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?