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10.13.12 – (LAA) – Health Benefits, Oct 15th Paychecks, Me Too, VEOP Exit Bidding, Tablets, 401K Match


Health Benefits, Oct. 15th Paychecks, Me Too, VEOP Exit Bidding, Tablets, 401(k) Match, etc., for October 13, 2012. 


NOW: Petition AMR’s Board to Save Our Brand and Merge with US Airways
APFA President Laura Glading met with APA President Keith Wilson this week to discuss a commitment to working together and how best the two workgroups could support each other. Over the next several weeks, APA and APFA will be asking its members to participate in actions showing solidarity for and promoting a merger.

You can show your support for a US Airways merger immediately by signing the petition to AMR’s Board of Directors: “Support a merger with US Airways before the AA brand is completely destroyed.”

VEOP Bidding
Bidding for VEOP and TSP departure dates closes on Wednesday, October 17, 2012, at 1000 Central Time. The ballot can be found on the Restructuring area of the Flight Service website.

If you do not submit enough choices or do not bid altogether, you will then be assigned a departure date. No one will be involuntarily assigned to the December 2012 departure date. Those turning 50 by September 30, 2013, will not be assigned a departure date prior to their 50th birthday, unless it is specifically selected as part of their ballot. For some Q&As and more information about VEOP exit bidding as well as some important information for those of you who may not yet have 15 years of credited service.
Me, Too!
Last, week, APFA laid out the fact that any delay in the pilot’s Term Sheet implementation resulting in less than a 17% reduction in costs would mean an adjustment to our cuts as well. This is due to the “Me, Too” clause we negotiated with the company. To reiterate: APFA has noticed the company that we are taking a full accounting of any value the pilots accrue as certain items under their Term Sheet are delayed. If it is determined that our percentage of cuts are greater than theirs, we will be credited accordingly. We will inform the membership once the accounting is finished.

October 15th International Paychecks Info
As mentioned on the September 14th hotline, the October 15th pay check reflects the hourly rates of pay using domestic hourly rates plus the 3% increase. Since there is no longer a separate international rate of pay, international flying will now be paid as a $3.00 hourly override for hours flown. These hours will be paid similar to purser, galley and TAFB appearing on the end of the following month’s check. In other words, International FAs will see the new rates of pay for their hourly rate. International override for all October hours eligible for the override will be paid on the end of November’s check. The International override is applicable to any flight operating outside the contiguous forty-eight states, Mexico, Canada and Alaska that requires an overwater qualification and includes deadheading, pay and credit. The final incentive pay hours from September will be included on the end-of-October paycheck.     

November Schedule Reduction
AA has advised us that its recently announced schedule reduction for November will not cause a delay in bidding for November.

As you know, the company has announced it plans to provide Samsung Tablets to all flight attendants for use on board the aircraft. A video on Jetnet showed a flight attendant demonstrating the Tablet and his general elation over being able to help passengers in the terminal. That generated more than one email to APFA as well as AA management. Here is their response:

“Q: Does the introduction of a tablet imply that flight attendants will be trained in ticketing or reissuing tickets in daily and OSO scenarios onboard the airplane?
A: There are no plans to train flight attendants to use the FA tablet to process agent ticketing functions. The FA Tablet will provide flight attendants information to enhance the level of personalized service they provide our customers, such as easily identifying premium customers and those who require special assistance, providing connecting gate information, taking premium cabin meal and beverage preferences and providing detail about our inflight menu offerings. Flight attendants will not use the FA tablet to issue or reissue tickets. Once the tablets have been distributed to all flight attendants, we’ll continue to explore new and exciting ways that we can use the tablets to enhance our customer’s experience and your experience moving forward, including adding the FA Manual to the tablet. (10.9.12)”

APFA will be monitoring the roll out of these devices carefully.

2013 Health Benefits Enrollment
Information regarding the 2013 benefits options is now available on the Benefits page of Jetnet. The benefits information can also be accessed via for family members who do not have access to Jetnet. Benefits Enrollment for 2013 will open on November 1, 2012 and close at midnight central time on November 16, 2012. The changes to our medical benefits for 2013 will be significant, so please review all of the options carefully in order to make the best decisions for yourself and your family.

It is important for all members to log on and complete an active enrollment. If you do not make a benefits selection, you will be defaulted to AA’s Standard Plan. If an enrollment is not completed, employees who are covered by AA’s Standard or Value Plus plan will default to the Standard Plan. Likewise, employees with an HMO will default to the same HMO. There is one exception for this: those covered by the Aetna Philadelphia HMO wil default to the Standard Plan since that HMO is no longer offered. Employees who waived medical coverage for 2012 will default to no coverage for 2013 if they do not complete their enrollment.
This year AA will be mailing a Benefits Overview to each employee’s home, so please ensure that your HR contact information is up to date. Remember that the most comprehensive benefits information will be available online. Click here for an overview of expected changes.

More Info: International Training for Domestic FAs Subject to Reserve
Just like the bankruptcy and the LBFO, this International Training is unprecedented in our history. The Company’s first thought was to inflate the Reserve list by roughly 300 jobs per month system-wide. This was unacceptable on many levels: APFA has consistently resisted efforts by the Company to artificially inflate the Reserve List(s). Our goal has always been to reduce the numbers and seniority of Flight Attendants serving reserve. This idea would have done both: inflate the reserve seniority and reserve numbers. In addition, this would have also put those Flight Attendants who would have been pulled onto Reserve, now also subject to “Draft” for this Training.

The length of the Training may vary, from Flight Attendant to Flight Attendant based on previous International training and equipment qualifications. However, a concerted effort was made to accomplish the training in as few days as possible and thereby limit the number of trips back and forth to DFW while balancing the equipment training requirements of the FAA.

Finally, we were also able to reach an agreement with the Company to provide hotel accommodations for the DFW Commuters [Those FlightAttendants who live 50 or more miles outside of DFW], an exception to the practice with other training.

There was clearly no good answer but a great deal of effort went into creating a workable alternative: The International Training Lines includes:
1. Flight Pay for all training at an increased rate of 4:40 for each day of training
2. Increased guarantee of 75 hours as a minimum
3. Relief Rules (RL) for all remaining AVBL days, e.g.
a. Release at 75 Hours PROJ
b. Ability to plot trips into and out of AVBL days
c. No Turnaround restrictions
d. No GTD restrictions
4. Ability to know prior to the month’s bidding who is going to training
5. Ability to bid for these Training Line(s): Days Off, Training Days, and AVBL Days
6. No drafting in the holiday months of November and December
7. A percentage of each class having slots designated for Flight Attendants not subject to reserve.

Our goal was, is, and will continue to be, to mitigate concessions forced on us by the Company, throughout the Bankruptcy process.

VEOP Exit Dates and Training
Q. What if I hold an exit date that is at the end of the month of my grace month for EPT’s/RDT’s?
A. It will not interfere with your exit date.
Q. What if I hold an exit date that is at the end of the month, in the month after my grace month?
A. You will be designated QI at the end of your grace month. You will be assigned a training class after you go QI, and sent a directive to attend that class. Failure to obey a directive is grounds for termination. If you are terminated, you are not eligible for the VEOP or for retiree benefits.
Q. If I am on the sick list and cannot attend training will I go QI?
A. No, you are not placed on QI status until you clear the sick list.

VEOP And The Pension Freeze
If you held the VEOP and have less than 15 years of Credited Service in the Pension Plan, you should understand how the Pension Plan freeze relates to earning Retirement Eligibility Service.

As you know, your Years of Credited Service (YCS) is used to calculate HOW MUCH your pension will be, this is frozen, and will not grow after 10/31/12. Your Retirement Eligibility Service (RES) is used to determine WHEN YOU CAN START drawing your pension. This will NOT freeze on 11/1/12. So, if you are close to being able to draw your pension early, you want to think about that when bidding your departure slot. Your RES is always equal to or greater than your YCS.  

For example, if you have 15+ years of RES, you can start your pension as early as age 55 (with 3%/year reduction.) If you do not have 15+ years of RES, you have to wait until age 60/65 to start your pension. If you are close to 15 years, say you have 14.75 years of RES, you might want to stay active, earning RES (when you get paid flight hours) until you reach 15 years of RES. This would allow you to draw a pension for 5 more years (age 55-60).

Another threshold is 10+ years of RES at age 60. If you have 10+ years, you can start your pension as early as age 60 (with actuarial reduction.) If you are close to 10 years, say you have 9.75 years of RES, you might want to stay active, earning RES (when you get paid flight hours) until you reach 10 years of RES. This would allow you to draw a pension for 5 more years (age 60-65).

If you are age 65, you can start drawing your pension regardless of your RES.

A full year of RES is earned for every calendar year you are paid 734 or more paid flight hours on an American Airlines paycheck. If you have less than 734 hours, you get a pro-rata portion of a year.

To find out your RES, contact HR at 800-447-2000.

401(k) Match Begins in November
Under our new Contract, beginning November 1, 2012, American could be putting an extra 5.5% of your eligible pay into your 401(k) account. If you decide not to contribute at least 5.5% of your pay to your 401k, you will be letting American Airlines keep the money that they were going to give to you.

If you want ALL of the money American owes you, visit the SuperSaver website and set your 401(k) or Roth contribution to a combined total of 5.5% contribution. It does not matter whether you choose to contribute to your 401(k) or your Roth, the company will match it and their contribution will always go into the Before-Tax account.  

If you’ve never opened a 401(k) account with American, or already closed the one you had, guess what?  On November 1, 2012, an account will automatically be opened for you, and your before-tax contribution from your paychecks will be set at 3% automatically. American will begin matching that automatic 3% contribution automatically, as well. If you want to opt out of auto enrollment  completely and let American keep the full 5.5% they are required to match, you must do so by 3 p.m. Central time on October 19, 2012.

Step-by-step instructions:
1. Log onto the website (easier if you click through from JetNet.)
2. On the opening My Accounts page, click on the $uper $aver 401(k) Plan link.
3. On the left side, under Account Management, click on the Contribution Amount link.
4. You will see a chart with your current contribution level for each type of contribution, and a box for each type to insert a new amount.            
5. In each box, enter your new contribution amount. (Tip! Blank equal zero, so if you want no change, repeat the same number as the current contribution.)
6. If you are over 50, you also have a chart where you can enter “Catch-Up” Contributions.  Follow the same fill-in-the-new-amount if you wish to make these contributions as well.
7. Click Continue
8. You will be shown the chart again, now with your new selections.
9. If everything is right, click Accept.  If not, click cancel and start over.
10. You will be given a confirmation number for your changes.
11. You will have a chance to sign up for Auto-Increase.  This is a “set-and-forget” option to slowly increase your contribution amount every year.  A great way to increase your savings.


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Leslie Mayo
APFA National Communications Coordinator

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