thank Laborís International Hall of Fame for this great honor. September 11, 2001 changed the world. It sparked wars, financial crises and tremendous angst and sadness. But from that pain grew hope and love. And just as this nation was galvanized by the tragedy, so too were our labor unions. Our unity helped guide us through the tumultuous decade that followed the attacks, and it continues to inspire me as I tend to the business that prevents me from joining you tonight. We will never forget the crews of American Airlines flight 11 and 77, and United 175 and 93. They are with us always. Thank you again, and God bless.î
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