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3.03.16 – (LAA) – Vacation Bidding Reminder and Tips/Prefunding Grievance Denied

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APFA Special Hotline

Thursday, March 3, 2016

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  • Vacation Bidding Reminder and Tips – LAA
  • Prefunding Grievance Denied – LAA

Vacation Bidding Reminder and Tips – LAA

As a reminder Primary Vacation Bidding closes: Monday, March 7, 2016 at 0800 CT
Did you accrue 33 days and wondering what options you have for bidding and splitting your vacation? 

Here are your options: 

  • Bid AB or CD (14 day) Selected Vacation (VC).  19 days remain for Unselected Vacation (VX) 
  • Bid ABC or BCD (21 day) Selected Vacation (VC).  12 days remain for Unselected Vacation (VX) 
  • Bid ABCD (28 day) Selected Vacation (VC).  5 days remain for Unselected Vacation (VX) 
  • Bid month only, with no weekly qualifiers (33 day) Selected Vacation (VC).  Zero days remain for Unselected Vacation (VX).  All 33 days would be awarded consecutively and carry into the next month.

Flight Attendants with less than 33 days can also split their vacation provided they have accrued at least 19 days of vacation.  The unselected vacation would be bid with remaining days depending on whether the selected vacation award is two weeks or three weeks.  
If you accrued less than 7 days you must bid in the Primary (Selected) Vacation bidding round, although your vacation will not be awarded until all FAs who accrued 7 days or more have been awarded their vacation in the primary and secondary (Unselected) Vacation bidding periods.
Be sure to back yourself up with sufficient bids in your ballot.  For example, if you are trying to get vacation time in a particular month and bid ABC and/or BCD you should consider backing up those bids with AB and/or CD in the event you are not senior enough to hold the 3 week slots but are senior enough to hold the 2 week slots.  

Prefunding Grievance Denied – LAA

The much-anticipated arbitration decision regarding the company’s VEBA prefunding has finally been published. Unfortunately, the decision does not favor the Flight Attendants. Disappointment is an understatement. 

As legacy American Flight Attendants know, APFA and the Company established a Voluntary Employee’s Beneficiary Association (VEBA) in 2001. The VEBA was created to help support the cost of medical benefits for Flight Attendants after retirement. The VEBA is a trust and it was created for the sacred purpose of caring for Flight Attendants after they left the workforce. For ten (10) years, Flight Attendants and the company made contributions to the trust. 

In 2011, American entered bankruptcy. Using the blunt edge of the Chapter 11 machete, the Company hacked away twenty (20) percent of Flight Attendants’ compensation. In a side letter to the bankruptcy contract, the Company specifically agreed to refund the VEBA prefunding contributions if it successfully completed the 1114 process. (Section 1114 of the Bankruptcy Code lays out the process for terminating health benefits for current retirees.)

Due to the overwhelming commercial success of the merger inside bankruptcy, the Company did not pursue the 1114 process. Instead, they pursued a different path to terminate retiree health benefits, which was rejected by the judge. As a result, the company continues to pay out retiree health benefits. 

APFA argued that since the 1114 process was not pursued, the Company owed its prefunding contributions (approximately $49 million) to the Flight Attendants. The Arbitrator took a very narrow view of the case. He decided that since the Company pursued a different strategy, which was not “successful” because the company is still responsible for paying retiree health benefits, the spirit of the agreement was met. 


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