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Friday, October 9, 2015
Dear APFA Flight Attendant,
Our Union is at a critical moment. This week, the APFA Board of Directors decided we needed to move in a new direction. This change will be challenging, but it is necessary. It is time to move forward and confront an employer who does not yet recognize our contributions to the new American Airlines’ stunning financial success.
While the resignation of a national officer is a big change, our Union is bigger than any one person. Our Union is the collective effort, experience, and passion of 25,000 Flight Attendants.
As I serve as National President, I am committed to bringing my own vision and style to the office for the remaining months. There are critical issues facing our Union and we cannot simply tread water. While working with the Board of Directors and following our Constitution, we will be moving APFA in a different direction.
The first priority is uniting the membership. We cannot succeed if we remain divided. Management rejoices in our division. The first way to unite our workforce is by earning back your confidence in APFA’s commitment to fight back whenever necessary. We will face our own critical and immediate challenges in an open and transparent way.
Helping me will be our new National Vice President Rick Knuth, an LUS Flight Attendant and labor attorney. Rick brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his new position. His background with LUS will be tremendously valuable at APFA headquarters. I am confident that together with National Secretary Jeff Pharr, National Treasurer Greg Gunter and the talented and dedicated group of representatives at APFA Headquarters we will make this transition smooth and prevent anything from falling through the cracks.
As National President, I am going forward today with an aggressive and tough, yet professional posture in order to tackle our problems. I admit that I do not have a close working relationship with the senior executives at AA. While that might initially limit our access, it will also provide an opportunity to reboot the way APFA deals with the company.
Difficulties with implementation, particularly on the LUS side, are outrageous. We have heard the excuses, and they are unconvincing. Now is the time for action. Working with the National Vice President Rick Knuth, I intend to hold Management’s feet to the fire until our issues are resolved. Watch our actions – not just our words.
The profits our industry is seeing are unprecedented, yet the Company maintains profit sharing for their own Management colleagues but not front line employees. That is the height of disrespect! Airlines have proven that they can make billions with extra charges and fees and low fuel prices. They don’t need to keep taking from the pockets of their employees. They need to start sharing those billions with the workers who have stuck with them during the hard years.
One thing is for sure: the status quo is unacceptable. My first order of business is to announce an action task force to pursue additional compensation before the New Year. The task force will examine different courses of action and report back to me and the membership in 15 days.
Finally, I begin my first week on the job where I must – speaking with and listening to you the members. In the coming weeks, I will travel to each base in the system. I will be at my first base Monday morning at the DFW Terminal C operations at 0700. I am committed to listening to the membership – all 25,000 Flight Attendants. I do not want to concentrate solely on the negative, but what is working and also what changes you would like to see.
In addition, because transparency and communication must be the foundations of our Union I will hear your voices in all ways – surveys, e-mails, telephone town halls – and continuously get feedback from the whole group, not just the loudest. I want to know the concerns and the priorities of the entire membership and I WILL act on those priorities because the times demand action.
APFA National President
Miami Flight Attendant