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4.13.22 – APFA LAX Base Brief – Update for Wednesday, April 13, 2022 – Part 2

Wednesday, April 13, 2022 – Part 2

Topics:

  • TTS Floating Limits 
  • Reserve 
  • CA Pandemic 
  • Pandemic Leave Sick Time Restoration
  • Hotels and Limos
  • Flight Service
  • AFSMs and Attendance Issues 
  • LAX/West Coast Future 
  • Masks
  • Return of On-Board Services 
  • Grievances
  • Flight Service Meetings
  • Current Flight Service Meeting Topics and Trends 
  • Professional Standards
  • LAX Base Council
  • Contract ACTION Team

TTS Floating Limits 

Many of us began to notice last Fall that seemingly simple TTS were no longer going through. The company revealed that they had begun strictly enforcing the contractual 3 percent TTS limit across the system. However, management had failed to inform the union when they did so.

As we all know, the TTS Open Time limit is 3 percent. The company HAD been allowing for a “floating limit” in bases where anticipated staffing levels would allow for the coverage of all trips. As a result, the company would allow for the 3 percent limit to “float” above 3 percent.

APFA has attempted to get the company to return to employing the floating limit everywhere, but, so far, the company is still enforcing the hard 3 percent limit at various bases. This can change periodically, base-by-base.

The company does not provide TTS users a notification that the 3 percent rule is in effect at their base. APFA is continuing to try to get the company to provide transparency in this area.

Reserve

Reserve is the topic of conversation everywhere we go.

A system that was merchandised as transparent and humane is anything but humane in the hands of a management that remains tone-deaf to our needs and our problems. The current system has proven to be a detriment to our work lives; our personal lives; our finances and our stress levels.

The issue is not only reducing the reserve numbers, but, importantly, to make reserve more humane to those serving it.

I have lost track of the number of proposals I have provided. Things like creating a separate bucket between lineholder and reserve where we can have more control (akin to the old LAA Availability); creating a secondary bid sheet after PBS awards are made where reserve flight attendants can bid for trips in Open Time prior to the beginning of the month; and offering a per-hour incentive for every hour flown on reserve, enabling reserve flight attendants to make up for the loss in pay suffered while on reserve.

The goal should be to make reserve something that people might actually want to fly. The current system is clearly broken, and the company’s answer is to put more people on reserve. That has not, and will not, ever solve the problem.

On the latest Staffing Call, I, yet again, brought this issue to light. I reminded them of how many proposals I have sent their way. The problem with Reserve is NOW. The fix cannot wait for a new contract. Right now, their answer is to just kick the can over to negotiations. How many more meltdowns can this company withstand? WE are NOT the problem.

The company loves to cite high reserve sick rates, yet they refuse to address the root cause…a broken system which exhausts and upsets everyone to the point of illness and stress reactions. Again, WE are NOT the problem.

A couple months ago, the company, in a diabolical attempt to make it APPEAR that they were addressing the climbing reserve seniority issue, offered APFA a deal including a requirement for all new-hire flight attendants with under 5 years to serve straight reserve along with a meager increase in reserve guarantee from 75 to 78 hours. In return, an increase to the RSVCOT which would enable the company to further use and exhaust our reserves. Besides, if they are increasing the RSVCOT, the feeble increase to guarantee means nothing for many reserves. In LAX’s case, the 5 year straight reserve proposal for new hires would not get a single LAX flight attendant off reserve. Meanwhile, the company would enjoy an increase to RSVCOT ahead of a new contract that would further drive our reserves into the ground. The 5 year straight reserve would not have applied to flight attendants already on the property and on a rotation, and, again, it would not help a single flight attendant at LAX off reserve. Nice try, AA. How about actually fixing reserve rather than just deepening and extending the pain?

CA Pandemic 

Flight Attendants still, each day, are exposed and become ill with COVID. Whether vaccinated or not, or whether the latest variant causes mild or severe illness, it is still out there.

I suffered two bouts with COVID in January and February. While, for me, COVID itself was mild, it was the follow-on effects which plagued me. Many of us report the same thing.

The importance of us being able to take PAID time off to recover cannot be underestimated.

Unfortunately, American Airlines decided in March to discontinue offering Pandemic Leave for all employees effective April 4, 2022. However, the state of California  recently enacted legislation similar to last year’s CA PAID SICK LEAVE to cover all California workers for up to 80 hours of paid leave for COVID-related issues retroactive to January 1, 2022. The law expires on September 30, 2021.

Please continue to report your reserve issues and ideas to APFA.

Pandemic Leave Sick Time Restoration

I think most of us have experienced delays in seeing the recoding of our sick calls to Pandemic Leave, and, most importantly, it can be incredibly frustrating, especially at a time when we are not feeling particularly well. The delays are always greatest during times of increased infection rates.

If your Pandemic Leave request remains in limbo, after two weeks, call or email the Pandemic Leave Desk. I have heard of cases where the leave seemed to have gotten misplaced, and a call or email did the trick.

My Pandemic Leave in January took a month for approval….two weeks from submission to it being registered into the system, and an additional two weeks for approval.

If your AFSM tries to call or email you during that time to talk about “occurrences,” and an Attendance meeting, simply tell them, “My Pandemic Leave is pending. There is no need to speak to me about this occurrence.” Make sure you email us locally to keep us in the loop if your AFSM gets “antsy.” We will handle it.

Hotels and Limos

The company has completely abdicated its responsibility to us in the area of hotel accommodations. Most of us have been in the situation recently where a reschedule lands us in a city where the company has failed to find us accommodations. BizHero is NOT the answer. It only allows the company to feel as if they are doing something.

APFA, on the National level, is working to compel the company to DO WHATEVER IT HAS TO DO to fix this unsustainable situation.

Please stay tuned for additional information in a Hotline. The present situation is outrageous, and no amount of time seems to have gotten the company to fix yet another broken system.

The overarching issue is that AA’s (outsourced) Hotel/Limo Desk is quickly overwhelmed. APFA National is pursuing this issue, and despite all of the company’s promises, nothing ever changes. We all know that employing more people to help us, and moving the department back to within AA, would probably fix the situation right away. The ultimate cost to the company  ends up being far greater than if they had spent the money in the first place.

Again, something needs to give here…and it’s NOT us.

The title of this best-selling book always comes to mind when I think of AA’s approach to everything…

“THE HIGH COST OF CHEAP”

Flight Service

Lisa Bales and I met last week with the  new Base Manager, Matt Stoner (mstoner@aa.com) and Regional Manager, Debbie Carvatta (dcarvatta@aa.com).

We shared our frustration with the revolving door FSM landscape which undermines flight attendants’ willingness to see their FSM as a support option. Instead, the manager is largely seen as the bearer of bad news and corrective action . Flight attendants should be able to depend on their FSM for a myriad of items, ranging from a quick resolution to pay issues to seeking answers when IT issues affect us personally to providing support when we have benefit issues; and bidding problems.

The revolving door…coupled with the lack of knowledge on the part of many FSMs in knowing who to contact for answers on our behalf…help create the current situation.

We will be scheduling another meeting to drill down into the myriad of issues facing this base, and facing us personally as LAX flight attendants.

This was our first meeting with the new Base Manager, and was a good opportunity to share our expectations.

Overall, we expect engaged management at LAX which advocates for us and provides us the support we have been largely denied by previous local Flight Service regimes.

I did share that one area of improvement we have seen locally is proactive assistance to flight attendants who become ill or injured mid-sequence.

This is due largely to our two Operational Managers, Hera Jahng and David Shaw.

AFSMs and Attendance Issues

Amongst the bigger issues facing LAX flight attendants…and flight attendants systemwide…is the new Attendance Flight Service Manager position, coupled with, as always, the company’s excessively punitive attendance policy.

The AFSMs report to AA HDQ, and not the LAX Base Manager. This means that our requests for support, flexibility and humanity are decided by someone who never has or face you. Just another way to convince us that we are not valued as employees and as people.

There are two AFSMs at LAX, a woefully inadequate number for a base of 2100 flight attendants. Every issue takes forever to resolve, as not only are there not enough AFSMs but they must go through HDQ for their direction. I am certainly NOT advocating for more management, but if we want something in which we are unjustly charged (like a TM), we must now wait forever.

Once again, the company has created an untenable situation in which we suffer due to lack of support. Their love for creating bureaucratic levels where none need to exist has left us mired in complexity.

I have shared my feelings on this issue with the company and with APFA National.

We deserve better.

LAX/West Coast Future

As grim as circumstances appear right now, AA claims it is committed to LAX. The issue that remains to be seen is WHAT KIND of flying can we anticipate.

Network Planning keeps its plans close to the cuff and refuses to make any statements until a new route, or a resumption of an old route, is announced to the public.

We KNOW that they have already said repeatedly that we are not returning to China.

We KNOW that the current matrix of only two LHR and  am intermittent SYD do not serve our needs as flight attendants. Even if we personally do not fly IPD, it is an important component in ensuring flexibility for us all.

The negative effect of the suspension of even one IPD flight harms many more people than just those who flew the trip as people begin moving down to other types of flying, in turn, bumping other flight attendants out of their own flying.

Despite the company’s announced plans, we don’t know what will actually occur.

What we don’t know:

  • When is HND coming back?
  • When is SYD coming back?
  • When is AKL coming back?
  • Are GRU and EZE coming back?
  • Are we actually going to begin Christchurch (CHC)?
  • Are they going to rethink their position on China flying?
  • Are there any new routes on the horizon?

What we do know:

  • AA remains on track with the T4 terminal expansion project.
  • AA remains on track with taking over all of T5.
  • AA is zealously guarding our gates at TBIT.
  • At the conclusion, AA will have more gates and more real estate than ever before.
  • It would have been easy for AA to walk away from the expansion plans during the height of the Pandemic,  but they didn’t. They remain in a lock-step battle against Delta and its own expansion over at T2 and T3. United has already announced an expansion once T9 is built.

I refuse to believe that the current situation is all we can expect. Keep in mind that strategies change on a dime. Anything could happen. The current Network Planning team could go on to different pastures, changing the company’s direction on the West Coast. Feed from JetBlue and Alaska could suddenly change the dynamic and create the need for more IPD. Or airline mergers between other carriers and route suspensions by even some foreign carriers could create new opportunities for us.

I am not giving up hope nor do I expect to do so.

Masks

The Federal Mask Mandate for air travel is scheduled to expire on April 18, 2022.

Return of On-Board Services

Alcohol returns to Main Cabin on April 18th.

It remains to be seen if the invasive, abusive and violent behavior leave with the mandate, or whether this has become the norm.

If AA really cared, they would implement a two-drink limit. I know that APFA National has discussed this with the company. Stay tuned.

The return of more involved meal services further proves our point that we need our staffing back The Presidential Grievance arbitration is still pending.

On a related note, new National No-Fly List legislation introduced…

National No-Fly List Legislation Introduced In Congress

Grievances

Per the contract, APFA has ten business days to file a grievance on your behalf from the incident or violation.

This time limit can be extended somewhat by an ongoing dialogue between the APFA rep and the company in an attempt to resolve the case. Many cases take far more than ten business days before we reach the final “NO” from the company. Once we reach that final “NO,” the ten days begin again, and we are held to that time limit when filing.

Please review your attendance record periodically so that we can dispute TMs and LRs. The company has the right to reject a dispute if it is not timely

Page 30-2 of the JCBA

Flight Service Meetings

The company continues to schedule meetings with flight attendants at a furious pace. Issues which never were issues before are now seen by Flight Service and HR/Legal as requiring a formal meeting.

We are here to help. Please reach out to us as soon as possible to arrange for one of us to attend.

Lisa Bales
lbales@apfa.org
818-275-3117

Preston Reeves
PTreeves@apfa.org
562-342-3798

Rick Cangey
rcangey@apfa.org
714-307-8220

John Nikides
jnikides@apfa.org
310-751-6605

Current Flight Service Meeting Topics and Trends 

  • Reserve out-of-base
  • Late-to-gate
  • Complaints from passengers
  • Complaints from other employees, including flight attendants
  • Facebook and social media complaints
  • Attendance issues

PLEASE DO. NOT be ashamed to contact us. We are NOT here to judge. All information you share with us remains confidential.

Professional Standards

We have two outstanding Professional Standards reps at LAX, as well as the support of the APFA National Professional Standards Chair, Jillian Bocenda.

Jan Walsh 310-670-9999

Elise Stevenson 707-888-2454

Jillian Bocenda jbocenda@apfa.org

Please reach out to Jan or Elise. We are very lucky to have them here at LAX.

LAX Base Council

Your LAX Base Council remains ready to assist you in any way we can. Please reach out at any time. Recent events, combined with the company’s relentlessly punitive nature, keep us very busy, BUT we always want to help. We are here for YOU.

John Nikides
jnikides@apfa.org
310-751-6605

Lisa Bales
lbales@apfa.org
818-275-3117

Preston Reeves
PTreeves@apfa.org
562-342-3798

Rick Cangey
rcangey@apfa.org
714-307-8220

BASE COUNCIL REPS WHO ASSIST US-

  • Ellen Eherts
    702-858-2648
  • Curtis Rybin
    818-282-3095

SCHEDULING ISSUES

  • John Nikides
  • Lisa Bales
  • Preston Reeves
  • Rick Cangey
  • Ellen Eherts
  • Curtis Rybin

CONTRACTUAL VIOLATIONS

  • John Nikides
  • Lisa Bales
  • Preston Reeves
  • Rick Cangey
  • Ellen Eherts
  • Curtis Rybin

GRIEVANCES

  • John Nikides
  • Lisa Bales
  • Preston Reeves
  • Rick Cangey

MEETINGS

  • John Nikides
  • Lisa Bales
  • Preston Reeves
  • Rick Cangey
  • Ellen Eherts
  • Curtis Rybin

Contract ACTION Team

As part of APFA’s CONTRACT ACTION campaign, reps will be at LAX on APRIL 22nd and APRIL 23rd from 0830 until 1330 distributing union pins to APFA members.

Please contact Evelyn Konen at 520-241-8984 to volunteer or click here.

Contract ACTION Team Sign-Up

You can get the latest updates on negotiations by visiting ContractAction.org.

Safe travels and see you on the line!

In Solidarity,

John Nikides
APFA LAX Base President
jnikides@apfa.org

1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

Phone: (817) 540-0108
Fax: (817) 540-2077

 

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