Proposal to Unify Our Divided Union

Get Through Bankruptcy & Win at the Bargaining Table


January 23, 2012

So that our clearly divided union can once again be united, get through bankruptcy proceedings and win at the bargaining table, we firmly believe that APFA must alter its present course. The idea that 10,000 or so members didn't vote in the national officer election is testament to the problems plaguing our union — mainly member disenfranchisement.

Most importantly, we feel that we need to replace the Jefferies Group with a pro-labor team comprised of Locker Associates (LA) and Corporate Campaign, Inc. (CCI), both based in New York City. Unlike Jefferies, which best represents the corporate and banking interests, LA and its president, Michael Locker, have a stellar history working on behalf of labor unions. This firm will do a much better job representing APFA and will be cost effective. LA specializes in bankruptcy restructuring and buyouts. LA has extensive experience representing unions in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, corporate restructurings and in the airline industry in general.

The firm would advise the union on business strategy, financial analysis and operations to protect the interest of APFA members and minimize concessions. Its objectives would be to:

• Protect jobs, wages, benefits of flight attendants;

• Ensure AMR emerges as a viable business;

• Find ways to reduce AMR's debt burden;

• Explore and develop strategic alliances with other stakeholders to augment the power of the union, including unsecured creditors;

• Strengthen the role of the flight attendants in the bankruptcy by fostering a working relationship with the other unions;

• Identify and evaluate potential AMR buyers to determine their impact on AMR's workers and labor contracts;

• Review the restructuring and business plans proposed by various stakeholders;

• Provide regular reports to leadership and membership on the status of the bankruptcy.

CCI, headed by Ray Rogers, is renowned for its work on behalf of workers and labor unions and will put much needed organizing muscle on the side of APFA. Mr. Rogers is the architect of the corporate campaign concept that empowers unions through innovative organizing strategies and tactics and maximizes involvement of rank-and-file members. BusinessWeek refers to him as a "legendary union activist" and organized labor's archenemy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, considers Mr. Rogers and his strategies as a major threat to the unfettered power of big business.

CCI's job will be to bring together APFA members, other unions, organizations and Occupy Wall Street groups to expose the sham bankruptcy court proceedings and to bring public and political pressure on this particular court for the blatant favoritism shown corporate executives and the banking interests at the expense of employees and their unions. No organization is better suited than CCI with its impeccable reputation to do this.

CCI will also develop a short and long term strategy to hold accountable AMR board members and the institutions they represent as well as AMR executives who made the decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy rather than resolve the company's problems through better management and fair collective bargaining. For example, APFA along with the other unions on AMR's property, should have a large and vocal presence at Citigroup's annual meeting, which is normally held in New York City in April. No organization has greater expertise in organizing labor's presence in shareholder meetings over the last three decades than CCI. It's important to begin this process now to strengthen our union's presence on the AMR property or wherever we may end up in the case of a merger or acquisition.

CCI knows how to garner media coverage for our union and the videographers, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer and journalists on CCI's team will help our union communicate its concerns to political leaders and the broader public.

If necessary, the LA/CCI team can provide APFA with local bankruptcy attorneys who are among the best in the field and would be cost effective.

Through the recommendations above and the following suggestions, we hope that all the political groups within APFA will unite behind one administration. This way our union can function most effectively and efficiently, can be a truly powerful force in representing flight attendants and can win over support and active involvement of the approximate 6,800 members who did not bother to cast a vote and the remaining 4,000 members who refused to make themselves eligible to vote.

If the Liz Geiss slate wins, Laura Glading will remain on the job and be involved in every aspect of the bankruptcy proceedings, Her running mates will also remain to assist her or the union in other ways whether they be assigned to work with the LA/CCI team, lawyers representing the APFA, or in some other capacity.

If Laura Glading wins, Liz Geiss and her running mates will continue to work full time in some capacity to increase and coordinate membership involvement in every aspect of strengthening our union, advocating for our members, and building our union contract.

Ultimately the best option for the membership as a whole would be if one slate bowed out based on the ideas outlined in this proposal. In doing so we can begin the process of preparing our union for the fight ahead thus making our union more unified and stronger than ever.

In closure, we strongly urge the APFA Board of Directors to consider this proposal and convince their respective parties to do the same.

In solidarity,

Rock Salomon (BOS)
Mike Baust (DFW)
Tim Todd (LGA)
Jamie Gillard (MIA)