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.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Glading: I support a merger because it benefits me

Our dear Laura recently sat down for an interview with the Fort Worth Star Telegram to talk about the bankruptcy.  It sure sounded like she has her own interests at heart more than that of APFA members.  When asked about why she supports a merger with US Airways, this paragraph of stupidity was her response:

"We have to look at the industry and see what’s happened with other mergers. Having two giant network carriers instead of three makes it even more expensive for the passengers. I think when you have three there is more competition and more competitiveness. I’d also like to point out that despite what’s happening at American, you really need to look at United and Delta and see how they’ve grown and really stabilized and that was a result of growing and getting stronger."

Laura is right about one thing: We do have to look at the industry and see what has happened with other mergers.

Continental/United: Job losses before the merger ink was dry and larger financial losses a year later

Delta/Northwest: The whole company except the pilots went non-union

America West/US Airways: Remember the hub at Pittsburgh?  And the one in Las Vegas?  Neither do the out-of-work HP and US employees whose jobs that merger killed.  And those who remained are still working as two separate companies.  Strike!

And no, Laura- having a third "giant network carrier" would not help passengers.  It would raise fares.  More airlines = more competition.  You're welcome for the Economics 101 lesson.

So what does a girl want?  To be head of a national union and get the pay and benefits that go along with that?  No... Laura works for the people!

And by "the people" I mean US Airways execs Doug Parker and Scott Kirby.

Do we really need a union leader who has been bought and paid for by another airline?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Laura is "baffled"

Laura Glading really shouldn't be allowed to give interviews.  She puts her foot in her mouth more than Joe Biden.  This week she spoke to the Star Telegram, and let's just say it did not go well.  Laura may be "baffled" by Tom Horton's optimism, but many of her own flight attendants are baffled by her irrational grudges and obsession with a US Airways merger.

Following are some gems from the conversation:

"If it takes American Airlines a little longer to restructure in bankruptcy, that's fine with the president of the flight attendants union."

Is Laura mentally impaired?  American would be profitable right now if it weren't for the bankruptcy costs.  The sooner we get out, the better for everyone!  How much is US Airways paying her to read from their script?

"I really think these things take time and they can't be rushed..."

It's been a year.  Do we want to be United and stay in for four years, letting the lawyers bleed us dry?

"I think that there's overwhelming support now for the merger..."

Oh?  Then why have so many AA flight attendants told you to your face that they're against it?  You may be able to lie to the rest of the world, but some of us know the truth.

On the pilot delays: "The flight attendants were incredibly quiet and I don't think there was any ... finger-pointing."

That whole sick out crap cost us money.  Real wages that we use to pay things like rent and buy gas.  Why aren't you sticking up for the people you are supposed to represent?

Thankfully it appears that it was a short interview.  That, or those were the only mildly useful bits the reporter could get out of her.

Here's my point for the day: Laura won reelection by a small margin.  Clearly things have changed a lot since she won.  Knowing what you know now, would you vote for her again?  We need to take action and recall her before she causes even more damage.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Striking Out

In the latest bit of news from the hell that is our beloved airline industry, US Airways flight attendants are going to take a strike authorization vote because they're so fed up with delays and crappy contract offers.  The vote will run between October 31 and November 20, and I'll predict the result now: Yes to a strike.

For those of you less familiar with the airline industry, we have a unique set of rules about strikes.  These rules mean an actual strike is pretty unlikely, at least for the rest of this year.

The bigger takeaway from this is that it's a giant, flashing red light that not even our clueless APFA leadership should be able to miss.  Let me put it this way, if you walked into a room and found a bear and a tiger fighting, would you jump in?  Or would you leave the room?

For reasons that no one can quite figure out, Laura Glading still insists that a merger with US Airways is the best option for us. We know that she's blinded by hatred of AA's current leadership, but at some point AA flight attendants are going to have to wake up and realize that she is leading us into a giant, unresolved mess from the last merger US Airways attempted.  More than FIVE YEARS AGO.

Can someone please explain how jumping into the middle of this cage fight between the US Airways flight attendants and Doug Parker is going to benefit us?  I'm at a loss.

You know it's really bad when even a former US Airways AFA president is warning AA'ers about the merger.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Blame Game

An APFA hotline came out a few days ago, full of the usual bs.  What I've noticed in recent years is that the APFA administration is excellent at placing blame, but not at accepting responsibility or solving problems.  A few examples from Laura's latest ranting:

Blame: "What is important to remember is that we did not get to this place because of the events of the past few months. The situation we are in today is a result of a decade of poor business decisions by management, which resulted in a weaker product and the lowest employee morale this company has ever seen."

Reality: Very few of us like some of the decisions management has made in the last few years, especially the bankruptcy filing.  But Laura acts as if she bears no responsibility for not getting a deal done to avoid that very bankruptcy.  It takes two to tango, sister.

Blame: "And no matter how you look at it, bankruptcy is no friend to labor. It is designed to allow companies to shed their debt and restructure their business plan, all while being protected from those they owe. Unfortunately, we have recently been forced to divert our energy to protection and self-preservation. Over the past decade, our brothers and sisters throughout the industry grappled with the challenges of bankruptcy and consolidation. Just as we stood by them then, they stand by us today."

Reality: There was a degree of self-preservation in striking a deal (finally!) with American's negotiating team.  But at what cost?  We are losing some of the most experienced people we have to early retirement.  And how are other airline's unions standing by us today, exactly?  What help have we received from anyone?

Blame: "Please take care of yourselves and each other. Follow the APFA Hotline for the latest information. Take a moment to sign the petition to the AMR Board encouraging them to support a merger with US Airways. Know that it has never been more important than it is today to remind this management team exactly where you stand."

Reality: Supporting a merger with US Airways doesn't solve anything.  It creates all kinds of new problems.  I'm sure Laura would love to be absolved of all responsibility regarding the fate our company and union, but that's not how accountability works.  She can't just pass the buck to her boyfriend Doug Parker and walk away cleanly.

The next few months are going to be critical for our airline and the future of our careers.  Be vocal, be active.  And if you want a petition to sign, forget about US Airways.  Let's get rid of Laura so that we can install effective leadership.

Friday, September 28, 2012

US Airways flight attendants reject contract deal

What hell is Laura Glading trying to drag us into?

Yesterday flight attendants at US Airways voted to reject a contract offer endorsed by their union.  This is not the first but the second time this year that they have rejected a deal.

This means that FA's at US are still working under separate contracts between East and West - five years after America West and US Air "merged".  The pilots have also not agreed to a joint contract.

For those paying attention, here is the real story: US Airways operates as two airlines, the old America West (West) and the old US Airways (East).  It's such a mess that flight attendants and pilots from one can't work routes or aircraft from the other.

And now our Dear Leader Laura Glading wants to take us straight into this disaster.

I have to ask - if we're going to operate as three separate airlines under a single name, what's really the point of merging?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ten questions about a US Airways merger

It's no secret that we're not huge fans of Laura Glading around here.  In part that's because we're skeptical about her obsessive desire to merge with US Airways.

But in the interest of fairness, we would like to give Laura and the APFA leadership the opportunity to answer some important questions that ALL of us should be asking about a merger with US Airways:

  1. What specifically will you do to protect APFA member seniority during a merger?
  2. Will you use the merger as an opportunity finally fix the injustices done to the former TWA flight attendants?
  3. Can you guarantee that we will have APFA (and not AFA) after the merger?
  4. It took more than four years for the US Airways and America West flight attendants to integrate on a single contract.  Will you give us a reasonable timeline for integration?  Will you stick to it?  How?
  5. Will you promise to hold a fresh leadership election after the groups have been integrated?
  6. Will you put it in writing that there will be NO job losses and NO hub or base closures during the first five years after a merger?
  7. Will you put it in writing that we will get the best provisions from each of our existing contracts?
  8. Will you promise to attend as many bargaining sessions as the company will schedule?
  9. Will you reduce any union officer salaries to the average made by a flight attendant?
  10. Will you promise not to raise dues as a result of the merger?

My friends, until we have answers and written promises about these open questions, it's just not wise for us to support Laura's push for a US Airways merger, or for her to be our leader.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How our dues money is spent

Having been a member of APFA for some years, I have to wonder if indeed "the buck stops" with Laura.  Thankfully union spending is public record and we can take a close look at exactly how she allows our hard earned dues money to be spent.  Here are a few of the choicer ways the APFA spends our money.

  • Salaries over $75,000 per year: 
    • Laura Glading
    • Brett Durkin
    • Denise Pointer
    • Steven Baumert
    • Randy Trautman
    • David Ray
    • Mario St. Michel
    • Kelly Skyles
  • Total spent on officer pay in 2011-2012: $1.15 million
  • The union's total assets: $12 million
  • Money taken in dues: $7.8 million
  • Money spent on "union administration": $1 million

At some point we have to ask ourselves, is this really the best way to spend $41 per month each?

Is Laura Glading really worth $118,000 a year?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cash to quit

So this is where the "leadership" of Laura Glading has taken us.

CBS is reporting that our flight attendants are lining up to take AA's deal that pays $40,000 to retire early.  The deal is that flight attendants with at least fifteen years of service can sign up for the program until September 20.

How did we get here?  Why are we lining up to quit our jobs and take a handout from American's management instead of doing the work that most of us claim to love?  I have a theory, and it centers around bad leadership.

Quite simply, we're here because our leaders in the APFA have not done their jobs.  Negotiations started in 2008 and dragged... on and on and on.  The two sides didn't meet for months at a time (and there's plenty of blame for each side on that point).

After three years of making less progress in negotiations than even the pilots, American declared bankruptcy.  That threw a wrench into everything, and we had to negotiate with the threat of a term sheet hanging over our heads.  We negotiated, and we got a deal.

But it was a bankruptcy deal, and far less than we could have gotten from the company at any time in the three years of negotiations before the Chapter 11 filing.

So now we find ourselves walking away from our chosen profession instead of working to make AA a great airline once again.  We have taken the hush money and moved on.  But all of this could have been avoided, had our leadership had the courage to get a deal done before AA's bankruptcy.  Had the AFPA leaders (and the pilots and TWU) done their jobs, we would probably not be in the situation we find ourselves in now.

There's an old expression: Garbage in, Garbage out.  Considering who we've put into the leadership of our union, are the results really any surprise?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Laura Glading, devoted mother, union leader and merger advocate

There's a ridiculous article floating around the news websites this week about how Laura Glading is "US Airways, AMR merger's biggest advocate", union leader and mom.  Those three things don't have to do with each other in the way you might expect.

Merger Advocate and Union Leader

There's no doubt about this one.  Laura has been pushing HARD for this merger since the first reports of it hit the media months ago.  She has flown out to stand side by side with Doug Parker, and has done everything but claim him as the messiah of American Airlines.

But in this, is she doing her job to protect her flight attendants?  The fact is that she did not negotiate any sort of seniority protection with US Airways.  A merger would be a crapshoot, with AA flight attendants having to fight hard for every spot on a combined list.

And don't forget that since AA has more flight attendants, the APFA would probably be the surviving union.  I'm sure Laura is salivating at all that new dues money so she can pay herself an even higher six figure salary.


Why would the "reporter" even bring this into the story?  Does it have some relevance to her support for a US Airways merger?  The only connection I see is that she condescends to her membership and treats us all like children.  Mother knows best, right Laura?

If we don't act now and remove Laura from office, who knows the damage she could do?  Do you want to trust your future to someone who doesn't have a grasp on the important merger issues?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Glading on Seniority

With all the merger and seniority integration talk recently, our dear Laura has been talking about the screwing of the TWA attendants in 2001.  She said she feels that the list integration (or non-integration, really) was handled poorly.  No doubt every single TWA'er, and many AA'ers, would agree with that.

But as with most things Laura Glading, it's nothing but empty words.  She is trying to position the APFA for a merger with AFA-represented flight attendants at US Airways.  Imagine how much credibility she would lose if she backed a merger that resulted in all of us getting stapled to the bottom of their list.

But if Laura really felt strongly about this issue, why hasn't she said so sooner?

And further, if she truly feels it was an injustice ("really screwed up on that big-time"were her exact words) then why hasn't she used her power as president of APFA to push for reform?

The sad truth is that Laura isn't a flight attendant.  She's a politician.  And politicians are interested in two things: power and reelection.

I believe in judging people by their deeds, not their words.  In Laura's case, her lack of action on this important issue for former TWA'ers shows exactly how she really feels about it.

For shame, Laura.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Who is Laura Glading?

Three quick facts about Laura Glading, the current president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants at American Airlines:

  • She is obsessed with having American merge with US Airways.  For some reason she wants her flight attendants to work for Doug Parker, whose own employees don't like him.
  • She received $115,595 in compensation in 2010-2011.  Those are YOUR union dues.  Do you make even half that much?
  • Her priorities are out of whack.  She let negotiations with the company drag on for years and years.  While the company bears plenty of blame, she was out trying to sell us to US Airways before we even had a bankruptcy deal settled.

We think it's time to recall Laura from office and put in someone who cares about APFA members and will fight for everyone's best interests.

What you can do:

  1. Follow this blog
  2. Vote in our poll (coming soon)
  3. Sign our petition to recall Laura Glading
  4. Post comments letting us know what you think

Laura has a schoolgirl crush on Doug Parker