Thursday, December 12, 2019
Dear Fellow APFA Members,
As we enter the Holiday Season, I’d like to update you on a few things:
Last week, we held our third annual Executive Committee meeting at APFA Headquarters. Two Department Chairs were confirmed: Cathy Sharp, National Health Chair and Thomas Houdek, National Safety and Security Chair. As always, the minutes and resolutions will be sent out in a hotline from the Secretary’s Department within 15 days.
The financial health of our Union is important to us and as you know, we are tightening our belts in all areas: on the local base level and on the national headquarters level. Negotiations are not impacted as we have a very healthy negotiations fund. Our goal is to strengthen our general fund while continuing to provide the best service possible for our members. That means there will not be as many people on full time trip removals. However, while there are a few changes in scheduling and operations, every member may utilize any of their local base or national resources for their questions and needs. You can find contact information at www.apfa.org. The website is also a great resource for information.
Boeing opened its doors in early December to airline industry leaders and insiders for a comprehensive inside look on everything that is going on with the 737 MAX. About 40 industry experts attended three comprehensive days of presentations, hands-on simulator operation, tours of both the Renton and Everett Boeing manufacturing facilities, and a question and answer session with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg. As you may recall following the second tragic crash, I urged Doug Parker to ground the MAX to err on the side of caution. I also urged the grounding of the plane in a live interview on CNBC shortly before President Trump grounded the aircraft. I sent a letter to CEO Muilenburg following his testimony before Congress and received a response thanking me for my candid, albeit harsh letter.
Boeing CEO Muilenburg took on a humbled and apologetic tone when addressing our group. He apologized for the impact the crashes had on our Flight Attendant members. I reiterated our top concern is the aircraft must be 100% safe beyond a shadow of a doubt before our crews will fly this aircraft again and carry our passengers, and the planes can’t carry passengers without Flight Attendants. I emphasized that our passengers look to us for reassurance and our trust and confidence in the 737 MAX is broken. His response was he knows we are critical stakeholders in this process and we will be kept in the loop every step of the way. No firm dates were offered for re-entry but AA announced an April date today.
What’s on the horizon?
New Uniforms with a hard March 2020 cutover date. APFA Health and Safety has been involved in each step of the process to provide our members with safe and healthy uniforms. The health of our Flight Attendants is paramount and we deserve the highest of standards when it comes to our uniforms. More than 5,000 of our members have been affected by the last uniform. It is important to note that the new Lands End uniform for our members boasts the highest Oeko-Tex standards in the industry. A nod to both our Union and company for committing to this process and seeing it through.
New Satellite Bases under active review. The quality of life of our members is important and we have been meeting with the company since last March to consider new satellite bases. Positive movement has been made and I believe we can expect an announcement in the near term.
Attendance Arbitration award to be announced in the first quarter of next year. For those of you who attended the arbitration that took place in two sessions this year, I know you will agree that our Union Attorneys presented an excellent case on behalf of our membership against the punitive policy. The award is taking longer than expected, but our team is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to the details. We all look forward to the results.
Cabin Air Safety, a priority for the health of our crews. I testified before Congress earlier this year, spoke at the global cabin air quality conference in London in September, and in October I hand-delivered a letter to CEO Doug Parker. The letter contained requests for AA to consider new technology designed to filter out harmful toxins from bleed air which results in smoke/odor/fume events. I am pleased to announce that our company is taking this ‘ask’ very seriously and researching solutions.
The announcement of National Officer elections earlier this week is the normal end-of-term election cycle. National Officer terms are 4 years. Our administration was elected in a mid-term DOL mandated re-run and we are serving out the remainder of the current term which is 21 months and ends on March 31, 2020.
I’d like to commend all of the candidates for national office who have stepped forward to submit their willingness to serve our Union and our members. More candidate information will be forthcoming soon from APFA’s balloting department.
In Unity and Solidarity,
Lori L. Bassani
APFA National President