Friday, January 29, 2021
Possible Flight Attendant Overage as the Pandemic Continues
As we move into 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to suppress travel demand. We are encouraged by the availability of vaccines, yet we see distribution issues continuing to affect an already disjointed rollout. Travel demand, including business travel, continues to be depressed. While we know travel demand will eventually return, it is difficult to predict when a passenger uptick resembling 2019 will occur.
Yesterday, American informed us that, due to growing uncertainties in both international and domestic demand, we might again find ourselves overstaffed. As a result, the Company may be sending a second round of WARN letters to employees across the Company.
APFA will do everything in our power to mitigate any future Flight Attendant furloughs. We have already begun internal discussions on how to handle a potential overage in April in the event travel demand remains suppressed.
What is APFA doing to address an overage?
- Today, both APFA and AFA-CWA sent an Urgent Joint Letter to President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Representative McCarthy, and Senator McConnell to extend the Payroll Support Program (PSP). All the successful provisions of PSP need to continue, including full furlough protections, no cuts to hourly rates of pay, continued air service to all communities, and extensions on the executive compensation cap and the ban on stock buybacks and dividends. Without immediate action, essential workers will again be pushed into incredible uncertainty with job and healthcare loss that airlines may have to initiate.
- APFA has immediately requested American to offer another round of leaves and early outs. Flight Service has agreed to offer another Voluntary Early Out Package (VEOP), as well as Voluntary Leaves of Absence. Details will be released in the upcoming days.
- We will continue to partner with other Flight Attendant Unions to discuss our strategy for extending the Payroll Support Program (PSP). We are grateful for the much-needed emergency relief package reached on December 21, 2020, which restored pay and healthcare for all Flight Attendants. We recognized that the emergency relief was a stopgap measure on a path to a much larger overall relief package for the country. We will continue to work with our sisters and brothers at AFA-CWA on Capitol Hill to ensure that aviation’s essential workers are included in a larger relief package. As before, we will need your help to make that happen, so stay tuned for further communications.
It has been a year since the pandemic began affecting our work life, and none of us thought we would be in such a precarious position over a year later. The past year has been tumultuous, to say the least- furloughs, leaves, base closures, displacements, mask enforcement, and trip construction changes have created a stressful and uncertain work environment.
To be clear, American has a demand problem, not a labor cost problem, and APFA is not interested in offering concessions. Our position outlined in our July 3, 2020, Joint Hotlinehas not changed. Too often, we have seen the effects of protracted concessions at all legacy airlines that make up American Airlines today, and the effects on employee morale, health, job security, wages, and benefits have had long-lasting, devastating consequences. We stand united with our Union partners in preserving the integrity of our Collective Bargaining Agreement.
APFA will continue to do everything possible to preserve jobs and mitigate furloughs until demand returns, and it will return. For now, please stay safe, take care of each other, and keep an eye out for future communications. We will get through this together.
APFA National President