Representing the Flight Attendants
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Representing the Flight Attendants of American Airlines

12.01.15 – (LAA/LUS) – Important Changes to APFA Election Balloting


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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

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Important Changes to APFA Election Balloting – LAA/LUS

Due to a potentially landmark settlement between the Allied Pilots Association (APA) and the US Department of Labor (DOL), on November 30, 2015, the APFA Board of Directors made two important changes to APFA’s internet and telephone (electronic) balloting process for ALL upcoming elections:

  1. Members will no longer be able to change votes. In all upcoming elections, members will only have one opportunity to vote and that ballot cannot be changed later. 
  2. Only members in good standing will be allowed to cast a ballot. Members in bad standing must become dues-eligible no later than the fifth day before the close of the balloting period in order to vote in that election. 

 

To read the Board of Directors resolution, click here

Why is APFA Making This Change Now?

Last year, the DOL brought a lawsuit against the APA challenging the electronic balloting system the Union used for Officer elections. Negotiations between APA and DOL stretched for nearly a year. Today, it is clear that the DOL believes that an electronic balloting system will violate the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) – which governs all Union Officer elections – if it allows voters to change their votes or if it allows ineligible voters to cast a ballot.  Here’s why.

All electronic balloting must satisfy the LMRDA’s requirement of secrecy, that is, the vote cannot be connected to the voter. The DOL believes that in order for a voter to change his or her vote, an electronic balloting system must maintain a connection between the voter and the ballot cast. Similarly, in order for an electronic balloting system to void the ballot of a voter who is determined to be ineligible, a connection between voter and vote would need to be maintained. Therefore, according to the DOL, an electronic balloting system that includes those features violates the LMRDA’s secrecy requirement.

Can APFA Continue Balloting the Way We Always Have?

No. BallotPoint, APFA’s longtime electronic balloting vendor, is the same vendor APA used in the elections challenged in the lawsuit.  To address the DOL’s concerns, BallotPoint already has changed its process for all electronic balloting to a new system called “One Vote, No Void.”  APFA was unable to find an electronic balloting vendor that conducts elections at a major carrier and uses the same system APFA used. But even if there were a vendor that would be willing to redesign its system to match APFA’s former one, that could not be accomplished before the ballots go out on December 10. More important, it is clear that the DOL would find that ANY electronic balloting system that allows votes to be changed or voided violates the LMRDA. Therefore, unless APFA eliminates members’ ability to change their vote or to cast a ballot until they are in good standing, the DOL would likely uphold a challenge to the process and seek to overturn the election results. 

Is There a Reason This Change Is Being Made Now, So Close to the Mailing of the Ballots?

Yes. It was not until the DOL/APA settlement that the need for the change became clear. 

Does This Change Comply with the APFA Constitution? 

Yes. The APFA Board of Directors has made the necessary changes to the APFA Policy Manual in compliance with the APFA Constitution. To see those Policy Manual changes, click here.

Can Previous APFA Elections be Challenged Due to this Change?

No. This change and the DOL’s interpretation of the LMRDA will apply only to the current and future elections. They do not affect previous elections. It is too late to challenge those elections.

Cindy Horan 
APFA National Ballot Committee Chair

ballot@apfa.org

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