APFA Hotline – DOJ Lawsuit, Contact the Att’y Gen’l, DC Fly-In, Benefits Enrollment, Reserve FAs, Electronic Devices, 9/11, Thresholds – September 13, 2013
For complete, up-to-date information on the merger, visit www.apfa.org and click on AA/US Merger. Below are the most recent relevant hearing documents and news items:
DOJ Trial Date Motions and Communication
Defendant US Airways Group’s Answer to Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint – 9.10.13
Defendant AMR Corporation’s Answer to Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint – 9.10.13
DOJ Litigation News
Judge Approves American Airlines’ Bankruptcy Plan, With a Caveat (New York Times) – 9.12.13
Get politics out of American Airlines-US Airways merger (Jacksonville Business Journal) – 9.10.13
The Future of the Airline Industry (Eno Center for Transportation) 9.10.13
AMR, US Airways Defend Merger as Pro-Consumer in U.S. Suit (Bloomberg) – 9.10.13
Write U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Now!
As the fight for a merger continues, APFA is asking you once again for your help. It is time to let the Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder know that we stand together in requesting they withdraw their opposition to an AA/US Merger.
Take a moment to let US Attorney General Eric Holder know that our jobs and our livelihoods are at stake. We believe this merger will generate a more competitive industry by creating a third competitor for Delta and United. It is not only good for the employees; it is good for consumers! Click here to show your support.
If you’ve not already done so, please take a moment to contact your Congressional leaders and request their support for the merger.
Flight attendants in the DC area who are interested in attending a rally at the US Capitol on Wed. Sept. 18 at 1200 should contact email@example.com. Employees from all workgroups at both AA and US Airways will be on the Hill next Tues and Wed advocating for the merger. APFA leadership will be meeting with our supporters in Congress to shore up their support ahead of the antitrust case in late November.
2014 Benefits Enrollment
It’s almost that time again! Benefits Enrollment for 2014 will open on November 1, 2013 and close at midnight central time on November 15, 2013. While the changes to our medical benefits for 2014 will not be nearly as extensive as they were last year, there will be some differences, along with the inevitable price increases. It is time to start thinking about you health care needs and whether the plan that you are currently enrolled in is working for you. Here is some general information about the plan changes. More specifics will be coming soon.
This year the primary source for benefits enrollment information will be via my.aa.com. Although the union representatives from all work groups have told the company that employees like to have an enrollment guide mailed to their home, AA has not yet decided whether they are going to do so this year – we will let you know.
Health Insurance: What changes to expect:
- Co-pays will now be applied to the out-of-pocket max in both the Standard and the Value plans
- The In-Network out-of-pocket max for the Value Plan will increase to $2000 (single)/ $5000 (family) – this matches the out-of-pocket max for the Standard Plan
- The preferred provider in AZ will change from UHC to BCBS
- The cost for Spectera Vision Insurance will decrease by 20%
- There will be three new voluntary benefit options: Critical Illness Insurance, Accident Insurance, and Veterinary Pet Insurance
Health Insurance: What stays the same?
The cost for the following benefits will not change for 2014:
- Life Insurance
- AD&D and VPAI
- Optional Short Term Disability and Long Term Disability
- MetLife Pre-paid Legal
- In-network preventive care for active employees will still be covered at 100%
Health Insurance: Changes as a Result of Health Care Reform
In 2014 additional health insurance options will be available through the Health Care Exchanges. It is a requirement of the Affordable Care Act for AA to provide notice to all employees explaining that the company sponsored health plans exceed minimum government requirements for being adequate, affordable based on current wages, and available to all employees. Because of this, AA employees will be unlikely to qualify for government subsidies / tax credits available through Health Care Exchanges. This required notice must be delivered to employees by October 1 2013.
The implementation of the “Individual Mandate” also goes into effect in 2014. This means that if you can afford health insurance, but choose not to sign up for it, you could incur a fee. In 2014, the annual penalty will be $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, up to a family maximum of $285 or one (1) percent of family income, whichever is greater.
Reserves Scheduled for November and December
For FAs scheduled to serve Reserve in October, don’t forget that it’s entirely possible that a senior FA(S) could bump you from your Reserve rotation. In order to avoid being pulled onto Reserve in November and December, one option is to bid onto Reserve in October.
Also, If you are near the bottom of the Reserve list, it’s always a good idea to back yourself up with some regular bids. If you are bumped off Reserve, you are subject to Reserve the following month (seniority requiring). Please review Article 10.S.2 for the contractual language.
If you are considering bidding onto Reserve, you must indicate as much on your bid ballot as well as actually bidding Reserve selections. Simply bidding Reserve selections is not enough. Also, as a reminder: bidding onto Reserve in a month with a known planned absence (vacation or bid leave) will not satisfy your Reserve obligation.
For Pursers and Language Qualified FAs Serving Reserve
Reserve FAs can now be awarded Voluntary Purser and Voluntary Language flying as pay, no credit on their DFP periods. The “VR” code is used for Reserve Voluntary Purser awards and the “VL” code is used for Reserve Voluntary Language awards. Reserve Fas will use the same HISEND ballot forms as line holders to request VR/VL flying It is granted in seniority order, regardless of status. While not credited towards Reserve hours it is paid on top of Reserve guarantee.
AM/PM Reserve Option
When you are awarded the AM Reserve option, you will hear: “You are released until 2358” on the tape. “RLSD 1301-2358” will appear on your HI1. You are not released for the day. You are available from 0000-1300 and may be contacted at 2200 for a 0000 report.
Adjacent Base Flying
Adjacent Base flying is being offered at MIA/IMA and LAX/LAX-I each day throughout September. Please refer to the APFA Scheduling Page and scroll to the Adjacent Base links on the bottom of the page for more information.
Onboard Electronic Devices
As you know, the debate over the use of electronic devices (ED) in the aircraft has been widely studied and debated. In August 2012, the FAA asked for public comment on current ED policies, guidance and procedures for operators. In January 2013, the FAA formed a government-industry group, established through an Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), to review the public comments and examine the current PED policies and procedures aircraft operators use to determine when EDs can be used safely during flight. The 28-member ARC Committee is expected to issue its report to the Administrator at the end of September, two months later than their original deadline.
A draft report has been leaked and it appears that the ARC will endorse a wider use of EDs, such as tablets, iPods, and smart phones – used only for data – during takeoff and landing. This would essentially allow for “gate to gate” use of certain devices. The use of cell phones for voice communications will not be discussed in the report because that issue comes under the purview of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC currently prohibits the use of cell phones on aircraft through its regulation of the radio spectrum and no change is currently anticipated.
The FAA has stated that a final decision will not be made regarding this matter until after the ARC report and recommendations are received and reviewed. Changes by the FAA regarding the wider use of EDs could, however, be in place by the end of the year.
Flight 93 Memorial
APFA members along with the Flight Attendant Union Coalition, representing nearly 100,000 Flight Attendants at carriers nationwide, joined forces on Capitol Hill this week to request that members of Congress make voluntary personal contributions to close a $1.5 million funding gap for the Flight 93 National Memorial. Flight Attendants distributed a letter to every member of the United States Congress asking them to make a personal contribution towards funding the memorial’s Tower of Voices and educational programs.
Twelve years ago, 25 Flight Attendants took action as first responders in a war we didn’t know we were fighting. These heroes were among the first to relay the intelligence that alerted our country and our flying partners on Flight 93, who in turn sacrificed their own lives to save countless others on the ground. Since that fateful day, our country’s history has been changed forever. As our work continues and evolves, the role of first responder has been added to our responsibilities as aviation’s last line of defense. Our heroes will forever unite us and we will never forget.
9/11 Memorial Card
If you haven’t already, please take a moment to sign APFA’s online tribute to our heroes we lost on September 11, 2001. To do so, visit neverforget11-77-93-175.com.
Thresholds: Employment, Sick, Vacation and Health
APFA continues to receive questions regarding thresholds for employment, sick and vacation accrual and benefits due to the delay in our emergence from bankruptcy as a result of the DOJ lawsuit. Due to the high likelihood that we will not merge prior to December 31, 2013, all FAs should be focused on meeting the current thresholds.
For the Employment Threshold this means: You must have 420 paid hours (or an average of 35 paid hours per active month) during the 2013 calendar year.
For Sick and Vacation accrual eligibility this means: You must have 600 paid hours (or an average of 50 paid hours per active month) during the 2013 calendar year.
Due to the delay of the merger the decision has been made not to apply the July 31, 2013 look back for 2014 Health Benefits. Rather the threshold for benefits will remain the current 420 paid hours (or an average of 35 hours per active month) on a rolling 12-month look-back basis.
AmericanAirlines + US Airways
APFA National Communications Coordinator