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FRH – 2.11.15

APFA Special Hotline

FACT Rep Update –
Flight Attendant Communications Team

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Dear APFA Fact Rep,

Flight Attendants across the system are expressing their frustration with the pace of our contract’s implementation. Since the Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed just over one month ago, I have spoken with numerous APFA members who are skeptical that key provisions will be put in place as quickly as possible. Let me just say that I completely understand and, in fact, I share your concerns. All of us – LAA and LUS – have experienced implementation problems in the past. But as frustrating and as exasperating as it is, we must face the reality that changes of this magnitude cannot happen all at once. This is true with every contract and even more so with all the changes contained in the JCBA. I have to remind myself every day to try to be understanding of the challenges we are facing.
 
I have negotiated numerous contracts over the years and each one of them has taken significant time to implement. Prior to the JCBA, the two LAA contracts we negotiated were concessionary and APFA did everything it could to slow-walk the implementation. Our joint contract, on the other hand, provides huge improvements for everyone, so we’re doing the opposite: we are pushing and pressuring the company to move as quickly as possible. But with every push, we are reminded of the enormity of the task we just completed. We combined two very different contracts to make something completely new for 25,000 Flight Attendants. With so much changing for so many, we are really in uncharted territory. Making all the necessary changes is going to take some time.
 
For point of reference, look at United/Continental. It has been almost five years since their merger and they still don’t have a joint contract. In twelve months, we negotiated a contract with the highest pay rates and the best work rules in the industry. Although the pace may seem aggravating, it is actually record-setting.
 
To get a sense of just how complicated implementation is, take a look at the Implementation Chart posted on the APFA website at www.apfa.org/jcba. There, you will see that while some provisions have already been put in place, others will take up to five months. Many others will not go into effect until January 1, 2016. Still others are on hold until “Flight Attendant Operational Integration” (FOI) – the point at which the LAA and LUS workgroups will be fully combined. Finally, certain changes will occur “as soon as practicable.” These complex contractual items require programming changes that depend on AA’s Information Technology (IT) Department. That department is working with very outdated, and borderline antiquated LAA software; the legacy of past management teams. At this point, I believe they are working diligently and have devoted the maximum available resources to work on their systems. If that changes, I will be all over the company, applying pressure until the job is done.
 
In addition to the company’s IT challenges, APFA has to compete for the attention of a management team that is immersed in turning American into a single carrier. The same people that we need to implement our contract are trying to achieve operational integration, merge the scheduling systems, implement the pilots’ contract, merge the reservation systems and the frequent flyer programs, and on and on. We hear the litany every day. As you can imagine, though, we are not quietly waiting our turn. We are constantly pushing. As I remind the company daily, we were the first group to put a joint contract in place and we should be the first to get it implemented. It’s as simple as that.
 
As frustrating as it can be, we cannot forget that our new contract is the product of an extraordinary turn-of-events. Just three years ago, American was in the early stages of bankruptcy and was planning to slash the LAA contract by 20 percent, and US Airways needed a merger partner to succeed. With the unwavering support of our members, APFA forced the merger of American and US Airways. Without the merger, we would be two struggling airlines unable to compete with United and Delta. Instead, we are the biggest airline in the world and we have already seen that reflected in our paychecks. Our unity and collective hard work has put us in the best position possible. I especially want to thank APFA’s elected and appointed leaders, the Joint Negotiating Committee, and all the representatives at headquarters who worked tirelessly to achieve the merger, negotiate the contract, and now are dedicated to making sure implementation is done to the letter. They are holding management’s feet to the fire and I have confidence that they will get the job done as fast as possible.
 
APFA will continue to protect and advance the interests of the Flight Attendants of American Airlines. I have no doubt about that. For now, all 25,000 of us must continue to work together as the face of the new American.

In Unity,
Laura Glading
APFA President

APFA Headquarters
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Phone: (817) 540-0108

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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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