APFA Hotline – 1.05.13
Bankruptcy/Merger Plan Update
As we announced earlier this week, APFA signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) containing clarifications to the US Airways Bridge Agreement we reached last April. The purpose of this MOU was to further highlight the financial benefits of a merger to AMR’s creditors.
APA signed an MOU on December 29 and USAPA, the union representing US Airways’ pilots approved the MOU yesterday by unanimous vote. All of these steps will make for a smoother process in the event of a merger inside bankruptcy.
Base Representative Elections (correction)
There was an error in the dates announced by the Ballot Committee yesterday regarding ballots mailed and ballots due. Ballots for base elections will be mailed on January 23, 2013, and electronic voting closes on February 22, 2013. If you have any questions concerning these elections, call or email the National Ballot Committee at APFA headquarters, ext. 8311 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Skyword Express and On-Duty Contract Guide
The January Skyword Express should be arriving in your mailboxes on file with APFA shortly. Included within the Skyword Express is a pull-out On-Duty Contract Guide Supplement. Please carry this Supplement along with your ODCG on all of your trips. If you don’t have an ODCG, one can be downloaded from the APFA web site.
From the Contract Department
Changes to our current thresholds for vacation and sick accrual, company-subsidized medical benefits as well as a new employment threshold went into effect on January 1st.
Thresholds for vacation/sick accrual and medical benefit subsidies have increased to 600-paid hours per year, or an average of 50 hours per active month. Thresholds for vacation and sick accrual will continue to be measured on a calendar year basis (January 1- December 31). The new threshold for company-subsidized medical benefits will be measured annually, August 1 to July 31, with the initial threshold for 2014 benefits being January 1, 2013, to July 31, 2013.
The changes to the threshold for company-subsidized medical benefits includes a transition from our monthly rolling look-back to a once a year look-back. For this year, we will need to simultaneously meet our rolling 12-month look-back for benefit subsidy through the end of 2013 while also meeting our annual look-back to ensure benefit subsidy for all of 2014. So, in order to receive company-subsidized benefits through the end of 2013, we must continue to meet both the 420-hour threshold, or 35-paid hours per active month, on a rolling 12-month look-back basis while also needing 350 paid hours, or an average of 50 hours per active month, between January 1 and July 31, 2013 for 2014 benefits. The first look-back for the new annual benefits threshold is only 350 hours as it encompasses the seven (7) month period from January thru July.
In addition, the employment threshold began on January 1st with the first look-back to take place in January 2014. In order to maintain employment, you must be paid 420 hours, or an average of 35-paid hours per active month, on a calendar year basis (January 1 – December 31).
For each month that you are not active, your threshold will be reduced. In addition, any paid hours in a month in which you are not active will not count towards your threshold in your other active months. You must be on payroll at least 15 days in order to be considered active for threshold purposes.
Attention Low-Time Flyers: While the thresholds are measured as an average per active month allowing FAs to fly low hours one month and high hours in another month, APFA highly encourages our members to always get their high-hour months completed before dropping to low-time months. In other words, ensure you maintain an average of 50-hours per active month rather than waiting until later in the year to fly the hours needed to meet your threshold. It is impossible to anticipate what the future may hold that may cause a member who had planned to fly high time later in the year to fall short of a threshold due to unforeseen circumstances. APFA also suggests all members meet the medical benefit subsidy threshold if possible even if they do not currently take benefits from AA. There have been situations where a FA was not concerned with meeting threshold minimums to maintain these benefits (since they do not use AA medical benefits). Later, an unexpected life event such as a spousal job loss, etc., occurs, and the FA must suddenly rely on health benefits from AA. If the minimum threshold is not met and this were to occur, the FA would be required to pay unsubsidized rates for upwards of a year or more before they could meet the threshold for the following calendar year’s coverage.
Attention FAs Taking VEOP: FAs taking VEOP do not need to be concerned about the employment threshold as the first look-back for that threshold will take place after all of the VEOP exit dates. However FAs must continue to meet the 420-hour threshold, or average of 35-paid hours per active month, on a rolling 12-month look-back basis in order to receive company-subsidized health benefits prior to your exit date. Further, in order to accrue vacation and sick for the active months in 2013, you must be paid an average of 50-hours per active month.
From the Negotiating Team
As a reminder, Reserves may confirm their assignments for the following day at 1700 but Crew Schedule maintains the ability to contact a ready reserve between 1700 and 1900. Crew Schedule was unwilling to relinquish access to ready reserves so “early” in the day for potential same-day assignments so Ready Reserves are obligated to be available from 1700 to 1900, regardless of an assignment on the tape for the following day. The alternative to the earlier confirmation was that assignments would not have been published until 1900. It is our hope that these changed assignments are few and far between and that, in the future we are able to enhance this procedure by securing release from Reserve at 1700 when assigned for the following day.
United Express Reciprocal Agreement Update
United Express has agreed to a temporary extension of the reciprocal agreement for flights operated by Skywest until March 31st while they continue the review of their reciprocal agreements. An HI6 message will be issued to advise FAs.
AmericanAirlines + US Airways
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APFA National Communications Coordinator
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