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Language Assessment – 04.30.03

Settlement Letter

 

Questions and Answers Concerning the Settlement
Of the Language Assessment Grievance Article 11

1. Why did language assessment testing begin? There were negotiated changes to Article 11, F 1-5 that were ratified by the membership in the 2001 agreement. These changes permit the Company to set language proficiency levels for onboard language qualified speakers, and to test these Flight Attendants for such proficiency (Page 167 of the contract).

2. When did language assessment testing begin? The Company exercised its right to conduct language assessment testing and opted to first commence testing for Flight Attendants in Japanese, Portuguese, and French in 2002. Each Fight Attendant is required to have their proficiency tested on both speaking and reading in the designated language. The Flight Attendant may take a maximum of two (2) initial tests, at the Company’s expense, in order to maintain the qualification. As a result of the initial assessment, one hundred and forty-one (141) Flight Attendants had their language qualifications revoked. As a result, APFA filed a grievance.

3. When was the language assessment test grievance filed? Michael Meyer, IOR Vice-Chair, filed the original base grievance concerning language testing in January of 2003. Steve Watson, IDF Chair, filed a second base grievance in March of 2003, subsequent to the initial filing of the IOR base grievance. Both grievances are part of the settlement. The grievances identified three areas of concern: The level of proficiency required. Notification of required proficiency. Administration of the test.

4. What was the outcome of the original grievance? The original IOR grievance was denied at the first level and was scheduled for hearing at the July Quarterly System Board of Adjustment. The IDF grievance was enjoined with the IOR grievance and the issue was resolved between the parties prior to July System Boards.

5. How was it resolved? Prior to the grievance resolution, a Flight Attendant who had received an Advanced-Low or higher speaking rating and a 3 or lower reading rating would have lost the language qualification. Another Flight Attendant who had received a 4 or higher reading rating and an Intermediate-High or lower speaking rating would also have lost the qualification. Due to the resolution of the grievance, sixty-six (66) Flight Attendants whose qualifications were revoked as a result of not passing one component (speaking or reading) of the language assessment test by just one level had their qualifications reinstated. Language qualifications were reinstated in time for August 2003 bidding.

6. When will these sixty-six Flight Attendants be required to re-test? These sixty-six flight attendants will be required to take the full language assessment test (speaking and reading) when the Company begins re-testing, which is expected sometime late 2004. However, original testing must be completed for all remaining qualified Japanese, Portuguese, and French speakers before any re-testing takes place. From that point on, the guidelines relative to the speaking proficiency will determine the future re-test schedule.

7. What other issues were addressed? An additional seventy-five (75) Flight Attendants lost their qualification because they failed to meet the minimum standard by more than one level in either the speaking or reading proficiency. These Flight Attendants will not have qualifications reinstated at this time. However, prior to the grievance settlement, per the terms of the agreement, these Flight Attendants could not reschedule a re-test until one year from the date of qualification removal. In addition, they were required to re-test for both speaking and reading proficiencies. As a result of the grievance resolution, these Flight Attendants may now choose to schedule up to two (2) re-tests within the twelve (12) month period following removal of their qualifications. They will now be re-tested on only the one proficiency (speaking or reading) not originally passed according to the company minimums. These additional tests will be at the Flight Attendant’s own expense, but charges will be based upon the same discount rate paid by the Company. The Flight Attendant may also opt to wait a year before taking a re-test. This re-test will be at the Company’s expense and the Flight Attendant will be re-tested on both proficiencies.

8. What happened to the Flight Attendants who took and did not pass the first test, but had not yet taken the second test? An additional fifteen (15) Flight Attendants failed to meet the minimum standard by just one level in either the speaking or reading proficiency on the first of two scheduled tests. Because they had not yet completed the second test at the time of the grievance, their qualification will remain active without the need for taking a second test. Due to the resolution of the grievance, these 15 Flight Attendants who were scheduled for a second test as a result of not passing one component (speaking or reading) of the language assessment test by just one level, will not need to take the second test. They have had their qualifications reinstated in time for August 2003 bidding.

9. When will these fifteen Flight Attendants be required to re-test? These Flight Attendants will be required to take the full language assessment test (speaking and reading) when the Company begins re-testing. However, original testing must be completed for all remaining qualified Japanese, Portuguese, and French speakers before any re-testing takes place. From that point on, the guidelines relative to the speaking proficiency will determine the future re-test.

10. What other issues were addressed? The Company has agreed to upgrade the training aids and references that are required by Article 11, Section F #5 of the contract (page 167). These items are to assist the Flight Attendant in increasing speaking and reading proficiency levels.

11. How is proficiency in speaking tested? Speaking proficiency is based upon speaking guidelines originated by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL). These guidelines identify 10 specific proficiency levels. The Company requires that a Flight Attendant achieve an Advanced-Low level minimum or higher to pass the company speaking proficiency.

12. How is proficiency in reading tested? Reading proficiency is based upon the Reading Proficiency Interview (RPI) designed solely by the company. The RPI identifies 5 reading levels. A Flight Attendant must receive a level 4 minimum or higher to pass the company reading proficiency.

In closing, the APFA and the Company have agreed to meet and discuss the current language assessment evaluation process. These discussions may include changes in the delivery of the test, the types of scenarios used by the testers, the method of receiving test results, and the type of feedback concerning test results.

However, these meetings and suggestions are not intended to re-negotiate the right of the Company under the language proficiency provision of the Collective Bargain Agreement. Nor do they intend to change the Company’s contractual rights in regard to language assessment testing, including its ability to establish minimum language proficiencies.

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Euless, Texas 76040

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Phone: (817) 540-0108

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APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

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