Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Significant Changes Impacting Our Flight Attendants
Earlier today, the Company announced significant changes to our airline that will impact our career and lives for the foreseeable future. Today’s announcement spoke of base closures, base downsizing, aircraft staffing reductions, and the closure of the Flight Attendant Bidding Resource Center (FABRC). It is a painful and challenging time for our airline, world, and especially our Flight Attendants. APFA will be here to represent and protect our members as we navigate these changes together.
The Company has indicated that we have an overage of 7,000-8,000 Flight Attendants. They must first offer Flight Attendants a Voluntary Leave/Furlough before any involuntary furloughs take place. In addition, a Voluntary Early Out Package (VEOP) will be available to our members. The details of such VEOP package will be forthcoming. Only after these steps have been completed will we know the actual number, if any, of Flight Attendants that will be furloughed.
In an effort to preserve aviation jobs, APFA, along with other labor Unions, is aggressively pursuing support from Congress to extend the Payroll Support Program (PSP) within the CARES Act. Please “Take Action” today to call on Congress to pass a clean extension of the Payroll Support Program.
Flight Attendant Base Closures
The Company announced the closure of Flight Attendant bases in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and St. Louis, Missouri effective with the February 2021 bid month. APFA was successful in pushing the closing of these bases from October 2020 to February 2021. Per JCBA Section 22.B., the Company has provided APFA with the analysis with which the base closure was reached and demonstrated a cost-saving associated with the closures.
As a result, local APFA Leadership in RDU and STL, along with your National Officers, have been working extensively with the Company on ideas to keep members flying out of these cities and have approached American with a plan of action to keep these bases operating. Suggestions included the reduction of Flight Service management, as well as surrendering real estate at the airports to reduce overhead costs. While we were not able to reach an agreement on the cost savings target required by the Company, APFA was able to reach an agreement with the Company to make RDU a satellite of the Charlotte domicile and STL a satellite of the Dallas/Fort Worth domicile, effective with the March 2021 bid month. While this is an imperfect solution, members will still have an opportunity to originate sequences in RDU and STL into the future.
APFA will ensure that the Moving Expenses outlined for base closures and downsizing in JCBA Section 5 and the Displacement/ Priority Return language located in JCBA Section 22.H. are followed correctly. These contractual sections offer affected Flight Attendants paid moves to another domicile and allow Flight Attendants in RDU and STL to exercise a right of priority return to their respective bases should the bases re-open. The language also provides for available vacancies to be created at crew bases within close proximity to the closing bases.
APFA Leadership will be focused on offering support and assistance to Flight Attendants directly impacted by these base closures as well as those Flight Attendants subject to possible involuntary furlough.
As a result of network changes, current base sizes will also change. We have ensured that the Company will offer a period of vacancy transfers to improve staffing throughout the system. Should voluntary vacancy transfers not achieve the required base levels, displacements may be possible. We will be sure to share more detailed information as soon as it becomes available.
APFA remains deeply concerned with the possibility of involuntary furloughs at our domestic bases while the Latin American bases continue to operate. APFA will continue pressing the Company to reduce the flights outsourced to Latin American bases. Your APFA Leadership will be communicating more about this shortly.
Aircraft Staffing Reductions
Beginning with the October bid month, the Company has announced reduced staffing on international wide-body and transcontinental flights to FAA minimums, plus one additional Flight Attendant. APFA disagrees with any reduction in staffing and stands ready to file a Presidential Grievance. We are committed to making sure American remains a viable carrier in the aviation industry, but not at the expense of Flight Attendant and passenger safety.
Flight Attendant Bidding Resource Center (FABRC) to Close
Since its inception in Phoenix in 2014, the FABRC has been an invaluable resource to our Flight Attendants. Not only do they answer bidding questions, but they also work as advocates for our workforce when PBS awards are questioned. Today it was announced that the FABRC will close effective October 1st, 2020. We want to thank our Flight Attendant peers of the FABRC team for six years of a job well done. The Company has contractual obligations to the PBS misaward process in the JCBA, and we will continue discussions on how potential misawards will be handled in the future.
Lastly, the news announced today is devastating, especially to those Flight Attendants who may be furloughed or who are in a base that is closing. Combined with everything else that is going on in the world today, it can easily become overwhelming. Whether you need support from our Employee Assistance Program or answers to contract questions, please remember that APFA is here for you. We will continue to share information with you as soon as it becomes available and do all that we can to make this next period of change as smooth as it can be. Take care of yourself, take care of each other, and do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Your APFA National Officers