Monday, March 11, 2019
Hello Miami! This is your brief for the month of March. We have several issues to address. In the next few weeks we are going to put out a Brief devoted solely to Pay Protection. Be on the lookout for it. We hope you will print it and carry it with you as it is the topic we receive the most questions about. Please continue to call us with your comments and concerns. As always, we are available on evenings and weekends.
New Miami Vice President
Frank Gentry was recently elected to be our new Vice President for a two-year term beginning April 1st. Many of you may have spoken to Frank as he has been a full-time rep working for our team in Miami.
Melinda decided to “hang up her hat” on full time union work but you will still see her around filling in and doing various other things for the team. We will all miss Melinda!
We are changing Josh Bounds’ title to TTS/ROTA Specialist now that we are past the initial FOI changes. Hopefully, many of you have been able to speak with Josh. He is extremely knowledgeable with the new systems; TTS, ETB, and ROTA/ROTD.
Due to Miami’s size, complex new systems, and call volume, we must send all system-related issues to Josh. He is trained to handle these issues. While we understand that many of you have certain reps that you prefer to work with, we must utilize our reps’ specialties appropriately. His phone number is 214.914.5923 and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. He welcomes your challenges, so feel free to reach out to Josh.
Retirement Seminar—March 19th
We have scheduled a retirement seminar for March 19th. APFA Retirement Specialists from headquarters will come to discuss retirement options for anyone considering retirement, as well as those who should be planning their futures. After the APFA presentation, the American Airlines Credit Union will have a presentation by a Financial Planner. Their services are free to assist you in retirement and financial planning.
If you have not attended one of our retirement seminars, they are valuable for those who are looking to retire in two months, two years, or twenty years. The specialists provide information for anyone and everyone on their path to their retirement. In one way or another, we are all on the path!
It’s never too early to plan for your future! The seminar will be held in the 4th floor Auditorium (by the old Credit Union) from 1100-1500.
PBS Mock Bidding
The mock bidding participation percentage for the first two rounds in Miami was in the 60% range. This percentage is low and does not reflect your true award for once we go live. There is ample assistance available to you. There are two more rounds to participate in.
- 1st Mock Bid Opens: 10 MAR, 1200 CT
- 1st Mock Bid Closes: 15 MAR, 1200 CT
- Results Posted: 18 MAR, 1200 CT
- 2nd Mock Bid Opens: 19 MAR, 1200 CT
- 2nd Mock Bid Closes: 24 MAR, 1200 CT
- Results Posted: 27 MAR, 1200 CT
We strongly encourage you to take advantage of every resource available to you during our transition to PBS. Miami is being very proactive, and we are lucky to have the reps and PBS Specialists at our disposal. Please use them!
Soon after we transition to PBS we expect the company will provide fewer Specialists in operations. The time is now to get your information!
Annual Vacation Bidding, Secondary Round
The 2019-2020 Primary Vacation Bid has been awarded. You may view your Primary award in the Vacation Management System (VMS) in Crew Portal or in your HI-10. The Secondary Bid is now open. To reach your ballot:
faportal.aa.com > Monthly Bids > Non PBS Base > Vacation > Annual > Bidding Ballots
The Secondary Vacation Bid process allows you to bid for any remaining vacations days not awarded in the Primary Bid period and/or any carry forward days. In the Secondary Bid period, you will only be awarded from the dates available on the matrix for Miami which is available in the VMS in Crew Portal. You will be awarded at your seniority until all your days are exhausted. If the system is unable to satisfy all your preferences, you will be assigned after all other Secondary bids are awarded.
When creating your Secondary Vacation Bid, remember the following guidelines:
- If you were awarded a block of 1, 2, or 3 vacation days from the Primary bid, you should not bid any additional 1, 2, or 3-day blocks in the secondary bid, unless you only have 3 or less days remaining to bid.
- You may bid for filler days in the secondary bid if you were not awarded your maximum allowable filler days in the Primary Bid.
- Vacation days not awarded in the Secondary award, due to incorrect or insufficient bids, will be assigned.
- All days awarded or assigned will be available for monthly rebid in the VMS.
- You can maximize the value of your vacation days by bidding for a period that occurs after your annual pay rate increase.
- Secondary Bid Opens: 06 MAR, 1200 CT
- Secondary Bid Closes: 13 MAR, 1200 CT
- Final Results Posted: 20 MAR, 1200 CT
Vacation Extension (VEX) Days
If you have seven or more consecutive vacation days, you can request up to four VEX days per vacation block. There are no blackout dates for VEX dates and they are not seniority driven.
VEX days may be placed before, after, or split in any combination on either side of a vacation period. They may also be placed in the bid month prior to your vacation or carry into the next bid month. VEX day requests must be entered two months prior to the bid month that you would like the VEX days to be placed or two months prior to the bid month in which your vacation starts, whichever is earlier.
VEX days are unpaid and uncredited; they are used as a placeholder to prevent PBS from assigning you a sequence or a reserve day. Once the PBS award is final they become regular days off and you may pick up a trip on those days, if desired.
You may have no more than for VEX days per bid month, even if you have separate seven day, or more, vacation blocks in the month.
VEX day requests will be done through the Vacation Management System (VMS) and will not be available until after the Secondary Bid vacation awards.
Vacation trades will be done through ETB in Crew Portal the same as trip trades and drops. Trading vacation will be available once the Secondary Bid is awarded.
AFLAC Supplemental Insurance
The deadline to sign up for AFLAC benefits is fast approaching and this is the only year it is guarantee issue.
Call 1-877-453-2385 or follow this link to register online today.
The APFA is proud to be offering the following benefits from Aflac®
- 24 Hour Accident Insurance
- Short Term Disability
- Critical Illness
- Hospital Indemnity
Pay Protection, Double Dipping
If you have a trip with pay protection in place, you may “double dip” and fly over it to get paid for both. The time that you fly must only come from TTS. If you fly a trip from ETB, it will negate the pay protection.
At this time, we are in dispute with the Company about whether you can fly ETB after the footprint of the pay protected trip, or if you must wait until the entire calendar day of the trip is over. Until this dispute is resolved, any trip picked up through ETB must originate in the next calendar day after the pay protected trip to ensure pay for both the pay protection and the new trip.
There have been many complaints that Flight Attendants are receiving multiple unwanted solicitations from other Flight Attendants asking if they want to drop their premium trips or trade for something very undesirable. Please use discretion in these sorts of solicitations. Most people, if dropping a premium trip, will post it on ETB. Also, it’s not usually likely that a premium trip will trade with a multi-leg 4-day. If someone is looking for that kind of trade, they will find you.
If you are one of those being disturbed, remember that on your schedule in Crew Portal you can click on the day (not the trip) on the calendar, select “Not Accepting Trade Requests” and you will not receive any transaction requests for that trip.
We have seen an alarming increase in the number of Flight Attendants calling Fight Service to gates for minor disputes and going into the office reporting crew members for various infractions or accusations. Not only does this cause further friction and more problems for everyone involved, Flight Service must launch investigations, withhold witnesses, take written statements, and possibly issue discipline. Sometimes the accuser also ends up disciplined.
There is a better way to approach conflict without turning to management on your own co-workers. Our goal should never be to see someone disciplined for a dispute. We are a team and we need to support each other. So, APFA and APA (Pilots) developed an internal program long ago called Professional Standards to deal with these issues outside of management.
What exactly is Professional Standards?
The APFA Professional Standards program is a voluntary, confidential peer-to-peer service offering members the opportunity to resolve conflicts or concerns with co-workers without management involvement. The only way this program works is if all parties cooperate. The goal is conflict resolution, not discipline.
There is no such thing as a perfect trip, a perfect day, a perfect relationship, or a perfect person. Perception is the key. When it comes to crew members, what was a perfectly satisfactory trip to one may have been a living nightmare to the one on the other side of the cart or the cockpit door. Too often, a bad trip can be attributed to conflict with our colleagues.
Conflict occurs when our expectations of others, or our job performance goals and objectives aren’t shared. We always hope our differences will be few but should conflicts arise Professional Standards can discuss them openly and resolve them quickly, without Company intervention.
The APFA Professional Standards Representatives in Miami are available to facilitate conflict resolution by reflecting your concerns before problems deteriorate into unmanageable turmoil on the airplane – or escalate into action by the Company.
Our goals are to:
- Support and enhance the standing of the Flight Attendant profession
- Promote professionalism and restore professional conduct
- Ensure a safe working environment
- Provide the opportunity to disclose and effectively resolve problems in a voluntarily confidential, though not anonymous, manner
- Develop and enhance conflict resolution skills among members through a facilitative conflict resolution process
Who we are and what we do:
- Monitor the telephone voicemails designated for Miami reps
- Gather information
- Remain objective and neutral
- Act as a facilitator to understand the Flight Attendant’s goals and/or intentions
- Identify options to meet the caller’s needs
- Collaborate in developing an action plan to address the interests of all parties
APFA encourages the use of Professional Standards rather than engaging the formal involvement of the Company. By utilizing Professional Standards, it offers the involved parties’ confidentiality and the ability to maintain control of the outcome of a conflict. Often the accuser in a conflict ends up with discipline themselves when disputes go into the office.
Types of concerns handled:
- Personality and communication differences
- Conflicting work/personal habits
- Unprofessional or unethical workplace behavior
Types of concerns NOT handled:
- Issues actively being addressed by the Company (if you have already gone into the office) or federal regulations
- Training or skills deficiencies
- Contractual issues
- APFA internal political matters
- Trip trade posting errors on ETB
The APFA Professional Standards program encourages our members to act with integrity, treat others with honesty, and take responsibility for their own ethical behavior. By promoting this Standard of Conduct, we ensure fair treatment for all our members in the workplace.
Our Professional Standards Representatives are available to assist when there is a problem with professional conduct that the parties have been unable to address themselves. Behaving ethically is at the core of professional behavior. Our Professional Standards representatives also work closely with the APA Professional Standards program. If you have an issue with a pilot, contact APFA Professionals Standards. APFA reps will coordinate with APA.
It has been reported that increasingly, Flight Attendants are not returning Professional Standards’ initial or subsequent calls. Please make a return call if you receive one. They are not there to judge you, or the situation. At the end of the day, it’s in your best interest to be a part of the process.
Our Miami reps do a fabulous job, most of it on their own time. We appreciate them!
Stay Late Pay Claims
When you are required to stay late with passengers beyond your debrief period for wheelchairs, strollers, lost passports, slow movers, and any other situation you can think of; you are entitled to $7.00 per hour or fraction thereof.
A perfect example of this is flight #314 MIA-LAX on the 777. Almost 100% of the time this flight arrives at a hardstand, remote location of the airport in LAX and the passengers and crew are bused to the terminal. Between almost 300 passengers and crew, wheelchairs, and usually only 2 buses it often can take well over an hour to get off the aircraft.
While $7.00 an hour may not seem like much, the flight above often generates $14.00 because if it goes over one minute past one hour, you get the whole next hour of pay. A whole month or whole year of Stay Late claims can really add up. Keep note of the time you leave the aircraft and file a Direct Connect.
Ten Hours Minimum Rest
We are going to rerun this topic as we continue to get questions about it.
The new FAA Reauthorization Bill passed in October. This bill included an important rest improvement for Flight Attendants; it increases minimum rest from 8 to 10 hours, release to report. This will apply to both scheduled and actual operations and will not be reducible.
When bills become law, they don’t automatically apply. It takes time for the various agencies involved to write their rules, implementation schedules, etc. The government shutdown has slowed the process for this bill.
Until the FAA forces the Company to implement this rule, it is apparent that they won’t do so voluntarily. Sequences are now being built consistent with the 10-hour rule, but the “8-hour minimum,” “8 behind-the-door,” and “8-plus drive time” rules that we currently work under will be in effect until the FAA implements the bill.
The Company could voluntarily implement this new rule on their own, but it’s clear that they have no desire to do so because of operational costs and our pay protections.
Registered TravelersThe Company does frequent, ongoing audits on travel usage and registered travelers. The Company can ask for documentation at any time and you are required to provide it. Violations can lead to loss of passes or termination. Jetnet is difficult to navigate when attempting to clarify Company policies and procedures. When your status changes, such as single to married, married to divorced, or if you legally adopt or foster a child/children, fill out the proper forms to change your status with the Company. Keep all Life Events paperwork in order.
If you list someone in the categories of D2 and D2P travelers, keep in mind, those travelers should meet the company’s definitions or they are required to be registered as D3. For more information regarding Registered Travelers, please go to JETNET under Travel, and click on Trip Book.
Qualified Pre-Retirement Survivor Annuity (QPSA)
This section only applies to legacy American Airlines Flight Attendants who were actively employed on or after September 12, 2001 and through the end of 2012 when the American Airlines pensions were frozen.
If you die before you begin receiving your retirement benefit, the pension Plan automatically provides a pre-retirement survivor benefit for your spouse through a Qualified Pre-Retirement Survivor Annuity (QPSA) if you were vested and you have been married at least one year at the time of your death. The QPSA provides your surviving spouse a lifetime monthly benefit equal to your portion of a 50% Joint and Survivor Annuity based on your accrued benefit at the time of your death. In lieu of the QPSA benefit automatically provided by the Plan, you may elect an enhanced benefit that provides your spouse with a greater lifetime monthly benefit by filling out the QPSA form and mailing it to Human Resources.
Prior to the 2001 Collective Bargaining Agreement, you would have taken a reduction in your pension benefit to have this option. With the 2001 Agreement that reduction was removed. You now have the same options as before. You may still leave your spouse 662/3%, 75%, or 100%. Why would you leave your spouse less than 100%? Maybe you don’t like him/her 100%. All kidding aside, those were the options in the Plan, only the reduction was removed so the options are still there. The 100% option is certainly the way to go as there is no charge for selecting it. Here is the link to the form:
*The QPSA is only for SPOUSES. No other beneficiary is eligible.
Please do not use Company email to contact your local Miami base reps. Most of us do not monitor our Company email daily and your message get could get buried or sit for a while without being answered. It is also not an appropriate avenue to communicate with the Union. To ensure you receive immediate attention to an email, please use our APFA email addresses. Our emails are at the top of this brief.
APFA Headquarters Phones
Our personal and office phone numbers are always provided to you. We do not have an office at APFA Headquarters in DFW and therefore do not monitor the voicemail boxes there. The messages on those boxes refer you to the proper call back number. We continue to find messages there. Our goal is to get back to you as soon as possible, please help us help you by utilizing the phone numbers provided above.
APFA Hotline and Miami Base Briefs
If you do not already receive the APFA Hotline, subscribe today! It contains valuable and timely information. Visit www.apfa.org and click on the graphic on the right side of the main APFA webpage that reads SUBSCRIBE TO THE HOTLINE!
If you know anyone who isn’t getting the Miami Base Briefs and Blasts from us and would like to stay informed from/about Miami, please have them send us an email with their name and email address and we will get them added to the list!
Until next time, fly safely!
MIA Base PresidentMelinda
MIA Base Vice President