Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Dear Fellow Flight Attendants,
I am hearing from many of you working on the front lines of this health crisis. AA needs to hear from you, too. Our members who have proven their loyalty and professionalism time and again – during this and past crisis events – by sacrificing pay, work rules, pensions, and now their health, keep their airline flying. Please voice your opinions to management.
With all of the new information swirling around regarding all things related to the current Coronavirus crisis, I want to make a couple of things very clear:
There are two options available for you right now from March 17-March 23:
- APFA negotiated a VXLOA, an extended leave option that includes medical benefits. The company initially offered a VXLOA with no medical benefits included. We would not sign it without at least medical for our members. AA initially offered only 6-month and 12-month increments and we negotiated a 9-month option as well. The pilots (APA) have the same medical benefits we do in their extended leave option, with no financial component.
- APFA did not agree with the company on the terms that we know our flight attendants deserve for an early out or VEOP option. I want to be crystal clear that the VEOP being offered now to all AA front-line employee groups is a company offering and NOT negotiated by APFA. We did not come to an agreement because we were too far apart on terms we wanted and what AA offered. So, the company offered this as a company policy.
We are highly offended that the company offered the pilot group financial benefits for two of the pilot options and would not consider the same for our group. This is a slap in the face for our members who are keeping this airline in the air—- and it severely underestimates our relevance during this or any crisis.During this global pandemic, our members’ jobs are inherently at higher risk. The nature of our jobs is to work in closed environments with hundreds of people, all in close proximity of each other. To exacerbate that situation, our company designed the interiors of our aircraft by stuffing in as many seats as possible, with passenger seats encroaching on our jump seat areas, airplane aisles more narrow than ever, and severely reducing space in galley areas, bathrooms, and spaces for passengers to wait in line for restrooms.
In other words, social distancing is not only impossible in our work place, it puts our flight attendants at more risk of contracting COVID-19. We are lucky to maybe get a few inches’ worth of distance, much less 6 feet. In addition, many of our flight attendants are in the high-risk age category, flying at an older age than ever before because their pensions were stripped or frozen during the last crisis and they cannot afford to retire. It is time that we are recognized for our full worth.
I assure you, we will continue to push the company and the U.S. Government for more. We will push Congress to include front line workers in airline bailouts to ensure that money flows to our members. We are seeking:
- Reduced services on our flights to minimize close interaction with passengers
- Hazard pay for those who cannot take leaves and must fly to pay their bills
- Sufficient precautionary supplies for flight attendants
- Expanded protection for members who test positive for COVID-19 or are quarantined
Stay healthy and fly safe – make your voices heard!
In Unity & Solidarity,
Lori L. Bassani
APFA National President