The Company was "Incorrect" in its Statements, Admits APFA
Some Members are Calling for a Reballot
August 29, 2012
There's mounting concern among many who voted YES to AMR's Tentative Agreement (LBFO) that they did so because they were pressured by the APFA to ratify something that (1) clearly lacked information, (2) provided unclear language, (3) allowed for the changing of language during the voting process, and (4) at times misstated very important language altogether. This is not my assumption; this fact is supported by Leslie Mayo's 8/28 APFA Hotline Message, which states:
"AA was incorrect in stating that it would issue the lump sum check on August 31st," further adding that "In addition, the company's portion of pre-funding was contingent on both the ratification of the LBFO and the successful conclusion of the 1114 process."
Without reiterating the issues that led to litigation in 2003, let me emphasize that litigation could have easily been avoided had the union taken corrective action to address concerns that members' rights may have been violated during the 2003 voting process. It wasn't the union's actions that led to litigation, it was the union's unwillingness to correct those actions when these issues over rights became known.
Aside from members filing internal charges over the 2003 Restructuring, certain APFA Board members also took corrective action to address membership concerns by calling for an Emergency Board of Directors Meeting so as to vote on a Resolution to reballot the membership. That resolution failed 14-3. Had that resolution passed, everything we know today would be different. There would have been no lawsuit and there would be far less distrust and discord.
Today, as we face a reenactment of 2003, the APFA Board has, by their own admission, the authority and the power to take corrective action so as to address concerns over the latest voting process. All the Board has to do is call for an Emergency Board of Directors Meeting as they did in 2003 and pass a resolution to reballot the membership. Based on that action, APFA could then file an Objection with the Court prior to the September 5th deadline asking the court to ignore the LBFO temporarily until the union satisfies it's constitution. Taking this simple course of action will (1) rebuild trust that the LBFO is in fact the best the union can negotiate, and (2) send a message to the company that the membership is truly unified. Furthermore, it allows APFA to act in solidarity with the APA, which in this fight seems to be critical.
For years I've listened to union governance complain that litigation was a disruptive and destructive decision made on the part of a small group of "disgruntled" employees. Never once did APFA governance mention the fact that the union itself instigated litigation by refusing to take corrective action so as to avoid issues that clearly violated members' rights. Then, like today, members are pointing out these issues in the hopes that our union takes corrective action.
Lastly, there's a video which shows an individual terminated by American more than a year ago voting on the LBFO. Whether it represents an isolated incident can't be determined, but the fact that this individual was sent a ballot in the first place raises questions about the validity of the vote.
For those interested in seeing a Resolution to reballot the membership put forward, please contact your local APFA Chairperson.
There's also a Online Petition objecting to Judge Lane's acceptance of the LBFO on the grounds of misinformation stating:
"...many flight attendants were misinformed by APFA on these roadshows that USAir was going to merge during bankruptcy and they would not keep the LFBO for 6 years, but only a short time until the contract with USAir was implemented. APFA furthermore did not inform the flight attendant of the specific final language of the LFBO, which many did not know needed to be decided on yet. Furthermore, APFA told flight attendants the merger was more likely to happen if they voted for the LFBO, which is not the case."
APFA Hotline : Date of Signing Lump Sum
We understand FAs are anxious for their lump sum payment. Once the court approves the LBFO, that becomes our date of signing. AA was incorrect in stating that it would issue the lump sum check on August 31st. If you do not want your Lump Sum to be subject to the current 401k deduction set for your AIP payments, please reset your deduction. We will announce the deadline for making a 401(k) election change as soon as that date as known.
APFA Hotline: Pension Freeze, Pre-Funding Refunding
... the company's portion of pre-funding was contingent on both the ratification of the LBFO and the successful conclusion of the 1114 process. The 1114 process is in its beginning stages so the company's portion will not be refunded to members until and unless it successfully is successfully concluded, and therefore will not be issued at the time of our pre-funding refunds.
Jetnet: Key Topic - Prefunding
Today, APFA-represented employees at American Airlines contribute an amount each pay period to a trust that is used to pay for the employees' retiree medical costs upon retirement. The company also matches the employees' prefunding contributions.
APFA SPECIAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING MAY 29, 2003
Sheraton Grand Hotel Irving, Texas 75063
Resolution Tally Sheet: YES: 3 PASSED ( ) NO: 14 FAILED (√ )
WHEREAS, the APFA Constitution is the supreme law of the APFA; and
WHEREAS, Article I Section 8.C. states, "All APFA officers and representatives shall enforce this Constitution;" and APFA Special Board of Directors Meeting May 29, 2003 Page 2 Resolution #3
WHEREAS, Article III, Section 3.A. states, "the Board of Directors is authorized and empowered to take any and all lawful action CONSISTENT with [the] Constitution;" and
WHEREAS, Article III, Section 3.A. specifically defines the scope of authority of the Board of Directors, to quote, "The Board of Directors is authorized to INTERPRET this Constitution and to establish, prescribe and adopt such other policies which may be CONSISTENT with this Constitution;" and
WHEREAS, Article III, Section 1.B. provides specific procedures for any changes to the Constitutional language, to quote, "An affirmative vote by a majority of those active members in good standing who return valid ballots shall be required for the passage of any proposed alteration, addition, deletion or amendment," and, in so stating, proscribes any APFA officer, representative or agent from unilaterally altering, adding to, deleting from or amending said document; and
WHEREAS, during the month of March 2003, the APFA entered into discussions with AMR management which led to the Restructuring Participation Agreement (RPA), a document proposing the drastic alteration of rates of pay, work rules and benefits contained in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), as ratified by membership vote on September 12, 2001; and
WHEREAS, Article XI Section 1.E.2., states that "[the] time limit for the return of ratification ballots (the balloting date) shall not be less than 30 days after the mailing of the ballots to the respective membership;" and
WHEREAS, Article VI Section 5.A., provides for the specific method with which the membership shall be balloted, to quote, "All balloting of the membership provided for in this Constitution shall be conducted by secret mail ballot, except during a strike or lockout;" and
WHEREAS, the APFA Board of Directors (BOD) met via teleconference call on March 19, 2003, and during that call, APFA Vice President Jeff Bott introduced a resolution, to be know as resolution 1.a. of that date, which proposed an abbreviated time frame for the membership's consideration of the changes to the CBA; and
WHEREAS, resolution #1a of March 19, 2003, also changed the Constitutionally mandated method in which this abbreviated balloting would take place, by providing for telephonic balloting, in violation of the Constitutionally-mandated mail balloting; and
WHEREAS, several of those voting in favor of resolution #1a cited the need for immediate action due to the "emergency" nature of an allegedly imminent AMR bankruptcy filing, the Board of Directors is neither allowed to premise its Constitutionally-violating actions on a perceived "emergency," nor is the term "emergency" defined in the Constitution, nor is the Board of Directors empowered to concoct its own definition of what might constitute an "emergency;" and
WHEREAS, resolution 1a was passed by a majority vote of the APFA Board of Directors on Marcy 19, 2003, and despite the stated Constitutional proscriptions, the Board of Directors continued to act in an ultra vires mode, taking actions outside their scope of authority; and
WHEREAS, on March 10, 2003, by majority vote of the Board of Directors, resolution #2 was passed, directing "the President and the negotiating team...to take any and all actions needed to reach a negotiated consensual agreement with American Airlines, Inc., in order to avoid bankruptcy." Nothing therein abrogated the membership's Constitutionally mandated right to vote, as required in Article XI Section 1.D., which states, "A proposed collective bargaining agreement shall be ratified by an affirmative vote by a majority of those active members in good standing covered by the applicable Agreement who return valid ballots;" and
WHEREAS, Article XI, Section 1.C., requires that the "affect membership shall be given the complete changes to a Collective Bargaining Agreement PRIOR TO or at the START OF the balloting period; and
WHEREAS, the final contractual language was not available to the APFA membership until April 8, 2003, at the very earliest, accessible that evening via the APFA website, fully 8 days into the balloting process, with printed mail copies not yet finished, or mailed, as of that date; and
WHEREAS, the company continued to change the terms of the RPA, without allowing the APFA and extension to the balloting deadline; and
WHEREAS, it is clear and irrefutable that the complete language of the RPA was unavailable to the membership throughout the balloting process, and that the RPA was, in fact, ever-changing throughout that process; and
WHEREAS, Article VI Section 5.E., states, "Ballots must be returned to the APFA by the time and date specified and will be retrieved from the appropriate post office box by members of the National Ballot Committee. Ballots received after the time and date specified shall be considered as void," and, clearly, neither authorizes the APFA, nor its officers, to unilaterally extend a balloting, nor does it imply such authorization; and
WHEREAS, via teleconference call of April 15, 2003, the Board of Directors, by majority vote, decided to extend the voting process until 5:00 pm CDT, Wednesday, April 16, 2003, and during that teleconference call, the specific numerical results of the balloting as reported by the American Arbitration Association at 10:00 a.m. CDT, were released to the APFA Board of Directors prior to voting on resolution #1; and APFA Special Board of Directors Meeting May 29, 2003 Page 4 Resolution #3
WHEREAS, the Constitution specifically proscribes the extension of a balloting, all votes cast during said illegal balloting extension were VOID, as a matter of the contract law that exists between the membership and the leadership of the APFA, as indicated by the clear Constitutional language; and
WHEREAS, the APFA membership subsequent to the Board of Directors vote of April 15, 2003 had been subjected to extreme interference, pressure and threats by American Airlines management and personnel, in a concerted Company effort to effect the vote; and
WHEREAS, the Company interference further eliminated any possibility of an accurate balloting of the will of the membership, and
WHEREAS, Article IX Section 6.A. states, " The National Balloting committee (NBC) shall oversee all facets of all elections and balloting in accordance with the APFA Constitution and Federal law," and further states that the "duties of the NBC shall include...certifying results of the balloting to the Secretary;" and
WHEREAS, the APFA HotLine of April 16, 2003, stated, "The American Arbitration Association has certified the results of the balloting for the APFA/AAL Restructuring Participation Agreement," while, clearly, the duty of certification of t he balloting results rested, under Constitutional authority, with the NBC; and
WHEREAS, Article X Section 4.B. states, "The President shall sign and tentatively accept all Collective Bargaining Agreements on behalf of the APFA provided however, that such acceptance shall be confirmed by the Executive Committee or Board of Directors, and ratified by the affected membership as provided for in Article XI Section 1.D. or Section 2.E. of this Constitution;" and
WHEREAS, Article XI Section 1.D. states, "A propo sed Collective Bargaining Agreement shall be ratified by a majority of those active members in good standing covered by the applicable Agreement who return ballots;" and
WHEREAS, Article XI Section 1.F., states, "Any letters of agreement or side letters entered into between an employer and the APFA during or outside of the Collective Bargaining negotiations which alter the rates of pay, rules or working conditions for covered Flight Attendant employees shall be subject to ratification by the Executive Committee. If the Executive Committee determines that the alteration is substantial, such letter of agreement or side letter shall be submitted for RATIFICATION TO THE MEMBERSHIP covered by the applicable Agreement pursuant to the procedures outlined in this Article XI; and
WHEREAS, the right to vote is an inalienable right of every APFA member, as required in the Constitution; and APFA Special Board of Directors Meeting May 29, 2003 Page 5 Resolution #3
WHEREAS, that right can neither be traded away nor bartered by any representative in exchange for any contract provision; and
WHEREAS, the APFA Board of Directors acted in ultra vires mode by authorizing a letter of agreement, representing drastic changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, without following the specific Constitutional provisions listed above; and
WHEREAS, the current underfly negotiations are premised on an agreement illegally and unlawfully imposed upon the APFA membership, in violation of the APFA Constitution; and
WHEREAS, any agreement with regard to underfly provisions represents a substantive change to the RPA, the vote for which is NULL and VOID, under the APFA Constitution.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the RPA, in total, with ALL changes, be sent back to the membership for ratification; and that said ratification process be conducted in accordance with any and all applicable provisions of the Constitution, including, but not limited, to, duration of balloting, method of balloting, and oversight by the NBC; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the APFA Board of Directors authorizes the APFA President to take any and all action necessary to assure acknowledgement of the reballoting by the Company; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the APFA Board of Directors authorizes and directs the APFA President to take any and all action necessary to protest the Company's interference during the aforementioned balloting process.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that ratification of this resolution shall not be construed as exonerating conduct based upon the same nucleus of operation as stated herein.