AFA US Airways Flight Attendant Update May 25, 2012

Donít Let Bankruptcy Set the Foundation for our Future

May 14, 2012

Dear Flying Partners:

Late Friday evening the likelihood of a US Airways/American merger increased as American Airlines management bowed to pressure from the Unsecured Creditors Committee to explore merger options while still in bankruptcy. American management had been adamantly opposed to this option until Friday. What this means is that there is pressure building from creditors who believe they will get a higher dollar return through a merger with US Airways. It is important that we fully recognize what this means for us and what our options are as we move strategically to improve our own conditions at work. While the merger still remains a possibility, and not yet a certainty, we have the ability to determine how we want to be positioned moving forward.

Don't Let Bankruptcy Set the Foundation for our Future

There may be good opportunities ahead for Flight Attendants in a merger with American, but it's important that we recognize fully how this option for the future of US Airways is coming into play and what we need to do to realize any benefits. In early April, US Airways management reached right over you, their current employees, to negotiate directly with union members of American Airlines, offering them something less onerous than what will be imposed on them through the bankruptcy court at the insistence of American Airlines management. US Airways management has not reached an agreement that lifts standards for our careers. In either case, bankruptcy imposed concessions or a bridge agreement with US Airways, the industry rate for Flight Attendant contracts is lowered. We cannot allow that to be the basis for our future - through focus on our Contract First we can do better.

The APFA Bridge Agreement Term Sheet summary only includes the changes to the current concessions American Airlines management wants to impose - it is not a summary of the full contract between the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) and American Airlines. US Airways management reached a deal with APFA in the event a merger could be completed - including a definitive means to achieve a single contract for all Flight Attendants through final, binding arbitration. US Airways management reached this agreement believing they could bypass you, your contract priorities today and your work life for tomorrow. We cannot allow them to get away with that plan and through focused efforts we can forge a different path that includes improvements and protections now along with a stronger foundation for our future.


From CBS News

Union: US Airways forcing pilots to fly unsafe planes
07/26/2011 By: Tim Vetscher

PHOENIX - Pilots at US Airways are alleging they're been forced to fly unsafe planes.

The pilots' union, the US Airline Pilots Association, went to great lengths to alert passengers of their concerns by taking out a full page ad in USA Today.

The advertisement references an incident last month in Philadelphia.

The US Airways pilots' union alleges a captain with 30 years experience refused to fly a plane she claims had electrical problems.

The union contends, in response, US Airways security escorted her out of the airport and threatened to arrest her crew.

"It was the right decision," said Captain James Ray, spokesman for the US Airline Pilots Association. "The airplane was not safe to fly and yet we have a culture here that tried to reprimand her and tried to force her to fly the plane."

Read more about the allegations from the pilots' union

Ray alleges incidents like the one in Philadelphia have become commonplace at US Airways where management in Tempe routinely second guesses the safety judgment of its pilots.

"It seems at US Airways, while they say safety is their No. 1 concern, and I hope that it is, sometimes it appears economics and on-air performance supersedes that," Ray said.

US Airways wasted little time to respond.

The airline issued a letter to employees saying "...the union's claims are outlandish, false and a disservice to the 32,000 hard-working employees of US Airways."

Read the full letter to employees

US Airways also issued a follow-up statement, citing a response to the incident from the Federal Aviation Administration. Read the full statement

Several passengers at Sky Harbor International Airport told ABC15 on Tuesday they sided with the airline.

"I don't think they'd send us in the air if it wasn't safe," said one unidentified passenger.

"I wonder where they are in their contract," asked John Huff of Prescott. "Still negotiating? So is this part of that?"

But other passengers had real concerns over the union's allegations, some saying they believe the pilots not the airline.

"I believe it," said Bryce Johnson of Gilbert. "I think you do things in the name of business, so I could see that happening."

"I definitely won't fly US Airways again," said Brittany Judge of Grand Junction, Colo.

IAM District 141 Membership Update

AA unions, management jockey for leverage

AA unions, management jockey for leverage

From the IMA Distict 141 Website

There can be no doubt that the AA unions also see this move as leverage for themselves as they try to avoid losing their contracts completely as AA goes to court this week asking the bankruptcy judge to abrogate (terminate) all labor agreements on the airline, and allow AA to set their own wage rates and benefit levels for their employees under the protection of bankruptcy.

Although US Airways has not shared the details of their commitments to workers they do not employ we need to know the expected impact on our Members, as news reports have stated that the company has agreed to reduce AA's goal of cutting 13,000 jobs by more than half.

While the IAM is extremely upset that we have been negotiating for months and still have many issues to resolve before a full agreement can be reached, we imagine the pilots group must be even angrier since they have been negotiating for seven years without success and the company reached a complete labor agreement with another airline's employees in less than six weeks.

Our push for seniority protection in the event of a merger began after the first announcement that US Airways would pursue bankrupt American Airlines. District 141 is working with all levels of our union to determine our legal rights and to coordinate responsive actions.

APRIL 20, 2012­--RICH DELANEY District 141 was informed late last night by US Airways that they had reached agreements with three unions representing employees of American Airlines, including the Transport Workers Union that represents Fleet Service employees, over labor agreements in the event of a merger between the two carriers.

It is unbelievable that the company would secretly negotiate with labor groups outside of their own airline, and reach contractual terms for the future, when the state of labor relations within US Airways is so uncertain.


It is insulting and disrespectful to the employees of US Airways to learn that, while the company's negotiators have been unwilling to agree to terms with their own unions, they announce agreements with outside organizations that they publicly claim are improvements to the contract we are negotiating.

The fact that the company is reaching out to other unions while their own house is not in order surely will become an issue that all parties involved in the takeover of American will question.
It will be the topic of most importance when District 141's Negotiating Team meets with company representatives next week.

Job Security

Since US Airways first indicated their intent to pursue American, we have been focused on the job and seniority protections needed for IAM Members, in the event of this merger or any other consolidation within the industry that impacts our Members.

We have been very clear with the company and our Members that these concerns need to be addressed now.

The protection of our Members is our only concern, and we will withhold judgement on whether a takeover of American Airlines is in the best interest of our Members.


We expect US Airways to put the same effort and concentration in reaching contractual terms with the IAM and the employees of US Airways as they have in reaching agreements with unions that represent employees of another carrier that may or may not ever be part of US Airways.

Our commitment to our Members is to negotiate on their behalf in an open manner that leads to a membership ratification of the terms of an agreement.

We have not, and will not, participate in secret negotiations that only advance the goals of management or moneylenders at the expense of the long term security and lifestyles of our membership.

As a democratic organization we are surprised that the TWU would enter into secret deals that have such an effect on Members.

That is not the IAM way.