Thursday, July 30, 2020
Latin America Flying
APFA remains deeply concerned that our members are facing furloughs while American continues to offshore flying to the Latin America (LAM) operation with Flight Attendants based in EZE, SCL, LIM, and BOG. Since taking office, I have repeatedly made clear directly to top AA Management that it is unacceptable to furlough one-third of APFA members, and close two of our bases in the United States, while leaving the Latin American operation mostly untouched. There must be a shared sacrifice within the LAM operation, and we will continue to press the Company to do the right thing for our members.
As our letter to Doug Parker makes clear, in the short term, the Company needs to reduce the flying in the Latin American operation proportionate to the cuts we are facing.
Since taking office, I have met with economists to ‘cost out’ pieces of the LAM operation, and to more fully understand the costs of the LAM operation to American. Dan Akins, APFA Economist, has compared the cost of furloughing in the LAM operation versus the cost of furloughs of the APFA membership. While the Company has consistently told APFA that it would be incredibly expensive to reduce or close parts of the LAM operation, APFA’s analysis shows otherwise. The Company should not profit from our Latin American counterparts’ lower wages at the expense of our Flight Attendant workforce. Implementing cutbacks equitably throughout the system would save hundreds of APFA members from furloughs.
APFA will continue to pursue all available means to protect Flight Attendant jobs. We urge every APFA member, regardless of your crew base, to join us in letting the Company know your feelings on this very critical matter, using the link below this paragraph. The LAM operation disproportionately affects the MIA base today, but all Flight Attendants system-wide should be concerned about the effects of offshoring our work.
Dear Doug and Robert,
I am writing to you today as an American Airlines Flight Attendant represented by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) to voice my concerns that American Airlines management is furloughing US-based Flight Attendants while protecting the Latin American operation. Any cutbacks and furloughs, if necessary, must be done equitably across the entire American Airlines system. Management must not profit on lower cost labor in Latin America at the expense of our jobs.
As we face furloughs in a United States labor market already decimated by COVID-19, it is more important than ever that every job in the United States that can be preserved must be preserved. Implementing furloughs equitably would save hundreds of jobs of US-based Flight Attendants and is the only fair way to approach the difficulties we face.
This is also the opportunity to engage in a broader discussion of the role of Latin American bases. APFA has long objected to the continued offshoring of American Airlines jobs. Now is the time to end this practice, which negatively impacts only one group of employees: APFA represented Flight Attendants. The Pilots at American are not subjected to having their flying sent offshore to cheaper labor.
I urge you to address this issue and help save Flight Attendants from unnecessary furloughs.
Latin America Operation – FAQs
1. Where and when did the Latin American flying originate?
In December of 1989, American Airlines announced the acquisition of Eastern Airlines’ Central and South American routes and other assets for $471 million. With the acquisition, American gained access to 20 cities in 15 Latin American countries. In addition to these flights, American also agreed to purchase the Miami – London/Heathrow route from Continental Airlines, as well as certain Eastern Airlines Canadian routes. The deal also included landing slots at Chicago- O’Hare, San Juan, Puerto Rico, New York, NY and Washington, D.C.
2. When was APFA notified that Eastern’s Latin American Flight Attendant bases would be part of the deal?
On March 8, 1990, American notified APFA of their intention to utilize foreign-based crews, or non-resident aliens for acquired flying within Latin and South America, to a U.S. gateway city and beyond to other foreign points. American informed APFA that they intended to fully utilize all foreign-based Flight Attendants employed by Eastern Airlines at the time of the acquisition.
3. At the time, what was APFA’s response to the announcement of Latin American crew bases?
On March 16, 1990, APFA filed a Presidential Grievance. American responded to the grievance in April, indicating that APFA does not have an exclusive right to the performance of American Airlines flying. APFA disagreed with American’s position and filed an objection with the Department of Transportation (DOT) on April 12, 1990, to withhold final DOT approval of the Latin American transaction.
At the time, APFA National President Cheryl Leon stated, “American’s action is part of the Company’s general drive to force out more highly paid veteran flight crew members and fill their jobs with lower-paid new employees, or in this case, foreign nationals working at substandard wages.”
4. How was this dispute between APFA and American Airlines settled?
After negotiations in the summer of 1990, the ‘Foreign National Agreement’ was sent out for Flight Attendant ratification. The Agreement isolated Foreign National flying into and out of the Miami crew base and had other speaker and pay components attached. Ultimately, the Foreign National Agreement was ratified on July 21, 1990, with 4,999 voting for, and 2,640 voting against the Agreement.
5. Are there any restrictions on how many Latin America based Flight Attendants may be employed by American Airlines?
Letter of Agreement 6, Foreign National Agreement within the JCBA outlines the restrictions placed on Foreign National flying. Among other route and city restrictions, the LOA caps the amount of Foreign National Flight Attendants to a base number plus a percentage of the total number of persons on the APFA System Seniority list, which varies based on the total number of Flight Attendants on the APFA System Seniority list. The number of Flight Attendants currently in the LAM operation is below the current cap of 394 + 2.75% of the APFA Flight Attendants.
APFA National President