Wednesday, January 23, 2013

AFA to fight merger election

This might be the best piece of news I've heard in a long time.  I've spent the last several days confirming and reconfirming, and two knowledgeable people (in a position to know) tell me that the AFA is gearing up to fight to represent a combined American-US Airways flight attendant group.

I'm still not in favor of a merger, but if it's going to happen we might as well get something big out of it.  This will be our chance to get rid of Glading once and for all.

Right now the AFA represents about 6,700 FA's at US Airways, and the APFA represents about 15,000 of us at American.  At first the numbers would seem to be overwhelmingly in APFA's favor.  But strong support of AFA at US Airways, and growing unhappiness with APFA leadership at American, have convinced AFA leadership to challenge the APFA for representation rights for the combined group.

No doubt Laura and her cronies will pull every dirty trick they can think of to hold on to power.  But there is enough dissatisfaction among AA FA's that we have a shot of kicking them out, with AFA's help.

Come on, AFA!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

APFA membership and the MOU

It won't be any surprise to regular readers of this blog, but I have a bone to pick with APFA leadership.

Everyone knows that last year we came to an agreement with US Airways about pay and benefits after a merger (if that happens, which looks more and more likely).  Earlier this month we reached a MOU (memorandum of understanding) about the merger. This document was negotiated in secret, and is being kept secret from APFA members, with no opportunity for us to vote on it or even discuss its terms.

Why does our leadership insist on operating in secret?  And why should we trust that these "leaders" like Laura Glading really have our best interests at heart?  A very reliable source told me that some of Laura's people were out shopping for new office space recently.  Is that where their focus is - on securing the new corner office?  By all appearances they do not give a damn about the membership!

The APFA Code of Conduct states that "The APFA seeks an atmosphere wherein all flight attendants conduct themselves in a manner which promotes unity and strength..."  Where is the unity in negotiating a secret agreement?  Where is the strength in keeping members totally in the dark?

Union are supposed to be democratic entities.  And a merger would be a very big deal for our careers.  We deserve a vote on the MOU, bottom line!

Maybe if there had been a merger vote in 2000, the TWA flight attendants would not have been screwed.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

EX-TWA flight attendants in rebellion

This has been brewing for a very long time, so I'm not surprised to see that ex-TWA FA's are in full blown rebellion over how they were treated during the TWA "merger".

To recap (and for those not as familiar with the story), American bought TWA out of bankruptcy in 2000.  At the time, there were minimal protections for seniority during airline mergers.  The good folks of TWA had their names stapled to the bottom of the AA seniority list.  That meant that the highest seniority people from TWA were still lower than the lowest seniority person at AA.  In a job where seniority determines things like when you work, where you work, and when you can take vacation, this was a huge blow.

Now, with the prospect of another merger (with US Air) on the horizon, the former TWA'ers are asking Congress to intervene.  Our dear Laura had this to say:

"The union in question, the APFA, has acknowledged that it 'really screwed up' on the integration of the TWA employees when American acquired its company.

'When we merged with TWA, the company did give them top pay but we stapled them to the bottom of our seniority list,' APFA President Laura Glading said in an interview last year with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 'That was a mistake. But we did.'

The APFA says now that it is doing 'everything possible to protect the interests of each of our members,' including the former TWA flight attendants."

What a load of crap!

It's nice that Laura admits that it was a mistake to marginalize the TWA flight attendants.  But she is now the APFA President. She could right this wrong with a stroke of her pen.

While I'm not a TWA'er, I totally support their cause, and wish them luck in pursuing this with members of Congress.  Lord knows Laura Glading isn't going to lift a finger to fix this problem.


Friday, December 28, 2012

More secret negotiations

Have you heard anything new about the US Airways merger?  No?  Neither have we.  While the rumors are flying around fast and furious, our beloved leaders at the APFA are now taking part in secret, closed door negotiations about a merger.  Several media reports have stated that our flight attendant leadership has joined the pilots in merger talks.

Isn't it good to know that our leaders are off in back rooms making secret deals?

What we need is transparent leadership, not back room dealing.  Laura Glading is as much of a "good old boy" as anyone in the executive suite at American.  We know what Laura's interests are: a bigger paycheck, more members and a larger throne to sit on.

But what does Laura know about our interests?  If she knows anything, she certainly isn't saying it.  In fact, the lack of communication about what is going on behind closed doors is incredibly disturbing.  There's no accountability and no transparency.

If we wanted that, we'd go into politics!

Open the door, Laura.  And let us have a voice in important decisions about our future.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

APFA not earning our dues

As usual, our talented leaders at the APFA have given themselves raises.  But what happens when they don't do their job and earn their fat salaries?  The natives get restless.  This screenshot is from a Facebook group discussion by APFA members about a prefunding refund of employee contributions.

So what exactly IS the APFA doing?  What a mess.  Our dues money at work!

Then again, I'm sure Laura needed a new Prada bag.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Laura Glading refuses to take criticism

That's really the only way I can understand what she and the APFA have been trying to do recently, which is to shut me down.  In the best imitation of a dictator, Laura has ordered her cronies to find out who I am and come after me to shut me up. Obviously I am hitting close to home with these posts if she is so scared to have a critical voice out there.

Last week they cried to Twitter and had my account shut down, even though Twitter allows parody accounts, which mine obviously was.  Laura must have promised them free drinks for life on any American flight.

Last time I checked we lived in a Democracy, where all voices mattered.  APFA is supposed to be a democratic union, but more often than not Laura runs it like a mob, sicking her thugs on anyone who dares disagree with her.

Well Laura, I'm still here.  And still blogging.  And more and more American flight attendants are finding this blog every day. Good luck shutting me down.  You'll need it.

Recall Laura Glading!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

US Airways flight attendants vote to strike

The headline says it all... flight attendants at US Airways have taken a vote and decided to strike.

That doesn't mean that a strike is going to happen soon (the holiday travel season is safe.)  Federal law makes it very hard for airline workers to actually strike.  But the vote does mean that their contract negotiations are going nowhere.  After seven years of nothing (starting with the America West merger) they are STILL working on separate contracts and operating as two airlines. To say nothing of not having recovered a cent from the concessions during the two US Air bankruptcies.

The point here is that Laura Glading wants to drag us into this mess:

NO contract
NO raises
NO movement

Laura and her cronies may get big pay raises because they'll be in charge of a much larger union.  But we're the ones working the flights... what do we get, other than a giant mess that US Air has been trying to solve for seven years?

Monday, November 19, 2012

US Airways Flight Attendants Say "What About Us?"

Last week US Airways flight attendants picketed to protest their slow moving contract negotiations.  For those not keeping score, their contract is now eight years old and getting more stale by the day.  And don't forget that they've never really merged America West with US Airways, at least where the flight attendants (and pilots) are concerned.

I loved this quote:

“Doug Parker has his eyes on (a contract) with American, but he needs to finish this one first,” said Cathy Campbell, president of the Charlotte chapter of the Association of Flight Attendants, at the demonstration at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. “His employees have brought him record profits.”

Of course Parker should be finishing the contract with his own people first.  But for the last six months he's been hellbent on buying the support of our unions at American instead of taking care of his own.  That was a bad strategy, and is now coming back to haunt him.

What's most amazing to me is how the union leaders at AA have closed their eyes to reality.  If Parker is treating his own people so badly, and a merger means that we become "his" people, what does that say for our future?

Time to stop being shortsighted and tell our union leaders to stand up for our interests.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Merger Beware

File this in the category of "you never know what you're going to get into with airline merger."

Delta, which bought Northwest from bankruptcy about five years ago, is now going to shut down a subsidiary called Regional Elite Airline Services.  Many of the jobs that will be lost will be in Minneapolis, a former Northwest hub.

During their merger discussions, Northwest employees raised the question of Minneapolis getting downsized because of Delta's nearby hub at Detroit.  Their concerns were poo-poo'd at the time.  For years Minneapolis has been losing routes or seeing aircraft gauge downgrades, so the writing has been on the wall for a while.  But it goes to show that promises made during airline mergers are often tossed out the window, especially unrealistic promises like protecting jobs and hubs.

So where would that leave the flight attendants (and all employees) at a combined American Airlines-US Airways?  If US Airways bought us, would we have to sacrifice JFK in favor of Philadelphia?

Who do you trust?  Laura Glading?  Doug Parker?  Or your own good judgment?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Not everyone supports an AA-US merger

We all know how Laura has been outspoken in favor of merging with US Airways.  And it's not just her crush on Doug Parker, either.  Laura stands to gain hugely from a merger by becoming head of a huge flight attendants union.

But it looks like some of her would-be colleagues over at US Airways have a different perspective.  A recent article detailed how US Airways people are frustrated with their CEO has ignoring them and making deals with our unions here at AA:

"Discord at US Airways runs counter to the image of union- management unity that Parker has sought to project. He moved in April to win support of American labor groups, which failed to agree on cost-saving contract concessions in talks starting as long as five years before AMR’s Nov. 29 Chapter 11 filing. 

“Employees are a foundational issue,” said Deborah Volpe, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA at the former America West. “If you don’t take care of the foundation, then everything else tends to crumble eventually."

It sounds like Parker has been totally ignoring his foundation over at US Airways.  By spending his time cosying up to Laura Glading and other union leaders at AA, he has angered the people whose support he needs to get a merger completed.

And to compound that, US Airways last merger (with America West) still hasn't been finalized.  The flight attendants work as if they were at two separate airlines, more than five years after the "merger".

Do we want to walk into that level of chaos and confusion in a merger?  We know why a merger would be good for Laura, but she has not explained why it would be good for the rest of us.  While she collects her fat union salary, we'll be fighting hub downsizing and base closures that Parker would insist on to save the "new" American Airlines money.