AFA PIT Local President latest newsletter to PIT members


Dec 29, 2002
Dear Members of Local 40,
I am sending out this correspondence to you to address a few events that have recently occurred, and those events that will take place in the next few months. First, I would like to express how sorry I am that another 890 flight attendants will be furloughed in the next two months. I was under the assumption last January that the company was taking down the staffing to FAA minimums and that was the reason an additonal 807 f/as were furloughed on January 7. In fact, this was called VF#4. Again and again this new management just decides what they deem are necessary business decisions, which end up resulting in lastng and devastating effects on our members, while leaving Labor and Labor leaders out of the loop.
The next few months will be tumultuous times for all of us here at U, and more so for the employees of the Pittsburgh Hub. This management decided to terminate Pittsburgh lease agreements just 20 minutes before our emergence from Bankruptcy. This came as a devastating blow to the local officials of Allegheny County as well as our state officials. They believed this management would uphold their promises a few months back and not terminate the leases, especially, in light of the fact that the local and state representatives of PA have rallied Congress in making every effort to help U stay in business and secure the ATSB guarantee. Not only does U want concessions from Allegheny county airport bond debt, but they also want the County to appropriate $155 million for improvements needed for the LCCMid Atlantic training center, and maintenance hanger for small jets. They are also asking for a new reservations call center to replace the old one in Greentree. In addition to this, they are asking for an additional $255 million for improvements in PHL airport. They are also asking for $16 million in tax relief in Pennsylvania. Keep in mind that much of the debt the PIT airport has is directly associated with the demands from the early 90s when the management at the time insisted on a new airport facility, and not refurbish the old one. They had threatened to leave then if this was not accomplished. In exchange for the debt to Allegheny county and surrounding communities, U infused $500 million dollars to help build the airport and secure the majority of all gates at Pittsburgh International. A few weeks ago, we met with Executive Roddey as a Labor Coalition, and the first statements out of my mouth were Welcome to our world, Executive Roddey. The fate of 9,000 employees rests on the negotiations between the County and U management. I am of the hope that all parties will come to an equitable solution to help preserve our mainline jobs here a U and preserve the integrity of the Pittsburgh Airport business. And then I added some other few choice statements.
Next on my agenda is to call to your attention the NEW company proposed sick policy that has been implemented in April. As I am sure you all have read the MEC E-line THIS IS NOT WHAT THE MEC AGREED TO SEND OUT AND HAVE THE F/AS RATIFY. After much debate and negotiations with this company in March, management implemented what they wanted, and is more penalizing to the f/as than the intent and written language that you all had voted on. We have subsequently filed an MEC grievance, along with ALPA, who has also filed one as well. I am asking f/as to get involved and sign up for informational picketing, that will occur this summer to let the media and public know that the employees here at U have no choice but to come to work sick, as the pay penalties are too deep to endure in addition to all the other pay cuts. If you have any questions with regard to your claim on sick or want just fyi information on how to claim it and what you can claim, please call in-flight department at 412-472-1456, or your supervisor for assistance.

5% deferral (pay cut) was enacted commencing in April, as well. By the time you receive this correspondence, many of you will have received your paychecks and see the erosion of your pay. The Labor Coalition will come together and address the validity of the trigger of this deferral, and will take action if deemed necessary. In my opinion, and with many other labor leaders, the sustaining adverse effects to our airline industry from this war event should not have triggered this pay deferral as the war was very short in duration and the bookings have increased above the levels of before the war. The fuel prices are rapidly declining to pre-war levels, and I am sure that the records are accurate as we bear testimony to full flights, the United code share is performing and generating better revenues than expected according to USAirways reports. Also, keep in mind the troops are returning home, as the war is ,thankfully, over. In addition, both Congressional houses approved a $2.8 billion dollar bail out for this war event for the airline industry where our airline received an unexpected $206 million free tax payer dollars from that bill. I believe this management should do the right thing as United Airlines has done with their employees, and return these funds BACK to the employee ASAP. We did not sign on to give additional funds to U to pay for RJs or to pay for empty seats because of revenue 'ups and downs'...that is why we sit with 33 Vice Presidents in Corporate. to figure out how to address revenue declines and increase the bookings in order to make profits.

We will be having a Local Union Meeting on June 13. (See below for details.) We will be discussing the agenda below along with having as many f/as sign up for the informational picketing that we may have to participate for the purpose of calling media and public attention to the many employee issues here at U in order to get management to pay attention and address the decline in employee spirit and morale.

New Medical Blue Cross PPO (PPO Blue Card Plan)
As many of you have voiced and are experiencing the new medical plan is far below the benefit coverage that we received in our previous plans. Flight attendants as well as other labor group members are stating that they are being denied access to health care coverage and benefits that they once had. When we were in the summer negotiations the labor coalition only agreed to help the company with the health care premiums by contributing more to the escalating costs of health care premiums going forward. We NEVER agreed to change the summary Plan Description coverage with regard to what procedures or surgeries that receive approval that our physicians deem as medically necessary. We agreed to higher co-pays, deductibles, and contributions for the particular plan we chose that would better protect us financially for any illness or injuries. What many folks are attesting to is now they are being denied surgeries and medical procedures by Blue Cross, who deem certain surgeries/procedures as unnecessary, even though you are In Network and contrary to your own physician/specialist's medical opinion. Blue Cross representatives are stating that this is what was negotiated by our carrier. Contrary, the company benefits Reps are stating that this is Blue Cross, and that they cannot intervene as of January 1, 2003. When we were in the summer negotiations, the company stated that by moving towards a national PPO, that employees would not have the worry of going through a gate keeper, and that they could go to any participating health care provider that stayed in-network, without depending on someone to be notified for approval to see a specialist. There are also out -of -network services available. WHAT WE WERE NOT TOLD IS THAT THIS MANAGEMENT HAD IN STORE FOR US A DIFFERENT KIND OF APPROVAL AND AUTHORIZATION BY BLUE CROSS . THEY WOULD NOW DICTATE WHETHER WE CAN HAVE SURGERY OR PROCEDURES OR NOT, REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOUR OWN PERSONAL CARE PROVIDER DEEMS MEDICALLY NECESSARY. Our Local office is collecting any data that you will release to us with regard to being denied coverage for procedures and surgeries and tests, along with prescription medication that use to be covered on a formulary basis. Please remove your personal names from these papers, and just give the facts, not any identifiers. Please send them or fax them to our local office. The labor coalition will meet to discuss the new summary plan description and compare it to the old plan. We will then determine what best course of action together to take to remedy or resolve these medical denials and caps.

The AFA Board Seat
Recently, there has been some controversy over Rakeash Gangwal, our ex CEO, and the AFA Representative Board Seat. His name was presented and brought forward by TWU (whom we share the seat with). The CLT Observer received my name and cell number somehow, and only called me as the local president of PIT and quoted me. Instead of using the CLT Council 89 President's statement, they used mine. We interviewed Mr. Gangwal, and during this interview, he withdrew his name. In my opinion, Gangwal would have been a good choice for the seat. If you need further explanation of my position, please call the local office @724-695-3329. If you asked me if I had to choose between managements (old or new), what do you think my answer would be in hindsight? Perry Hayes, our MEC President sits on the U BOD seat at present, representing AFA/TWU.

ITD Pay Protection
A line holder will receive a trip guarantee for scheduled trips in his/her line that have been cancelled for the month of May. Pay protection will be for cancelled trips in his/her line only. In no case will a lineholder receive pay protection for an amount above f/a trip option other than what would be allowed in a normal month if a f/a has vacation. A lineholder may supplement time by picking up available CRAF trips, if you are on the preference list, however, keep in mind, that you cannot pick up CRAF trips that over project your option time ABOVE the parameters set forth in a CBS message dated 4/17/03 will be INCLUDED in the trip guarantee as stated above. F/As who have vacation, the vacation time is included in that monthly cap, but may project vacation time to the value of one trip, just as normal in a moth of ITD flying with vacation. Reserves who are available for the entire month will receive their guarantee of 61:00/71:00, according to their option. PIW reserves will be awarded open time trips in other ITD bases in accordance with the Priority of Trip Assignment procedures as set forth in Section 11.D.4 of the contract.

Involuntary Furloughs to commence
Management states that due to the war event, and the decreasing of evening flights out of CLT and PIT, along with decreased staffing of the airplanes to FAA minimum, they see fit to reduce our ranks by 261 flight attendants in May, and 629 in June. The furloughee Training dates for Involuntary furloughees is training class of August 15, 1999. The Voluntary Furlough #5 only yielded approx 450 f/as. Please review Section 19 in our contract to be informed of the contractual rights of an INVOLUNTARY furloughee. With regard to pass riding for Involuntary furloughees, you will receive unlimited employee and family travel. However, parents are limited to three years, and no companion passes or travel on other airlines for the furloughee or family. Also, I have e-listed out that The PA Rapid Response is scheduling a meeting on May 9th at the Airport Plaza Hotel on Beers School Road at 11:00 and then again at 2:00 p.m. to give you the services that are available to you to help with reeducation grants through Career Link and the National Emergency Grants appropriated just for airline furloughees. Also Unemployment benefit personnel will be there to assist you in applying for benefits. Please try and attend. The contact person is Cecile Evansic @ 724-471-7233. Also check PIT website. VF 6 has closed and offers less benefit as the previous VFs. Medical coverage for 90 days, instead of 120, furlough duration is a minimum of 1 year and can be extended beyond that, unlimited term passes privileges for 24 months only.

Staffing levels decreased to FAA minimums
Which will commence in June. Please review the parameters for understaffing pay protections, and file that claim. Remember, you have a contractual right to expedite service procedures. (Sec. 3-4) if necessary.

AFA will vote to affiliate with CWA in the Fall

Due to the severe financial impact that the furloughs of at least two major airlines have had on our union, AFA finds themselves at the brink of financial ruin. We will either vote to affiliate or possibly cease to exist as a stand alone union. The AFA Board of Directors will evaluate the pros and cons of affiliation and will vote at the next Board of Directors meeting. At present, we have contacted many union organizations with regard to affiliation, CWA was the most receptive to AFA's plight. They will infuse $85,000 monthly into AFA, and if we decide not to affiliate with CWA, these funds become a loan and must be repaid.

New Sick Policy implementation
As of April 1, 2003 this management implemented their version of the new sick policy. As what has been written out on the MEC E-line and hotline, this new policy is NOT what is in the winter revised restructuring agreement that you voted and ratified. We have filed an MEC grievance, and in the meantime, please refer your questions regarding this company new policy to your team supervisors. ALPA has also filed an MEC grievance for their new sick policy, as well.

The F/A Equity Distribution
The Stock option first distribution will be sometime in June. There will be 4 distributions, first in June, and subsequent every January 1 through year 2006. After much debate and careful consideration on how these funds will be distributed, using a model similar to United's two tier system, the MEC made the decision. For those folks who were on the property as of July 1, 2002 and were active will be part of the first distribution, including those on OJI, FMLA, PCL, Maternity, Sick, NOP status. If you were on a Voluntary or Involuntary furlough BEFORE July 1, 2002, or LTD will not be a part of the first distribution in June 2003. All other furloughees will be included for the June distribution, even the Invol that occurred subsequent to that date of July 1, 2002.

Defense Fund (Strike Fund)
*Unions will not be able to meet any of these challenges unless we function more like a movement for justice (rather than like an insurance agency). Our dues are not a fee we pay to have someone else take care of us. Our dues are one of many ways of pooling of our resources together. They are just the beginning of an opportunity to balance the power in the dictatorship of our workplace. If we don't actually involve ourselves in the life of our unions, we end up with situations where our resources are squandered or worse. Hey, as the game show used to go: This is YOUR life! Don't be a spectator, be a participant!

The real question is, can we pool the resources of our time and energy? Can we get outside of the box of the standard business or service model of unionism? It's the only thing we can do that will balance the playing field here.

The Defense Fund balloting has been voted on and passed by our MEC in 2001. No other time in all my years as a laborist have I seen more of a need to have a strike fund, and to fund it fiercely and with great speed. In a few months you will be asked whether you agree to have and make yearly contributions to this fund that is solely for the purpose of pay protecting USAirways flight attendants during any job actions they may prove to be necessary in future section 6 negotiations. In January 2009 our contract becomes amendable and we should have a nice amount in this fund. I will be sending out more information in the future with more details. I hope you all will agree that it is necessary to have this in order to have a voice in our professions with regard to safety, quality of life and livable wages. This is the only way to create balance in the work place between management interests and union employee's interest in the environment we live in today.

Local 40 Union Meeting

The Local 40 Union meeting will be held this time at the HYATT at the airport on Friday, June 13, 2003. Time will be from 11:00 to 4:00. Please bring your ID for admission.

  • AFA Affiliation with CWA - Paul MacKinnon AFA International Sec/Treasury
    New sick policy dialogue with members - MEC Vice President
    AFA Equity distribution discussion
    Strike fund
    Concerns regarding Pittsburgh Hub
    Displacement concerns
    Summer and Winter concession discussions by members
    New Business

Management Report Compensation of top executives
According to the SEC 10-K filings and reported compensations of the top senior executives of 2002, Dave N. Siegel made $1.45 million in total compensation (not bad for a Bankrupt airline on the verge of liquidation and only being on the property one year). Severance separation package for Siegel is $1.8 million if he leaves for any reason, in addition to his stock distribution. Jerry Glass, Senior Exec. VP of employee Relations received $478,000, N. Cohen, Chief Operating Officer received $828,000, Al Crellin, Exec. Vice President of Operations received $589,000. Grand total VPs from 23 as of January 2002 to 34 as of June 2003 for a reduced work force that went from 46,000 on Sept. 11th 2001 to approx 27,000 employees as of June 2003.

Finally, I would like to express what a privilege it is to represent the members of PIT/PIW. Your dedication and loyalty to this company and each other is more than praise worthy. You continue to rank #1 as been reported in all Customer Service categories. I recognize the suffering that many members are experiencing with these concessions, along with many who have lost their jobs and will possibly in the future. We now have emerged from Bankruptcy. With that news should manifest great relief. However, for many, the USAirways saga continues. The enormous stress related to the speculation of whether Pittsburgh will remain a mainline Hub or a Hub at all in any form is now in the hands of our local and state representatives. And we all know what dealing with this management entails.

I am also asking all flight attendants to write to this management and voice your concerns regarding the sick policy, 5% pay deferral, Medical denials for procedures that are deemed necessary by your physician, and any other issue that effects your spirit and morale.
[email protected] - [email protected] - [email protected] - [email protected]
[email protected] - [email protected] - acrellin@usairwayscom
When you write include them ALL.

In conclusion, I leave you with this: To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield - Lord Alfred Tennyson

For us here at local 40, our commitment to you in representing your needs and interests are unwavering. We will continue to be your voice and strive for fairness, reasonability, human decency, in the work place, and use every forum and venue necessary to achieve our goals.

United we Stand,

Teddy Xidas
LEC President PIT/PIW
[email protected]

* Quote underlined: written by Rodney Ward, Involuntary furloughed flight attendant who writes for Labor Notes,

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Thank you for putting Local 40''s news letter on here. It is nice to see that someone in the union is actually paying attention to what is going on and keeping the members informed. It seems to me with all of the things that are going on day in and day out SOMEONE other than Local 40 Pres would keep us informed with more than just rumors. At least I know my union dues are going for something.
Agree or disagree with the news letter...these are the facts.

Nice post PITbull. Thank you.

--I know tons of Mechanics that would like to have Teddy Xidas representing them.
Yes, it would be nice to have some info.from someone, and a Union that would be a voice for a group. The IAM at Local #2444 is a real joke, talk about "ZERO" action or info.... What ever management wants, they get, talk about no backbone!!
You don''t hear squat from IAM 141-M. They suck as a union.I can''t wait for the day they are voted out.
On 4/29/2003 10:19:15 PM cat 111 wrote:

You don''t hear squat from IAM 141-M. They suck as a union.I can''t wait for the day they are voted out.

Not really, you hear them telling you to be thankful you have a job.
On 4/29/2003 10:19:15 PM cat 111 wrote:

You don''t hear squat from IAM 141-M. They suck as a union.I can''t wait for the day they are voted out.

Awww come on hear from them twice a month when they take the dues from your paycheck! Word is the union going to have an engine on display at the Union trade show in Pittsburgh this week, its a shame it was not assembled by U members, only QEC''d.
It''s been apparent for some years now, the only union with any stones is AFA, not ALPA or IAM.

You go right on with your bad selves!