Friday, October 1, 2021
Voluntary Early Out Option Flight Attendants
Today, we say farewell to 55 New York-LGA Flight Attendants who opted in taking the Voluntary Early Out Option the Company offered as an early retirement during a very dire economic time the pandemic presented us one year ago. The phrase “paving the way” is old. Still, the truth about those who go through decades of dealing with the challenges labor endures and the many facets of being a Flight Attendant earns these colleagues a farewell of gratitude for their service and contribution to minimizing any impact these circumstances presented us this membership with.
As your local base president, on behalf of New York and APFA, I wish you all a wonderful retirement and Thank You for the service and path you carved out for future generations of Flight Attendants. You will forever remain a member of the APFA family. I cannot exclude my condolences to our base and family of former LGA Flight Attendant Niko Pochouzouris, a stellar man and wonderful Flight Attendant who was set to enjoy his early retirement tomorrow. We will never forget and hold you close Niko, rest in peace.
Flight Attendant Assaults
The issue of Flight Attendants being assaulted onboard has not gone away, nor should we take our attention away from awareness of his issue. Just like any other crime, Flight Attendant assaults can easily start to come in waves as the industry goes through the normal ups and downs it has historically. Please remember to always file a CERS report and be as explicit as you can about the experience, always protecting the identity of other crew members and customers. Click Here to read the testimony that Charlotte APFA Flight Attendant Teddy Andrews gave before congress on Air Rage. Teddy truly represented us during this incredible testimony, and on behalf of the New York base, we thank him.
New York Transcon Flying
I have received feedback from you about the transcon flying and the lack of late departures. The A321T schedule remains fluid, and October was not an exception. I do recognize the importance of flexibility and have discussed this with management extensively. There will be ten mostly daily round trips between JFK and LAX/SNA for November, which can split roughly 4.5 for LGA and 5.5 for LAX. LGA will have the 0600, 0830, and 1530 departures daily and the 1630 departure every other day. Allocations can change due to several circumstances, but I will continue to take your feedback and do whatever is within my reach to improve your quality of work-life. Thank You to those who took the time to send me the feedback.
New LGA Airport Offices
We are expected to move into the new airport offices at La Guardia Airport on December 16, 2021. There is not much detail about the layout of our operations area, but it gives me great relief to know the date is near. Flight Attendants have endured a long period of inconvenience with the airport construction and our operations area is far from reasonable. While discussing the new offices with local management, I want to prepare you for a smaller real estate piece than we are accustomed to. Nonetheless, a new and fresh space is long overdue. I will ensure that all the details are reasonable, and resources are not cut in any way. We have requested for APFA locally to have a private space to consult with members, and Penelope and I are planning for a more relevant presence of our union at the new office space.
Returning EVLOA Flight Attendants (302 LGA)
Approximately 2,127 Flight Attendants will be returning from EVLOA in November, of which 302 are New York Flight Attendants. We understand that although this is a good sign for jobs, it nonetheless can present challenges for Flight Attendants who made plans and commitments, both personal and professional. If you are returning from EVLOA and have questions, please feel free to contact our base council for answers. One of the best ways to catch up with all that has happened is to read the APFA hotline archives. The HDQ communications team is very diligent with information, and all the departments are very consistent with sharing information with the membership broadly. Remember that each department has its email, which can be found at the bottom of each communication.
American’s Expansion in International Flying
American continues to strengthen its international networks using codeshare agreements that manifest in more customers traveling on our aircraft. As we slowly recover from the pandemic, we have challenges ahead. However, these details all contribute to more vigorous contract negotiations. Sometimes it can be challenging to tune out rumors from information, but some information is worthy of attention, especially once the company validates it. I will do my best to include information that ultimately affects us during these unchartered waters to help us better understand what our negotiations will demand from us as members. The Contract Action Team needs our participation to deliver for us successfully.
Personal Days (PO’s)
The Personal Day Policy allows two (2) Personal Days per rolling twelve (12) month period to be used only in the event of an emergency. A Flight Attendant may request Personal Days by making a verbal request to Crew Schedule with a follow-up call to their Flight Service Manager. When you request a PO from scheduling, please understand they a denial does not mean you cannot get the PO; it implies that scheduling has designated that day or time as unable to grant them due to operational issues ( shortage ). The scheduler is not administratively trained to handle your personal matters; their decision is based on coverage. If you have to call your FSM, you can start by calling the MOD and letting them know you are requesting a PO. Although you are to contact your FSM, please call the local MOD and follow up with your FSM if your circumstances are time-sensitive. Your FSM will always be notified if a PO is granted. Please do not assume all PO’s are uncharged. After your two contractual PO’s, the others can be charged. Your communication with your FSM should include this discussion for your knowledge. Unless you feel there is a reason to, this is not a process you need to have the APFA reps in.
Catering Issues on Boeing 737
Most of the catering issues on the B-737 routes, such as CLO and MDE, should resolve as the packing slips become consistent with the routes operating using the B-737 Max. Although the airplane is the same for us, there is a different way to pack the aircraft for catering. It is a crucial courtesy to our colleagues if we take a moment to notice what line we are using when a flight is double provisioned. If you run into being short, you must follow up with FA reports suitable for your table. Using the downline catering may resolve your issue but has created another for your colleague. Please be mindful that this can challenge the outbound crew, especially on all-nighters back to the east coast. On your tablet, click on the menu bar, Flight Attendant reports, then you can go directly to the “FA Reports Create.” All your flight information should automatically populate. Please contact us when the catering or other onboard issues you are reporting have become a repetitive issue with no resolution after your reports. We will most definitely follow up with the company.
Reserve for the 2021 Holiday Months (November and December)
I receive a report every day of the percentage of SK calls at the base and the system. Any high reserve percentage at any base does not indicate anything other than the reality of us working and living a pandemic. We come in contact with the traveling public, most of which are not required to be screened, as it is with COVID-19, at least not domestically. To avoid reserve numbers climbing at the base, I ask that you notify the company as soon as you can about your absence. There will be times we have no control over this. Still, there may be times we can avoid the usual havocs the operation can go through, putting our colleagues under difficult situations when getting a short call out for a reserve assignment, and let’s face it, that dreaded call to board a flight over and over while on standby. I will continue to advocate for low reserve numbers for the base, but I wanted you to know that the above is a factor that can drive reserve numbers up.
Benefits Enrollment for 2022
October is benefits enrollment for the 2022 year. The pandemic has really brought us a whole new perspective on our health and cost and how quickly things can change. This year, please take a moment to use all your resources to carefully select your medical plans, contributions to reimbursements accounts, and anything else that may be specifically important to you and your needs. I will remind you once the enrollment period begins; however, we have so much information to stay up to date with that I wanted to set an early reminder.
When I write these base briefs, they start so long; then I remember how I wouldn’t say I like to read something so long, and I do what I can to compress pertinent information. Never forget that Penelope and I are here should you need additional information, support, and as always, contractual protection. Please take care of one another; we are working in very different and challenging times. Together we indeed can come out better than divided.
I am proud and humbled every day to serve you and all that affects us on the airplanes and off.
Please fly, and stay safe.
Christian M. Santana
APFA LGA Base President
APFA LGA Base Vice President
Proud to Represent New York-LGA