APFA Hotline for Saturday, September 1, 2012.
On this Labor Day Weekend, APFA is especially pleased to be welcoming back the remaining 211 furloughed Flight Attendants. Wednesday, AA announced their return to the line in November. Recall packets were sent out via Fed Ex on Thursday, August 30th. FAs must respond to AA’s recall notice by returning the acceptance form contained in the recall packet by September 10th for receipt by AA on September 11th. If you do not respond to the recall notice by the deadline, you forfeit your recall rights. Check www.apfa.org’s recall page for more information. You can email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The recalled FAs’ report date is November 16th and they will spend six weeks at the AA Training Center, aka Flagship University. Once they finish, they will report to one of four bases: LGA, MIA, DFW or DCA.
This news is not only exciting for our recalled FAs, but it also paves the way for the potential of new hires and some movement throughout what has been a stagnant system for the past ten years.
US Airways Signs the NDA
In other good news, Friday, August 31st, US Airways signed the non-disclosure agreement AA extended its way in July. This begins a quiet period where neither party will be allowed to comment on any progress made toward a merger. APFA continues to support a strategic alternative that includes a management team with a proven track record such as the team that currently leads US AIrways.
Another NDA was signed yesterday – that of British Airways, AA’s One World partner across the pond. An American-US Airways merger would increase One World’s presence in North America and improve British Airways’ traffic overseas. Willie Walsh, British Airways’ CEO, expressed his interest in a merger between AA and US Airways by saying that any strategic alternative that strengthens the OneWorld program is welcome.
In other AMR bankruptcy news, an Ad Hoc group of creditors manifested itself this week as an interested party in the partial equity and financing of AMR’s exit from bankruptcy. This group of investors, like any other group with investment interests, is focused on the highest return possible.
Turning the Tables? Unlikely
One question that comes up from time to time is whether AA could acquire US Airways inside bankruptcy. In short, it is unlikely. While American could technically attempt to acquire US Airways during the chapter 11 case, any such attempt would require Creditor Committee support and Court approval and a level of financial resources that AMR does not currently have access to.
Since US Airways is a public company, there would likely be a competitive process involving other carriers and it is unlikely that American would prevail in a bidding environment. In any combination, the division of equity between US Airways shareholders and AMR creditors would need to be established.
On Wednesday, APFA announced the Board’s decision on how best to distribute the equity claim. The 3% equity Claim will be allocated using a distribution formula based on W-2 earnings from January 1, 2009, to the present.
Recognizing that some union claim distributions in prior bankruptcies have led to costly and drawn-out lawsuits, APFA put together a team of the most experienced bankruptcy labor attorneys to advise the Union on an appropriate method for distributing the claim.
Our attorneys emphasized that APFA should select a distribution method that is:
1. Based on objective criteria
2. Allows for broad participation in the Claim, and
3. Can be applied in a straight-forward manner.
Considering the unique circumstances of our case as well as successful distributions in past bankruptcies, APFA’s advisors strongly recommended that the Union adopt the W-2 earnings formula as the fairest and most logical way to proceed.
The rationale for this formula is to treat the Claim distribution as a form of retroactive pay in recognition of the fact that Flight Attendant wages remained stagnant during contract negotiations. In particular, our counsel recommended that earnings for several years be taken into account since earnings based on a single year might not be representative. APFA adopted the recommendation of its counsel.
It is a fact that no matter how APFA distributes the Claim there will always be some individuals who can argue that a different distribution method would be more advantageous for them. For that reason, the Union has to consider the best interests of the Flight Attendant group as a whole, which was done in this case.
Signing Bonus – September 21
The company has announced they will pay our $1,500 signing bonus on September 21st. This bonus will be treated as a special distribution. If you are currently deferring your AIP and CE payouts into your 401(k) account, this bonus will also be deposited into your 401(k) account. If you want to make changes, you must do so before 3:00 p.m. Central on September 7th by visiting www.retireonline.com. If you do make changes to your supersaver account, future AIP and CE payouts will also change.
From the main page of the JPMorgan Web site, www.retireonline.com, sign in to access your $uper$aver – 401(k) account, click on the plan name to find your account detail. Locate the “Contribution Amount” link under the Account Management section (left hand side of the screen), click on the link. Enter a percentage amount on either the “Before-tax Special Election” or “Roth Special Election” line under the Regular Contribution Amount box.
Implementation and Contract Language
APFA and AA’s negotiating teams met this week to 1) ascertain the timeline for implementation of the changes in order to plan for the impact of these changes, and 2) to begin work on the CBA language that will be modified by the newly-ratified agreement. Meetings have been scheduled through September.
Proffers, Transfers and Mutuals
Assuming our ratified agreement receives court approval on September 12, the Article 12 – Filling of Vacancies T/A language will be implemented for the January 1, 2013, mutual transfer processing. Beginning November 1, 2012, both domestic and international FAs will no longer be able to rescind a vacancy transfer or mutual transfer request once awarded, just like international proffers work today. As a result the domestic transfer list will be purged October 31, 2012.
The last date that an international flight attendant may submit a request via HISEND message number 27 for self-pairing will be October 31, 2012. That means Flight Attendants can only self-pair for effective dates of November 1st and December 2nd. Requests must be submitted by September 30, 2012 for an effective date of November 1, 2012 and October 31, 2012 for an effective date of December 2, 2012. The international mutual transfer list will be purged on November 1st.
Going forward mutual transfers will be processed every month for domestic and international using the standard transfer or proffer lists. Mutual transfers will be determined based on seniority rather than self pairing. If there is more than one FA pair desiring to mutual between bases, then a pool of FAs desiring to mutual between two bases will be created to ensure the maximum number of matches are made. Until the domestic and international operations are combined, mutuals will only take place within the respective domestic and international operations.
Sick Time Q&A
Q. I have a high balance in my sick bank. The short-term/long-term combination is complicated. Does this reduce the value of the sick time that I have earned over my career?
A. With the new agreement, accrued sick hours are still paid out on a trips-missed basis at 100% of your hourly rate. The short-term bank pays out for absences of less than 10 days, up to the hours in your short-term bank, which can hold a maximum of 60 hours. The long term bank pays out for absences of longer duration and requires authorization. SK accrual remains at a maximum of 36 hours per year. If your short term bank reaches its maximum of 60 when your yearly accrual is credited, one half of the additional hours would be paid out to you at your full hourly rate, with the other half going into your long-term bank up to a maximum of 940 hours.
Labor Day Parade, NYC
There is a Labor Day parade in Manhattan, NY on Saturday, September 8th. TWU ail be serving a light breakfast beginning at 9:00 a.m. on 47th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. The parade starts at 10:00 and all members are welcome and invited to join TWU. We will be marching behind the TWU State Conference Banner. This group is comprised of the 14 NY TWU Local unions that supported APFA’s bankruptcy court picketing event downtown this past Spring.
Early Out Briefings
The application period for the Voluntary Early Out Program began today, August 27, at 0100 Central and will close at 2300 Central on September 20, 2012. If you are interested in taking the VEOP, the application can be found on Jetnet.
After the VEOP window closes, the Travel Separation options will open beginning at 0100 on September 22 and closing at 2300 Central on September 28, 2012.
Once the TSP is completed, bidding for separation dates will begin. Awards will be by seniority for the available slots between the 4th quarter of 2012 and the 3rd quarter of 2013. AA has stated there will be limited spots available for the 4th quarter of 2012.
APFA will be filming the DFW retiree meeting and uploading it to our web site. This video is for those FAs who are unable to attend one of the Early Out Briefings and would like more information prior to making a retirement decision.
Chicago O’Hare Airport – September 4
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Chicago O’Hare Airport
West Conference Room
Located at the Mezzanine Level above the International Ticket Counters
DFW Airport – September 7
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
JFK Airport – September 10
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Mark Dupont Room located across from AA Pilot Operations
Los Angeles – September 12
9 a.m. to noon
Ayres Hotel Manhattan Beach/Hawthorne
MIA Airport – September 13
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Concourse D Auditorium located in North Terminal Level 4
APFA Headquarters will be closed on Monday, September 3, in honor of Labor Day. We will be open Tuesday the 4th at 9:00 a.m. Central Time. That’s it for now – Fly safely this weekend.