|In this Issue:
February 17, 2005
GUIDELINE TO IMPLEMENTATION REVISION
The Company has issued a revision to the February 5, 2005 Guideline to Implementation. The Guideline is posted on theHub at and on the AFA website at:
http://www.afausairways.org/Restructure/05guide.htm. I have posted the February 5 Guideline in the CLT Crew Room and will post the revision as soon as possible. Listed below are several important things to remember regarding provisions already implemented:
- Sick Policy - Until the automation of sick claims begins a Flight Attendant is still allowed to fly back your sick time and no changes to the sick claim process have occurred. The sick pay was reduced to 70%/100% charge to bank and credit on 1/01/05.
- DH 50% - Now that deadheading pays 50% pay no credit do not assume that a pairing is worth a minimum of 5:00 for a day trip, 10:00 for a 2-day trip, 15:00 for a 3-day trip and 20:00 for a 4-day trip. To protect yourself, look up the actual pay and credit information via CATS for February and March (April printed pairing sheets will eliminate deadhead time from the Pay and Credit totals). This will enable you to see if a pairing actually has a deadhead and if such deadhead works positively or negatively for you. After reviewing them, list in preferred order the pairing numbers you like before giving them to scheduler. Of course, you have the right to leave a list of parameters when trying to trip improve but be aware that a lot of things have changed.
- Weekend AIL Restrictions - The revision includes many examples regarding the AIL weekend trip restriction provision of the new contract. The important thing to remember is that the restriction applies ONLY to AIL activity. If you call in sick or use a personal day for a trip that touches a weekend day you are not required pick up a trip on that weekend day. The same applies to trips that touch a weekend that are dropped out for vacation or training. If crew scheduling tells you otherwise, ask to speak to a supervisor document the call and report it to our office. It is also important to know that if you have a trip that touches a weekend day and choose to trip improve off the weekend you will be automatically placed on the bid sheet and be required to work the weekend day/days you have gotten out of. Do not assume, for example, that if you have to touch Sunday and there are no one day trips available you will not have to work. You will be assigned a trip even if it is for more than one day.
DH AND VM CALCULATIONS
As you are no doubt aware the VM is not being recalculated for duty periods that contain a Deadhead and thus causing trip value reductions. The 50% pay/ no credit provision was a very large cost item for the Company and in turn a very large credit for AFA. The credit to AFA was part of the total dollar amount the Company sought from us either through a negotiated agreement or through the 1113c process in court. Recalculating the VM after extracting the DH would have resulted in no cost savings to the Company or credit to AFA. ALPA negotiated the same deal but during our negotiations filed a grievance as to the interpretation of this provision. Included in the agreement you have received is a side letter entitled "Deadhead Pay and Credit" that addresses this grievance and its' possible effect on AFA. This provision and side letter was discussed at length during the CLT Roadshow in December. At this time AFA is awaiting the disposition of the ALPA grievance. In the meantime the trips and blocks for April are ugly. During negotiations it was stressed to AFA that it is the intent of the Company to create an "85 to 95 hour airline" with everyone averaging that block hour figure. The Company knows that constructing trips with DH time will not make that goal a reality. Trips will need to be built with less DH time in order to make that reality possible. AFA will continue to work with the Company to make the trips and lines more reasonable. The problem we face is this agreement is being implemented in phases. The DH policy is being overlaid on the existing process for building trips and lines resulting in the trips we are seeing. As the implementation progresses the trip and line construction will be optimized to account for the changes. As I have said in earlier E-Lines the bad things get in before the good things. During this phased in implementation things will be in flux problems will be caused. The next few months are going to be a challenge for all of us. AFA is not sitting back and just "letting all of this happen". The implementation of this agreement is going to be difficult and at times painful. There is no other way to sugar coat it.
2005 VACATION BID
The 2005 May through December vacation bid opened February 15, 2005. As per the agreement we will have to re bid 2005 vacation to reflect the new yearly vacation amounts. The bidding schedule is as follows:
February 15, 2005 -
May-December Annual Vacation Bid Round 1 opens
February 24, 2005 --
May-December Annual Vacation Bid Round 1 closes
February 28, 2005 -
May-December Annual Vacation Bid Round 1 results posted
March 2, 2005 -
May-December Annual Vacation Bid Round 2 opens
March 9, 2005 -
May-December Annual Vacation Bid Round 2 closes
It is important to remember that everyone must re bid during this process. Your vacation days listed on theHUB reflect the TOTAL number of days (contract amount per year plus 3 days of your excess 2004 accrual) you are allowed to bid for 2005 in round 1. If you have used or will use vacation days between January and April those days will be subtracted from total 2005 accrual. 25% of any carryover days from prior to 2004 can be bid during round 2. On theHub "DAYS TO BID" field will tell you the number of days you are allowed to bid for the May-December 2005 Vacation Bid (Total 2005 accrual +3 days of excess 2004 accrual-any vacation taken/scheduled January-April. The "EXCESS" field on theHub shows the amount of 2004 excess accrual days you have left to bid in subsequent years. The agreement requires a minimum of four days be bid in each block however due to programming issues you will be allowed to bid in blocks of three days for 2005 only. Any blocks less than 3 days can only be bid as filler days in rounds 1 or 2 or grouped with Carry Forward days into a block of 3 or more days and bid in round 2. Any blocks of less than 3 days not bid accordingly will then be assigned by the Company in round 3.
EARLY RETIREMENT INCENTIVE (ERI)
If you meet the requirements (active as of December 1, 2004 and at least55 years of age with at least 20 years of service on the retirement date selected) for the ERI and want to take advantage of this provision of the new agreement you must notify the Company prior to March 1, 2005. The Early Retirement Incentive form must be completed and faxed or mailed (if it was me I would fax and mail) to the Company prior to March 1, 2005. The form is on theHub, the CLT Crew Service Center and the CLT In-Flight office. You can check acceptance of the form on theHUB or by contacting the Company. If you qualify for the ERI, and fill out the form, use caution when picking your retirement date. After March 1, 2005, if you change your retirement date you will become ineligible for the incentive. You will still be allowed to rescind your retirement if you choose to do so.
The PBGC has assumed trusteeship of our pension plan and is working with the Company and AFA to transition the plan into their stewardship. The MEC is putting out information regarding this process on the MEC web site at:
The current and former MEC benefits chair persons are working with the PBGC and the Company to develop a package of information regarding the PBGC process. It is expected that project will be completed by the end of February and the information can be distributed to all of you. In the interim the MEC is putting out frequent updates on our website at
http://www.afausairways.org/. This time consuming transition is frustrating as many of you are looking at life altering decisions. We recognize that fact but are somewhat handicapped as we work to answer your questions. Please call us with your questions and we will find the answer for you as fast as possible. The PBGC has sent recently sent a letter to all Flight Attendants vested in the former plan. Follow up information from the PBGC directly to you is forthcoming. The initial letter does not offer much specific information but does list a Customer Contact number of 1 800-400-7242 for your use. The process for notifying the PBGC of your intent to begin receiving benefits is as follows*:
--The PBGC requests they be notified 90 days prior to the date you wish to begin receiving benefits in order for all calculations to be completed so that payments may begin on the date requested. The PBGC will accept notification as late as thirty days prior but will not guarantee that payments will begin on the date selected. You will be paid retroactively when your payments do begin.
--The individual contacts the PBGC (phone call) to give notification he/she will begin commencement of his/her pension benefit.
--The PBGC calculates the pension benefit according to the plan in effect on the date of termination.
--The PBGC then makes necessary adjustments (plan enhancements, etc.)
--The PBGC calculates the pension benefit according to payment options (individual, joint & survivor, etc.)
--The calculations are then mailed to the individual.
--The individual elects options and mails back forms the necessary forms.
*This is a very streamlined version of the entire process. The PBGC is in the process of administering the takeover of the plan. That process in and of itself will take some additional time. The PBGC has informed us that it may take up to six months for a future retiree to begin receiving payments. You will of course receive retroactive retirement payments but for those retiring in the next few months you will likely see a delay in payments. Those retiring in the fourth quarter of the year should have a smoother transition. The PBGC does not encourage rescinding but it is allowed up to the date the first payment is direct deposited or the first check is cut.
I have been receiving many calls the past few weeks from members expressing their frustration with the Company, low morale among the employees and a lack of trust in the In-Flight Services department. Under the glare of bankruptcy and liquidation we have all made tremendous personal sacrifices over the past two years in order to help US Airways survive. To many it seems the Company has offered us little in return as we are faced with the ever tightening Dependability Control Program. To be sure, it is the Company's job to address the "lost time" that the program seeks to correct. No one here expects that employees should not be held accountable for their responsibilities. It is the job of the Union to make sure that the membership is treated fairly and that unreasonable policies are not designed or administered. It is not the job of the Union to protect those who continually abuse the rules as that has the effect of undermining those who don't. In order to punish those who are the worst offenders the existing policies are starting to catch those who are not. I have written a letter to Jerry Glass, Executive Vice President for Human Resources, addressing the concerns of the membership. Mr. Glass has assured me he will look into these concerns. I have included the letter in this E-Line and will update you with further responses from Mr. Glass and/or other management personnel. The letter is posted on the CLT page of the AFA website or can be viewed by following this link:
LEC President CLT