Association of Flight Attendants,
Dear Council 41 Member:
On Wednesday September 15 a local Council 41 meeting was held in Alexandria. In attendance were the local officers International President Pat Friend and Manager of Collective Bargaining, Clare Burt.
For those of you who could not attend here is an overview of the meeting. AS OF THIS WRITING THE COMPANY HAS NOT ASKED THE BANKRUPTCY COURT TO REJECT OUR CONTRACT. YOUR AGREEMENT IS STILL IN PLACE.
Things will be very different this time around because we do not have a new concessionary agreement already hammered out heading into the bankruptcy as we did in 2002.. We are faced with three very crucial situations in the next few weeks/months. There are three motions the Company can file with the court that could affect our work lives. These are an 1113 motion; 1113 E motion and 1114 motion; each referring to a different section of the Bankruptcy Code. KEEP IN MIND AS OF THIS WRITING THE COMPANY HAS NOT FILED THESE MOTIONS, but we anticipate that they might file one or more in the near future. You will be notified if any of these motions are filed with the court and the affects it will have on you.
An 1113 motion if/when it is filed by the Company would ask the judge to reject or "throw out" our agreement. If the Company files such a motion, good faith negotiations MUST take place. If we reach an agreement with the Company, it will be sent to you for a vote. If we do not reach an agreement, the judge will then hold a hearing. Attorneys for the Company and the Union would present arguments and evidence on whether the Company's proposed changes are "necessary" to a successful reorganization, and whether they are "fair and equitable" to all parties. If the Court finds that the changes are necessary, and that they are fair and equitable, the judge would grant the Company's 1113 motion, and reject our collective bargaining agreement. Keep in mind the judge will not work out a contract for us to work under; he simply decides whether the Company's motion to reject our entire contract should be granted. If we get to that point, the Company will most likely, but not definitely, impose its last best offer from the 1113 negotiations. And, under this scenario, there would be no opportunity for a ratification vote. In the meantime, we are still negotiating with management outside of any formal motions.
An 1113 E motion would be filed by the Company if they need immediate relief in some part of the labor agreements. Section 1113 E permits such emergency relief on an interim basis if the Company can show that it is "essential." Most likely, if an 1113 E motion were filed the Company would seek to immediately reduce wages or other immediate cash costs. AS OF THIS WRITING THE COMPANY HAS NOT FILED AN 1113 E MOTION.
An 1114 motion relates to retiree medical benefits only. Like 1113, Section 1114 lays out a process of negotiations followed by a court hearing if negotiations fail to yield an agreement on proposed changes. If the Company files an 1114 motion, a procedure has been put in place by the court to establish a committee to represent the retirees' interests. The committee would have its own attorneys and professional advisors paid for out of the assets of the Company. The law recognized the union as a proper representative of the retirees, but also allows the retirees to be represented independently of the union, with representation on the retiree committee. By Oct. 4 we will determine the best way to represent the retirees in this procedure.
The bottom line is just this: any new agreement worked out in the course of this bankruptcy will be a huge change for many of us. There will not be improvements, although AFA is fighting hard to keep the Company from over reaching. The cuts will be hard and deep. We are negotiating in a harsh environment: the current economics of the industry are devastating not just to US Airways, but to all the major airlines. We are fighting now for survival, preservation of jobs, and a chance to re-build. There will be a decision that we will all have to make: is this job worth keeping? Can I survive on these changes?
Many people have asked "how does the Company expect us to live." The answer is they do not care; this is evident from their proposals. Their bottom line is the bottom line. AFA has proposed many changes to our current systems in order to make the changes work better for flight attendants. We believe these changes still provide you with flexibility and a paycheck you can live on. AFA will continue to negotiate with the Company to seek these types of improvements and we won't give a dime more than our fair share.
What was mailed to you and posted on the AFA website are PORPOSALS not final contract language. Do not get too focused on any one particular item; remember negotiations are ongoing. If and when we come to an agreement we will conduct additional meetings and roadshows with detailed examples and information.
Please keep up to date via the AFA website ( www.afausairways.org ) and the MEC E-Line. An updated bankruptcy Q & A piece has just been posted on the website. If you are not hearing anything that means there is nothing to report. TAKE ALL JUMPSEAT CHATTER WITH A GRAIN OF SALT. If you have questions please feel free to contact me or another officer. We will be more than happy to sit down and talk with you.
The DCA flight attendants are the most professional flight attendants flying for US Airways today. Please keep up the good work however trying it may be.
I will keep you as current as I possibly can. Best wishes to you and your families.
PLEASE LEAVE ALL SAFETY WRITE-UPS IN CHRISTINE'S MAILBOX