Holly Hegeman FA smackdown!

Sep 18, 2007
As Holly notes there seems to be a small but very loud (and growing?) contingent of ignorant AA and US flight attendants who don't know an opportunity when they see it and continue to willfully ignore the forces at play both in this merger and the industry at large. They, whomever they may be, are very active all over the AAFA pages on Facebook, even going so far as to brainwash the new hires into voting against the TA to serve whatever personal agenda they may have for seeing it fail. Whether is is a grudge against APFA, Laura Glading, common sense (or maybe they just really love the idea of going to arbitration so they can get less money?) I have no idea, but her dressing-down of this self-destructive line of thinking is too glorious not to share:
Holly Hegeman , Plane Business.
American Airlines Flight Attendant Contract Follies: Ebola Hysteria Has Migrated To The FAs
Welcome my friends to the American Airlines Flight Attendant Follies. (Not to be confused with the previous American Airlines Bankruptcy Follies.) However, I will admit, there is a strain of delusion, emotion, and rampant "not-knowing what the hell is going on" that seems to be strangely familiar.
This week, I present two, just two letters from a pile that I received over the last week from flight attendants. Some emails appear to be written by individuals, while others seem to have been written as part of a larger campaign to smear the union and its leadership.
Right off the bat, I have to say -- you can't underestimate the Ebola hook here. Just as we saw happen on the political spectrum the last few weeks, as the Ebola situation escalated, and all the nut cases came out of the woodwork, so it seems a dedicated group of flight attendants at American have also apparently forgotten how to think clearly, speak coherently, or consider a problem rationally.
I've read the Facebook posts. I've read the emails. It is as though the proposed tentative agreement, management, union leadership, and the Ebola virus suddenly got all wrapped up in one evil package over the last several weeks.
Granted, in any union election we always have three groups -- the large relatively quiet group in the middle, and then the two more aggressive groups on either end, with the "no voters" always the loudest.
Unfortunately, here, the "no" group seems to have been energized of late, and I see no rational reason why this should be the case.
So let's move on, shall we, and see what our totally unscientific group of flight attendants have to say about an industry-leading contract. An industry-leading contract that is now sitting at a premium to what the union will start with -- if this goes to arbitration.
Oh, and an industry-leading contract that was just altered over the weekend to the benefit of the flight attendants, as the company agreed to modify its proposed 40 hour a month minimum hour requirement for flight attendants to receive vacation, sick pay, and health benefits. The company changed the requirement to an annual 480 hour requirement, which will allow much more flexibility in scheduling.
Were flight attendants happy with the news? You would think so, wouldn't you?
But no, Monday I was shaking my head when I received feedback that the very people who had been complaining about the 40 hour requirement were now complaining about the change -- saying that it has come too late. That the union had said the contract on the site was final language. (No, read the site. That is not the case.) That Laura Glading should not have agreed to the change.
It came late because the company wants a contract and thought this would help get one.
As for Laura, I would have considered her derelict in her duties as union president if she had not jumped on an opportunity to modify the one contract item that seems to be causing the most heartburn for her members.
But what struck me the most over the last several days is the sheer overwrought emotional crap that is being distributed -- marketed as "the truth." That's right. I can catch Ebola even if you sneeze 20 miles away.
A reminder: I don't have a dog in this hunt. If I look at this process from the view of an analyst, there is not much downside to speak of for the company no matter which way it goes. Although yes, the company wants a contract, as they want the merger process to move along as quickly as possible. That is a positive for everyone.
As for the continued chant of "I'll take my chances in arbitration -- I'm voting no" -- the arbitration process is capped and floored. The current contract's total value is now way above where it will be if the process starts from scratch in arbitration. I still don't understand why many flight attendants cannot grasp this.
But, even now more than was the case before, because of the modification that was made over the weekend, if I were a flight attendant, I would not risk losing what is already there -- including a hefty premium the company threw in at the beginning as a sweetener.
But, oh, those are just pesky facts.
Of all the insanely strange emails I've received, I offer up two for your consideration.
"Your article is being passed around in all the private AA forums. I'm still voting no. Things are so bad I can't vote yes. I'm starting to hate this company. Nonstop 8 hour layovers in industrial parks with no food options. Hard 420. F that. It's bullshit. It's always been bad and now it's getting worse. I just can't believe HOW WORSE.
Long days. Nothing to eat. EBOLA. Still not making the money we were before 9/11.
It's like we've gotten used to this crap and we just keep on going, keep taking more BS. I could go on and on and ON.
I'm tired. So tired I can barely smile some days.
Okay I'm done venting. But one day I'll write about it…ONE DAY.
ANNNNNND.. one more thing…sorry….Just because it's doable on paper - legal (just barely) doesn't mean it's good or should be done consistently. I wish management would try working my job for a day. They're so disconnected it's unreal.
And I don't know that I feel too highly of the union either.
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO, HOLLY? Oh great one? lol. Seriously. What are we going to do. Lie down and take it…just keep taking it…because that's what we do. We lie down. We take it. And we let Parker roll over us with a beverage cart. UGH>
I HATE HIM. To be fair I might hate everybody."
Dear Reader,
I think you probably came close to hitting the nail on the head in the last sentence.
Here's my take on your rant -- as I know you have a successful second career, I would suggest that perhaps it's time you quit your job. It would appear that you are not enjoying it anymore and you want more out of your life.
Seriously, I'm not being flippant. Your situation is not made any better by the fact you have to commute coast to coast.
I think you'd be much happier. But I don't see any arguments that stand up here that make the case to throw out this contract.
Thank you.
Plane Business Worldwide Headquarters Staff
Hi Ms. Hegeman,
I'm not sure if you are following the labor dispute between APFA and the members represented by the union.
I wanted to make you aware the membership is appalled by the tentative agreement and even more so from the most recent "back door dealing" Laura Glading has made with management. We are outraged that, while we are boasting the highest profits in history and management continues to receive substantial pay and bonus increases, our work rules are being traded for what appears to be a "pay raise." Much of this raise will be used to offset the tremendous increase in health insurance premiums, deductibles, and out of pocket maximums with our new insurance. In addition, while they promised the best of both contracts and to "adopt and go" sections of language in our contracts, what they have done is bring to us the worst and change the language to reflect the lesser of both contracts in most instances.
We are disgusted. Do not let Laura Glading tell you anything else. The fact that she touts this as "industry leading" has led many of us to believe she is delusional.Not to make it personal, but the property taxes on her West Chester, NY home are more than our new hire flight attendants make in a year. She is clearly out of touch with her membership. Furthermore, the fact that she attended our CEO Scott Kirby's wedding has outraged everyone here and calls into question the ethics and conflict of interest created by her fraternizing with management.
We want her out, and we are working diligently to be sure she does not continue to represent us.
Regards, A CLT Flight Attendant with 14 years seniority
First, I must update you. This particular writer also sent me a follow-up note in which she noted that Scott Kirby was American's CFO.
I wrote her back and said no, he is American's President.
Little problem of credibility right off the bat. If you are going to blatantly sandbag someone, it helps to have your facts straight. Oh, what am I thinking...I'm trying to be rational. Then there is the accusation that Laura Glading is ...delusional. Yes, well.
Dear Reader,
Let me get this straight. Your airline is less than 12 months into integration, and has yet to produce meaningful synergies for shareholders and meaningful harmonization for customers. Your airline still has to complete single operating certificate cutover, conversion to a sole reservation system, merge the two frequent flyer programs, integrate over 700 plus information technology systems, harmonize hundreds of policies, manuals and other government-audited processes, and also completely the integration of a single maintenance supply chain management system….yet you’re appalled at being offered not only the highest flight attendant rates in the industry but 4% on top of those rates…and those rates are being offered to you and your co-workers before any of the above is done? (In fact, aren’t they going to be effective in early December, like a month from now, if the TA ratifies?)
Do I have that right?
Unemployment in this country remains above 6%, and many US citizens would trade places with you in a heartbeat (and oh by the way, I just heard that your co-workers no longer have to fly 40 hours in a month, just 480 per year to keep their benefits). Other airline employees are not so fortunate to work for the largest airline in the world, an airline that became that way primarily because your union President advocated for the merger.
Call me biased but in my view your union President has displayed leadership lacking in other unions. Frankly, I don’t care where she lives. Taxes in NY are high regardless and don’t forget, tax revenue pays for infrastructure, schools, and other government services. Your point about where she lives is called ...deflecting.
Your description of the facts sounds woefully laden with emotional rhetoric and is short on the facts. My question for you would be what planet are you living on (but that would be too sarcastic). Rather my question is do you understand the time value of money, and how much the membership has already benefited from seeing this merger come to life?
Actually that’s rhetorical and not a question at all.
Good day to you.
Plane Business Worldwide Headquarters Staff
Get the picture here?
Flight attendants at American Airlines -- vote yes for the contract.
Holly Hegeman Plane Business
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Amen to that.
Nothing like taking an offer of $52/hr to the press to get sympathy.
You can"t fix stupid.
It's the same old "Working Peeps the sky is falling" crazies who have no common sense or filters.
Again, you can't fix stupid.
That has been evident for the last few years. 
The worst complainers are usually the ones who have never done reserve (maybe 3 months back in 79) and never worked anywhere else, I think they should work the ramp for a few months and then they would (maybe) appreciate this job and realize how good we have it. I would love to make 100K a year flying 70 hours a month but it ain't gonna happen. We have a pretty good gig. Some people will never be happy with anything.
So true. Before I was lucky enough to be hired at AA I flew for an airline that had a "hard 60!" hours to work every month, and if you fell below it, your trip trading privileges were taken away from you. Some people these days are so out if touch with the new realities of this industry, I swear.
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Unfortunately, tha administrator of working peeps authored the letter!! She made a complete fool of herself and the entire FA group. Holly totally smacked Her down !! She does not speak for the entire fa group. She thought she was exposing something that completely backfired on her! I can't even believe she brought up LG's home , and that helped to lose credibility!! It's same cast of clowns every time there is a TA. She made us look like whining fools. The same small group is never satisfied and is always looking for a conspiracy! Much to their shagrIne this TA will pass ! The WP page is nothing but a cesspool of rhetoric and complaining! If it was not for our management team I highy doubt we would have ever ended up being the largest airline in the world. Her letter was nothing more than an un educated rant representing a small group out of 25,000. She had her ass handed to her, and rightly so!
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Holly obviously is just as in-bed with AA mgmt. as Laura Glading is

The FAs didn't tell AA that had to settle a joint contract now and prioritize doing so over res system integration and a million other things on the to-do list.

Along with several very vocal people here, Holly is deathly afraid that the agreement won't pass and that AA will be stuck with not just one unhappy FA worforce but two.
When those of us in this thread want an opinion from a non-AA or US flight attendant industry outsider, I'm sure we'll ask for you.
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if she doesn't get a paycheck from a company inside the industry, she is an outsider.

you better be careful who you think is an outsider and who is not.

she's clearly a paid consultant to AA and the APFA.

dismissing valid opinions of AA FAs and saying they have been overcome by Ebola is the height of AArrogance.

their opinion matters.

obviously the world really doesn't look like you think it does and the letters confirm that a lot of your coworkers aren't as sold on the JCBA as you are.
WorldTraveler said:
if she doesn't get a paycheck from a company inside the industry, she is an outsider.
Wait for it...
WorldTraveler said:
she's clearly a paid consultant to AA and the APFA.
Cognitive dissonance much? Let me quote you again.
WorldTraveler said:
if she doesn't get a paycheck from a company inside the industry, she is an outsider.
she's clearly a paid consultant to AA and the APFA.
So which is it? She is either an industry outsider, or by your own contention, an insider receiving payment from the industry? 
Can I be any clearer about the Grand Canyon-sized logic gap in your very own post, or do I need to quote your own words right back to you for the third time?
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well, I don't think you are really going to admit she is on AA's payroll - and I don't think she is - but she couldn't have written anything that was both pro-company and pro-labor at the same time - all the while trashing the opinions of FAs who don't agree with her.

it is obvious AA wants this agreement to go into effect. no one here has really presented the downside. apparently the line FAs know what those are and are speaking up.

thanks for posting her article.
I've known Holly for over 15 years. Heck, she's even been a houseguest of my wife and I.

Definitely above reproach, especially from a schmuck too afraid to reveal his name.

But, since the mud has been flung, no, she isn't working directly or indirectly for either APFA or AA. Not only would it be a gross conflict of interest for her to be writing about them, DL, UA, WN, etc. while drawing a paycheck from a competitor, but she doesn't need to work for them. What she earns from paid speaking engagements and her weekly publication has been her only source of income for almost 20 years.

And she's about as outside the industry as Terry Maxon or Dan Reed, and those two have probably forgotten more about airline history than WT ever knew.
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so she sleeps with you, too.

no wonder you can't objectively recognize that it is the height of arrogance and unprofessionalism when an industry analyst tells a member of any labor group that they have been infected by a disease because they do not agree with their union or their mgmt.

again, if she doesn't get a paycheck from an airline, she is outside of the airline industry.

just like you.

not like some people that you would like to think are outsiders.

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