Representing the Flight Attendants
of American Airlines

Representing the Flight Attendants of American Airlines

10.03.14b – (LAA/LUS) T/A Language, Ebola Update, New Hire/General T/A Q&As, Cabo, Low-Time Flyers

 
APFA Hotline

 

APFA Hotline – T/A Language, Ebola Update, New Hire/General T/A Q&As, Cabo, Low-Time Flyers

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LAA and LUS
Tentative Agreement (T/A) Language negotiate@apfa.org

APFA is pleased to present you with the comprehensive draft language of the Tentative Agreement available for download for your review. Having complete and detailed language will help guide you through all of the new provisions in the Agreement.

We are currently working with the Company on the timeline of implementation. Our goal in preparing this timeline is to ensure that implementation of the new pay rates and pay-related provisions are implemented as soon possible. The new pay rates will be in effect December 2nd. Many of the scheduling and related sections will not be in place for a period of time. As an example, the LAA Flight Attendant will not be under PBS or the 40-hour minimum pay and credit scheduling requirement, and the LUS Flight Attendant will not have a rotating Reserve system for some period of time. These provisions require a considerable amount of programming and will not be implemented in the near future.

You will see that many of the provisions of the agreement will have a staggered implementation. The LUS Flight Attendant will not move to the new medical/dental plan until January 1, 2016. Some provisions will be implemented sooner than others.

Please look for more detailed information early next week.

LAA and LUS
T/A Balloting – ballot@apfa.org

T/A ratification balloting will begin on October 10, and the voting period will be 30 days. Members can cast their votes via the internet or by telephone. A ballot packet with voting instructions will be sent to all APFA members and to all LUS Flight Attendants at the last home address on file with APFA. If you need to update your address, please contact the Membership Department by emailing membership@apfa.org. Votes will be counted on November 9, 2014.

If you are not an APFA member, to have your vote counted you must become a member no later than the 5th day prior to the end of the balloting period — by the close of business on November 4. We encourage you to sign up now, by clicking here.

Also, if you are a member in bad standing (more than 60 days in dues arrears), to be eligible to vote you must arrange to be in good standing by the close of business on November 4. To do that, contact the APFA Dues Department by emailing dues2@apfa.org.

If you have returned from an unpaid status and owe dues that accrued while you were in that status before June 18, 2014, and you are no more than 60 days in arrears for active status dues, you can become a member in good standing by agreeing to a payment plan, signing an APFA promissory note for all back inactive status dues and making the first payment by the close of business on October 10, 2014. To do that, contact the APFA Dues Department by emailing dues2@apfa.org. If you have an active status balance that is more than 60 days old, you also have to pay that in full in order to have your vote counted.

Once the ballot packets are mailed, we will post Q&As on the balloting process. In the meantime, you can send any questions to APFA’s National Ballot Committee at ballot@apfa.org.

LAA and LUS
Ebola – health@apfa.org

The state of Texas said Thursday that Thomas Eric Duncan is the first person in the U.S. diagnosed with Ebola. Health officials are finding those with whom he came in contact and monitoring symptoms. Duncan contracted the disease around September 15th and travelled to the US on United via IAD and DFW on the 19th and 20th. At that time, he apparently showed no symptoms but on the 24th he became ill and on the 28th was admitted to the hospital in Dallas.

Here are the key things to remember:

* The disease is not transmitted through the air only by direct contact with bodily fluids of a victim,
* It takes from 2 to 21 days for the disease to incubate and for symptoms to appear, and
* It is only after the symptoms appear that the disease can be transmitted.

Government agencies are stepping up the screening of passengers from those areas with high infection rates. Health officials are confident that they will be able to fully contain the spread of the disease the Dallas and the US.

American and APFA are in regular contact with government agencies involved with fighting and containing the disease and will keep you apprised of any important developments.
Right now, Flight Attendants are encouraged to review procedures in their Flight Attendant Manuals (medical section). LUS Flight Attendants should refer to the First Aid section.

Benefits Sign-Up / Medical Clearance – health@apfa.org
LUS
Benefits Sign-up – The LUS 2015 Benefits Enrollment period will be 10/20/14-10/31/14. For more information go to my.aa.com.
LAA
Benefits Sign-Up – The LAA 2015 Benefits Enrollment period will be 11/3/14-11/14/14. For more information go to my.aa.com.
Medical Clearance – We receive many calls regarding clearing medical in the Health and IOD Department. Because of our occupation we are required to clear through AA medical for certain conditions.
AA medical policy states that you must clear through AA Call a Nurse if you have experienced:

  • Hospitalization (admitted to the hospital), surgery (in- or outpatient) or emergency room/urgent care visits
  • Medical history that requires a personal medical clearance as previously determined by AA Medical
  • Medications that can affect alertness or mental function, or newly prescribed medications you will continue to use after returning to work
  • Returning from an Injury-on-Duty (IOD)
  • Blocked ears
  • Maternity leave
  • Any condition or treatment relating to absence that affects your ability to perform essential job functions.
  • Your manager/supervisor requests you obtain clearance
  • If you have questions call AA Call a Nurse at 800-555-2373
  • You may also call the Health Department at APFA Headquarters 817-540-0108 Ext. 8301 for Health and 8303 for IODs

 

LAA and LUS
Cabo Cancelations – scheduling@apfa.org

If you have been affected by the Cabo cancelations, please make sure you are familiar with the current MIC procedures. You will be protected for your original line guarantee or adjusted guarantee if you follow the language. Make sure to be on the MU list and to participate in the HISEND round prior to each day of cancelation. If there are no specific trips you are interested in, state, “Plot to protect guarantee,” if you would like to be protected. Assignments resulting from MIC cannot conflict with duty free periods or future assignments but do not have to fit within the original “footprint” of the trip.

Please refer to the On Duty Contract Guide https://www.www.apfa.org/images/contract/ODCG-121713.pdf and the flow charts on the scheduling page at www.apfa.org https://www.www.apfa.org/departmentsmenu/scheduling for a more thorough explanation. At this point, operations are still planned to resume October 18th.

LAA
Low-Time Flyers – contract@apfa.org

It’s time to make sure you are on track to accrue your eligible vacation and sick time for 2011. In order to actually accrue vacation and sick time for the months that are eligible to accrue, you must have been paid an average of 35 hours per eligible month.

If you are active all 12 months, your threshold is 420 hours. If you fail to meet your threshold you will receive NO vacation or sick accrual for the year.

Each year some Flight Attendants miss their threshold, which could have been met if they had simply flown an additional trip or two. In some cases this can put the Flight Attendant into an overpayment situation if they used PVDs throughout the year. Review your HISK to ensure you are on track to accrue, and if not, plan now to ensure you meet your threshold.

The year to date summary for vacation and sick accrual appear at the bottom of your HISK. If you have any questions, please contact contract@apfa.org

LAA and LUS
Professional Standards – eap@apfa.org

APFA Professional Standards is a voluntary and confidential service that provides you the opportunity to resolve co-worker conflicts without management involvement. APFA encourages the use of Professional Standards instead of going to the Company.

The program is:

  • A Facilitative Conflict Resolution Process
  • Voluntary & Confidential, not anonymous
  • Effective Assistance When There is no Management Involvement

Type of concerns handled:

  • Personality & Communication Differences
  • Conflicting Work/ Personal Habits
  • Unprofessional Workplace Behavior

To discuss your Professional Standards concerns make a confidential call to your APFA EAP program at 817-540-8701 ext. 8701 or email us at eap@apfa.org.

LAA and LUS
New Hire T/A Q&As
Q: Under the new T/A, can I be furloughed?
A: Scheduling efficiencies, including but not limited to PBS, will result in no furloughs of any FAs employed as of the ratification date. Protection ends 12 months after full implementation of PBS.

Q: I’m a New Hire and have only been flying for 3 months. Can I vote?
A: Yes! All APFA members have a voice from day one on the property. Ballots will be mailed on October 10, 2014. If you think your address may have changed since you filled out your membership card, please contact membership@apfa.org to update your info.

More T/A Q&As
Q: The Negotiations Protocol Agreement says that if the T/A is not ratified by the membership, the parties will use mediation before going to arbitration. Some FAs think we should vote the T/A down and then get a better deal in mediation – without ever having to go to binding arbitration. What are the facts about mediation?
A: If this Tentative Agreement gets voted down, the Negotiations Protocol Agreement mandates that the outstanding disputes get sent to binding arbitration. There will not be another ongoing round of negotiations if this T/A is rejected. The mediation that follows a “no” vote, if any takes place, will focus on narrowing down the issues we will decide in arbitration.

To put the situation in context, our T/A is worth about $193 million more annually than the current value of the two contracts (LUS and LAA) combined. “Market rate” is approximately $111 million annually above the current combined value. Since “market rate” is the standard for arbitration, any agreement we reach in arbitration will likely be approximately $82 million annually below the value of this T/A.
Simply put, this is not like traditional Section 6 negotiations where an agreement gets voted down and eventually the parties get back to the table, which typically results in FAs losing tens of millions dollars.
The Negotiations Protocol Agreement says, “Prior to arbitration, the parties shall use mediation.” That provision was put into the agreement based on the idea that if the union and the company were not able to reach an agreement by the end of the 150 days of negotiations, we could try a last ditch effort to bridge the gap. The reality is, we have been in negotiations for 150 days and all during that time they have been overseen by Jim McKenzie, a mediator selected by the parties and appointed by the National Mediation Board.

We have no doubt that the mediator made every effort and used all his experience and skill to move the parties to an agreement. The end result is a T/A that is worth at least $82 million a year above the market rate, the standard the arbitrators cannot exceed.
The following reasons make it highly unlikely that this mediator or any other mediator could convince the company to put more money on the table following the rejection of a T/A:

• The company has stated very clearly and repeatedly that the T/A is its final offer and that we will go to arbitration if it is rejected. Management believes that they have exhausted the possibilities of mediated negotiations, and would have little “use” of further mediation prior to arbitration.
• Considering the amount of mediation that has already taken place, any mediation that occurs before arbitration will probably be limited to narrowing the number of issues that would be submitted to arbitration. If the T/A is rejected, the issues in dispute are all economic including wages, healthcare, retirement contributions, etc. Together, the values of each economic component comprise a comprehensive package. None of them can be settled without affecting the overall cost of a JCBA. If the arbitrators improve one component, it will mean the money has to come from other components – and all combined within a mandatory framework of a total value that is $82 million less than what we achieved in the T/A.
• In mediation, the company would have no incentive to put anywhere near $193 million in annual improvements on the table, knowing the worst it could do in arbitration would be $111 million a year beyond the combined value of our current contracts combined. It is no secret that the company does not want to encourage any labor group to reject a first T/A in the hope that a second T/A will be better. With negotiations ongoing at American and other work groups, the company will not want to set a precedent of rewarding “No” votes with better T/As. And for us, if the T/A is rejected, there will not be negotiations for another T/A. Instead, we will have our contract decided in arbitration, and we will lose about $410 million dollars over the life of the contract.
• The company agreed to a T/A that is so much richer than the outcome of an arbitrated contract because the T/A is the product of good faith negotiations and requires ratification by the FAs. The value of these successes and their positive impact on labor relations will be completely lost if the arbitrators dictates the terms of the contract.

Q: What issues will be presented to the arbitrators if the T/A is rejected?
A: If the T/A is rejected, only the economic issues in the contract will go to arbitration.

The Negotiations Protocol Agreement, which was signed by APFA, AFA, and the company and guides the bargaining process, states that “any outstanding dispute” shall be submitted to arbitration. Prior to the last week of negotiations, the company and the JNC had reached tentative agreements on virtually every section of the contract except for the key economic provisions. These include: wages, premium pay, sick accrual, vacation accrual, medical plan, and the 401(k) plan. During the last week of negotiations, the JNC and the company exchanged comprehensive proposals on those subjects. If the company and the JNC had not reached a tentative agreement on those subjects, the T/As previously reached on the non-economic issues would have remained and those six economic subjects would have been the “outstanding disputes” that would have been arbitrated.

However, on September 19, the JNC agreed to the company’s final comprehensive proposal, resulting in the T/A that is being submitted to a vote of the membership. If the T/A is rejected, the parties will be treated as if no T/A was reached in the final week of negotiations. The parties would, in effect, return to the position they would have been in had no T/A been reached on the comprehensive economic proposals. In other words, if the T/A is rejected, all of the T/As reached before that final week would be considered settled and only the economic issues would comprise the outstanding disputes subject to arbitration.

Q: What standard would the arbitrators use in deciding the terms of our new contract?
A: The arbitrators have a floor and a ceiling in terms of the value of the Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement they impose. The ceiling is “market-based in the aggregate” and the floor is “at least equal to the current LUS and LAA contracts.” The focus of the arbitration would be how much the current agreements have to be increased to meet these standards. Each side would identify the amount that it believed fit within those parameters and would present a contract containing the terms on the six key economic items.

The JNC expects that an arbitrated JCBA would be worth no more than $111 million. The T/A is worth approximately $193 million.

Q: Why did we agree to move the LUS FAs from their medical plans to the LAA medical plans?
A: The effort to keep the LUS medical plans was one of the fiercest fights the JNC put up during negotiations. Unfortunately, it was a non-starter for the company and, in our calculations, we had virtually no chance of keeping the LUS plans in binding arbitration.
In light of our prospects in arbitration, we agreed to a T/A that increases the value of our contracts by $193 million and is $82 million above the market rate, which serves as the ceiling in arbitration. With this amount of money, we were able to significantly soften the impact of this transition to the LAA medical plans. Under the T/A:

• The LUS FAs will remain under the LUS medical plans through 2015.
• The LUS FAs will receive a $3,000 stipend shortly after the contract takes effect, in part to help defray the costs of the new medical plans.
In 2016, the first year when LUS FAs will be covered by the LAA plans, the top of scale wage rate will be $54.59, 14.6% higher than current LUS TOS pay.

Q: Why are the LAA FAs continuing to receive a company contribution of up to 9.9% to their 401(k) accounts when the LUS FAs will receive only a 3% company contribution and a company match up to 2.5%?
A: The short answer is that in reaching a Tentative Agreement, the JNC strove to equalize the total economic value going to LAA and LUS FAs. So when one takes the value of the age-based 401(K) formula as applied to LAA and compares it with the enhanced 401(K) as applied to LUS Flight Attendant plus the medical enhancement applied to LUS FAs (continuation of medical for 2015 and transition payment) the amounts come out equal. A more detailed explanation follows.
In the Conditional Labor Agreement reached with US Airways in April 2012 and effective with its merger with American, the company agreed to three different tiers of contributions to make-up some of the benefits that would be lost from the termination of their defined benefit pension plan. From 2013 through 2018, for FAs who were on the LAA seniority list as of December 9, 2013, the effective date of American’s plan of reorganization, the employer contributions would be 5.5%, 6.75% and 9.9% for FAs under age 40, age 40 to 49, and above age 50, respectively. (FAs hired after December 9, 2012, would receive an employer contribution of 3% and an employer match up to 2.5%.) Beginning in 2019 all LAA FAs would receive this contribution and match.

Based on the age demographics of the LAA FAs the average employer contribution is 7.5%. Under the T/A the LUS FAs will have added to their 3% employer contribution, an employer match up to 2.5%.
In addressing this disparity, the JNC also had to consider that the LUS medical plans were substantially richer than the LAA plans. To determine the extent of the disparity we had to compare the value of both the medical plans and the 401(k) at each carrier. When taken together, the value of the LUS FAs’ medical plans and 401(k) contributions were less than LAA FAs’ by approximately 2.5% of the total cost of the current LUS contract.

The JNC was intent on erasing this gap but our task was complicated by the fact that the company was insistent on moving the LUS FAs to the LAA medical plans. Consequently, we had to take two steps to fix the discrepancy. We had to allocate some of the TAs $193m in new value to make-up for the replacement of the LUS medical plans. Also, we had to increase the 401(k) contributions for the LUS FAs.

First, with regard to the change in medical plans, the TA provides that the LUS FAs will continue to be covered by the LUS medical plans through 2015 and that they will receive a $3,000 stipend shortly after the contract takes effect. Second, for the LUS FAs the TA will add to the employer’s 3% contribution, an employer match up to 2.5%.
Keeping in mind that the three tiers of employer contributions for the LAA FAs ends in 2018, the steps we have taken should eliminate over the term of the TA, the disparity between LUS FAs and LAA FA regarding their 401(k) accounts and medical plans.

 

AmericanAirlines + US Airways
“On Our Way”

Leslie Mayo
APFA National Communications Chair

Account


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