The Perils of the 1113 – John Nikdes, LAX Chair 7.31.12
I would love to be able to say that continued negotiations would follow a rejection of the LBFO, or after the judge abrogates, but I cannot.
The judge has already sent us back to the table a number of times, and the fact that he has refused to change the decision date indicates that he is losing patience.
The BK process favors the debtor. If we thought that regular Section 6 negotiations were unfair, nothing could have prepared any of us for the skewed playing field of the 1113 process.
The lack of duty aloft provision is a problem…I agree…but the lack of duty rigs will be even more disastrous to our work force.
The elimination of duty rigs…
E-time (1 minute of pay for every 2 minutes on duty) F-time (1 minute of pay for every 3:5 minutes away from base) G-time (5:00 average with 3:00 minimum per day)
…will remove the disincentive for the company to schedule us inefficiently.
Sit times will increase dramatically because there will no longer be the E-time penalty hanging over the company’s head. Trips with short flying times and lengthy layovers will create situations in which flight attendants could potentially be away from home for 3 days and earn only 9 hours of pay.
Under the 1113 Term Sheet, Off-Schedule Operations will result in flight attendants being away from home for longer periods as there would no longer be a penalty to the company for reassigning a flight attendant over and over.
Reserves wlll be further harmed because, without duty rigs, virtually all paid reserve hours will be hard flying time.
Randy Trautman’s comparisons, accessible in the Files section of this page, demonstrate how WE will end up paying the price for the company’s inefficient scheduling.
Further, the preservation of duty rigs will save jobs as a work force with duty rigs requires greater manning because the company is paying you $$$ for hours not physically flown. Those hours go towards your monthly maximum. Just two hours of pay and credit monthly for each of 35 flight attendants currently saves one job. That may not seem like a lot but when you are that flight attendant, it certainly is a lot. Multiply that by 16,000 flight attendants and you can see the magnitude.
The risk of losing duty rigs forever is just too great, in my opinion. The Continental flight attendants never got back their duty rigs after the 1983 bankruptcy. A company would much rather throw $$$ at you than restrict themselves with work rules. The Continental flight attendants have found that out the hard way.
The Term Sheet represents a hole out of which we may never dig ourselves…especially during our careers. If your concern is that AA would be laughing at us if we were to accept the LBFO, I can assure you that they are not. They have come off of their “ask” by approximately $62 million dollars plus given us a claim which could yield each flight attendant several thousand dollars at the end of Bankruptcy, in addition to the signing bonus. Every dollar the company moved off of their ask is coming out of the return to the other creditors.
Do we love it? No. Can we live with it? We certainly can live with it easier than the Term Sheet. If the USAirways merger were not to take place, we will continue to work with this agreement to improve upon it. At least we will have a basis from which to improve upon.
Another issue of concern for me is the fact that the Term Sheet actually REPLACES our current contract. While the company has not indicated its intention to invoke their right to eliminate all provisions NOT contained in the Term Sheet, they could, in fact, do so. The company would have the right, under the BK code, to eliminate all remaining provisions of the existing contract including but not limited to recall rights; the grievance machinery; flight attendants’ rights during an investigation and IOD policies, if it so chose.
Also, if the judge abrogates and we vote the LBFO down, the company also has the right to petition the court, during the remainder of the BK process, to FURTHER cut our salaries, etc. should the business plan change for the worse due to things like increased fuel prices and Acts of God.
I hate having to vote Yes on such an offer, but the alternative is far worse. As you know, I was a strident NO voter in 2003. I remained steadfast against the rest of the APFA Board in the RPA debacle. I am not a defeatist…I am a realist. I know that in order to live to fight another day, sometimes I have to protect what I have and then begin fightng anew.
John Nikdes, LAX Chair