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APFA Q & A’s – 10.11.13

APFA Q&As – October 11, 2013 APFA

President Laura Glading answered the following questions in various email responses over the past few days. If you have a question you’d like to see answered on this hotline, please email [email protected].

Q: Why did APFA agree to binding arbitration if negotiations does not result in a quick agreement?

A: The only winner in protracted negotiations is management. AA Flight Attendants had been negotiating a new contract since 2008, well before our company filed for bankruptcy in 2011. We requested a release from the National Mediation Board (NMB) in 2009. We never received a response to that request. APFA’s strike in 1993 – twenty years ago – was the last release of our work group. The US Airways Flight Attendants spent even longer in their last round of negotiations – the West was negotiating for 12 years. The Railway Labor Act is not working and there is no quick fix. We can and will fight to change things, but for now we must protect ourselves.

Under the current circumstances, a union could spend years and years trying to negotiate a contract if it didn’t have a backstop that forced management to an agreement. In addition to providing long overdue improvements to our compensation, binding arbitration will allow our companies to complete the merger quickly, which, in turn, will allow Flight Attendants to realize the merger’s benefits sooner.

APFA agreed to expedited negotiations and the binding arbitration backstop after five days of intensely secret negotiations in Phoenix. The purpose is to achieve a Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) that is “market-based in the aggregate.” Achieving a JCBA as quickly as possible will benefit all Flight Attendants at the new American. We agreed to the backstop because we knew all too well the pain Flight Attendants were suffering at other airlines because they had no path to a fair contract after bankruptcy and no plan to combine workforces following mergers. Most of our colleagues across the industry had taken 20 percent cuts and, for some, negotiations for a joint contract still drag on today.

Let me be clear: APFA will be working toward an industry-leading contract. APFA helped create the biggest and best airline in the world and our compensation must reflect that. The Conditional Labor Agreement assures that if we wind up in arbitration, we will be guaranteed an industry contract. That is our floor, our baseline for negotiations, and our insurance that we will not be lagging behind the Flight Attendants at other large carriers indefinitely and helplessly. Further, we have agreement that if the United Flight Attendants achieve a better contract in their negotiations, we will open our contract for the purpose of adding that value. The United/Continental merger closed in May 2012 but the Flight Attendants have yet to successfully negotiate a JCBA and their unification under a single contract. This is exactly the situation we are trying to avoid.

Right now, APFA is hard at work preparing for the day that we win the antitrust suit, emerge victorious, and the new American finally arrives. It is APFA’s intention to take the best of both contracts and improve on what we each have individually. Our new negotiating team is working diligently. With the agreements we have in place, APFA will be ready to capitalize on the new American’s success immediately.

Q: How will the seniority of the US Airways and American Flight Attendants be integrated?

A: With regard to the seniority integration for AFA and APFA members, our seniority lists will be integrated based on date of occupational seniority (which is called “date of hire” at US Airways). The only adjustment will be to ensure that American Flight Attendants get credit for initial training – as US Airways Flight Attendants do. APFA has done an enormous amount of research to determine the average number of days American Airlines Flight Attendants spent in training. We will be coming up with a number of days to adjust the seniority of American Flight Attendants to put them on an even footing with US Airways Flight Attendants. No changes will be made to APFA members’ seniority in relation to each other – what is referred to as “relative seniority.”

Q: Why am I hearing that APFA refuses to accept mailed-in dues payments from Flight Attendants?

A: Occasionally, a member sends the union a check and asks that the payment be credited to a particular dues period. In accordance with APFA’s long-standing practice and consistent with standard accounting procedures, we apply dues payments received directly from members to the oldest dues balance – whether for active or inactive status dues. (The only exception to this would be if the Flight Attendant were facing termination for non-payment of active-status dues.) If a Flight Attendant indicates that s/he wants the payment credited to a particular dues period, we explain our long-standing practice and return the check to the member. APFA does not want to cash a member’s check against her/his wishes. Also, we explain to the Flight Attendant that s/he should not submit checks to APFA if s/he does not wish the payment to be applied to his/her oldest balance.

APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

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APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Events

Currently, no scheduled events...

APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Events

Currently, no scheduled events...

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