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November 09, 2014

APFA president "devastated" by contract failure

Association of Professional Flight Attendants president Laura Glading told flight attendants that she was "devastated" by the no vote on the tentative agreement.

In a message sent to the 24,500 flight attendants at American Airlines and US Airways, she said by going to binding arbitration, the union will meet the pay and benefits of its peers at other legacy airlines although it will not be as valuable as the agreement that was rejected on Sunday.

"It is extremely disappointing to see the improvements our membership was set to receive rejected by such a narrow margin. However, the APFA is above all a democratic organization and the will of the membership is paramount," Glading said.

Binding arbitration meetings are set to begin on Wednesday, December 3.

Keep reading for the full letter from Glading.

-Andrea Ahles

To my fellow Flight Attendants,
Like many of you, I was devastated by the results of the T/A balloting today. It is extremely disappointing to see the improvements our membership was set to receive rejected by such a narrow margin. However, the APFA is above all a democratic organization and the will of the membership is paramount.
As has been made clear, the Negotiations Protocol Agreement requires that we submit the outstanding contractual issues to binding arbitration. This week, the Joint Negotiating Committee will begin preparing the case we will present to the arbitration panel. Although the NPA limits the value of the arbitration award to “market-based in the aggregate,” our team is going to do everything possible to protect our work group. The arbitration is set to begin on Wednesday, December 3rd. In the meantime, we are all going to put our heads down and prepare the best possible case.
What is most important to remember as we go forward is that we are one united work group with one united goal: to improve our lives and livelihoods. And improve them we will. The nature of the agreement we reached with management guarantees that we meet the pay and benefits of our peers at United, Continental, and Delta. While we cannot reach the value of the T/A in binding arbitration, no Flight Attendant will be harmed by the arbitrated contract.
As always, stay tuned to the APFA Hotline for important information and developments.
It has always been, and continues to be, an honor to serve the APFA membership.

In Unity,

Laura Glading
APFA Presiden


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Friend of a No Voter

I do not work for AA but am a friend of a flight attendant. I am not a member of a union not have no direct experience in contract negotiations.

What confuses me is that if the Negotiation Protocol Agreement does in fact tie the hands of the union how could it be agreed to without ratification by the rank and file just as the tentative agreement was.

But even more to the point, since the agreement was noted down in it totality, how can negotiations be limited to the most recent items on the table? That would mean the rank and file have right of approval of specific terms, so why even have it go to a vote? That does not seem logical to me.

I believe that there already is an existing agreement between the APFA and AA regarding AA Flight Attendants just as there is already an agreement for US Flight Attendants and that this is needed to combine the US and AA contracts. It seems to me there will still be pressure on AA management to reach an agreement before arbitration to ensure the contracts are combined.

John Dabbs

Why did YOU put all of us in this situation. You should have said no to one round of negotiations and then binding arbitration. If you read social media, and I know you do, people think you need to step down now.

Krista Spence

The TA failed because it wasn't an industry leading contract. It's time for Laura Glading to resign.

ayn landon

Laura Glading is a poor excuse for a human being. She has lied and betrayed the f/as her last time I hope. Go live in your million dollar home that you got with our blood. You did not get your big bonus this time you sorry traitor.

sally h. beam

how can you be devastated? we read daily the money american is making - ya'll have wheeled and dealed - misrepresented issues on and on.
back door promises from you are ridiculous --- ie.you say if ya'll vote yes we will change that. come on. the majority spoke out - talked with us air charlotte fa's same thing ---nice that a flight attendant in mia had to force you into admitting there would be a mediation of 30 days. we're not asking for much - with the NEW AMERICAN they are wanting us to do catering's job too. Why don'ty you cough up how much ya'll and apfa officers get with a yes vote. you have changed so many rules without a vote - the fa/s on both sides have been at this job a long time --- we obviously take pride in our job and have made it a career. it is pitiful to use scare tactics and bribes. we are not asking for much

ayn landon

This woman is a sorry excuse for a human being. You have lied, raped and sold all ous for your financial benefit. Go to your mansion that you got with our blood. I dont want you or your sorry bunch negotiating for me. You have slept with rhe company and you are disgusting. We are not going to allow this to happen any more. I am sick of American. USAirways is better without any of you. Bigger is not always better. It just allows more snakes to come out. Get out, we will not work with this union. You should be called AUFA, Association of Unprofessional Flight Attendants. You sicken me.

Friend of a No Voter

I am neither an employee an AA and have never been a union member so please excuse my ignorance on some of these matters, but I am a bit confused about this whole process.

As any contract has to be approved by the rank and file, I do not understand how the negotiation protocol could limit negations to only items that were most recently on the table. While agreement was reached with the negotiating committee and the board on all items, it must be approved by the members to take effect. So with a no vote, which rejects the agreement in totality, there is no way of knowing exactly what items are unacceptable to the membership. I just do not see any way to know what to limit further negotiations to.

If in fact the Negotiation Protocol does somehow limit negotiations and takes some items off the table, should that not have been approved by the members just as the overall contract needed to be since it will in fact will be determining much of the contract?

My reading of the Negotiation Protocol clearly allows for further mediation before binding arbitration. (Paragraph A5) The APFA leadership seems to say that arbitration must be next step. It may well be the fact that arbitration ultimately will determine the contract, but it seems to me that AA management, who wants a combined AA US contract would have incentive to go the mediation route. Downplaying the mediation step before arbitration leaves an element of doubt in the truthfulness of communication of union leadership just as when they said that the 40 hour minimum per month was not a negotiable item to only have it taken off the table.

Furthermore, by not detailing exactly where the extra money that the tentative agreement gives above market rates by allowing the claim of confidential information does make it difficult for an informed decision to be made by membership.

When the deal was first negotiated union leadership were patting themselves on the back feeling they had set an industry leading agreement that everyone should be proud of. The only problem, is that despite the self-congratulation, Delta got a better deal (with profit share) within weeks necessitating the APFA to go back and improve a deal that they incorrectly tough was the best deal possible.

The airline industry is a tough one with book and bust periods. In tough times management had to ask for give back from employees to help the company. Sadly, that will no doubt happen again in the next downturn. It seems harsh not to share the good times as well to help offset the sacrifices made in the bad times.

If the Negotiation Protocol gives AA the power to achieve a better deal for itself, why would they even agree to the terms of the tentative agreement knowing they could just stonewall and go to arbitration. The first deal agreed which the union went back to improve after the Delta deal was in fact a below market deal which AA quickly improved. Likewise, the 40 hour minimum was removed. That clearly shows incentive on AA's part to reach agreement before arbitration. Why, if arbitration will give a better deal to AA than the Union.

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