Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Since the beginning of this year, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the airline industry. Customer demand has plummeted 75% year-over-year. Industry projections indicate that the anticipated return of business travel this fall, a large portion of American’s revenue, will be down significantly.
We are faced with continued uncertainty as we try to navigate a new way to work and live. We have a new requirement for face coverings and are confronted with increased anger and non-compliance in our attempts to maintain a safe cabin environment. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines are clear: face-coverings help to stop the spread of the virus. Even with that information, we are still de-escalating arguments onboard regarding proper face-covering usage and compliance, all while being charged with making our passengers as comfortable as possible.
Many of our coworkers are working under the threat of an involuntary furlough. The continued uncertainty with the Payroll Support Program (PSP) extension only adds to the anxiety. APFA’s number one priority has been and will continue to be to preserve as many jobs as possible. While it may seem like we are all spinning our wheels, your thousands of calls to your Congressional Representatives are working- and we need to continue the pressure. Please call every day. More information may be found here. The extensions to the closing of the voluntary programs have been frustrating, but we all have a shared interest in preserving as many jobs as possible, and that will remain our focus. We have a great APFA team working on our behalf in Washington, D.C. We are grateful for the support we have received from our fellow aviation Unions and look forward to working together to protect good American jobs.
Many of our members have had to make some difficult decisions as they contemplate leaving American permanently or for an extended period. Many who have taken advantage of these programs are not ready to leave. It is safe to say that nobody envisioned ending their career at American on this note, and each decision is very personal. We respect the emotional process this decision entails. APFA’s Retirement Department has taken hundreds of calls from Flight Attendants needing clarification and guidance with their decision. Thank you to our APFA Representatives who have made themselves available around the clock to help our members contemplate these life changes.
Where do we go from here?
In the coming weeks, American will have a better idea of staffing numbers at each base as they process the voluntary program participants and the October transfer lists. Network Planning will continue to finalize future schedules. Most importantly, we will continue our push on Capitol Hill to secure an extension to the Payroll Support Program to allow our members to stay connected not only to their paychecks but to their health benefits during a worldwide health crisis.
We will continue to support our Raleigh/Durham and St. Louis-based Flight Attendants, who face the difficult decision of uprooting their families to move to a new base or make the difficult decision to commute. We will plan more Town Halls to help answer questions associated with those bases transitioning to satellites of Charlotte and Dallas/Ft. Worth, respectively.
The conversation with American regarding our Latin America bases is ongoing. Your emails are working and have helped to move the discussion in the right direction. We have made it clear to management that there must be shared sacrifice within the Latin America operation, and we will not settle for anything less. Stay tuned for more updates.
In closing, thank you for your messages of support. We hope that our communication with you is adequate and effective. Thank you for remaining engaged and involved- we will continue to protect you to the very best of our ability.
APFA National President