Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Update from APFA National President
Hello fellow Flight Attendants,
I want to take this time to address our members regarding all that is happening right now in our lives as a result of the coronavirus crisis. This is a fast moving and quickly changing situation and we must all remain nimble, flexible and alert as we work through these unprecedented times for our families, our work lives and our country.
First, I want to recognize that we are the first responders and on the front lines of this situation. I know that many of you are scared and have concerns and questions on many fronts. I want you to be assured that we continue to do all possible to address our many issues with our company in the context of this crisis. We are working through these issues quickly and the company has been responsive on most issues.
- What about our own precautions on the plane?
- What if I get the virus or am exposed?
- Services on the plane?
- What if I’m scheduled for training?
- Why do I have to work with more than 50 people?
- What if I have compromised health or over 60?
- Should I quarantine in my hotel room?
- What if my kids’ school is cancelled?
Due to the massive cancellations and unprecedented pull down of our flight schedules, we are working to mitigate pay and loss of jobs for our Flight Attendants. Since the first cancellations with mainland China, we negotiated pay protections above our contract, have offered short term leaves, VLOAS and VOLOs to go under forty hours. And while these options are very popular, we know that we will need to go deeper due to the cuts in flying.
We proactively formed a task team in early March comprised of Base Presidents, an Executive Committee member and negotiator to develop a longer term extended leave option for our members. At first, the extended leave option the company offered did not include medical benefits. You have told us that medical is very important to you and we stressed to the Company that our members need medical coverage. We did reach an agreement that includes medical and related benefits paid at active rates. That means, if you take an extended leave for any of the durations: 6-9-12 months, you pay the employee’s portion of medical as you do today to keep your benefits intact.
Main points include:
- Unpaid leave for duration
- By seniority by Base
- Opens March 17/ closes March 23
- VC can be deferred or paid out
- Will accrue occupational seniority and longevity for pay and VC purposes but will not accrue SK or VC
- Company may cancel or reduce leave based on operational necessity with 60 days notice
There will be more details in future communications. I understand that other groups at AA will be adopting the same extended leave terms for their work groups.
We have also been in talks with the Company to realize a VEOP, or early out, for those of our members who would like to retire early or contemplate leaving under the current circumstances. Unfortunately, we were very far apart with what we wanted and the Company informed me last night they intend to make the VEOP a company-wide policy for all front line workers. We are very disappointed that the company did not offer additional benefits to our Flight Attendants for the VEOP, though we presented many creative options. The terms of the Company VEOP (early out) will be the same for everyone with the exception of the pilot group. I have asked for an explanation to our members, the reasons for the differences. The basics of the Company VEOP (early out) is:
- 15 years seniority and in active status
- 2 years of medical benefits at active rates
- Travel benefits per company policy
- More details will be released by AA
- Details to follow
I have a few more updates for you:
New Hire classes have been postponed, service and equipment trainings have been cancelled and the company is working with the FAA regards to CQ training. We have postponed our negotiations sessions for next week and we are also transitioning the new National Officers who will assume office as of April 1.
Please know that things have been changing sometimes by the hour and I want to commend all of our APFA leaders and reps both on the local and national levels for stepping up to the task. And it’s equally important for management to work closely with us to address our concerns and be open minded to new ideas as we continue to do all we can to protect your health, jobs and your livelihood.
Be patient while we work through these most challenging of times in our Industry and in our Country.
Stay healthy and fly safe.
In Unity and Solidarity,
Lori L. Bassani
APFA National President