Letter to Carty

410OhOne

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Dec 30, 2002
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An e-mail sent to Mr. Carty and Ms. Allen by a Flight Attendant found photocopied and distributed around the terminal. The name was blacked out. We can only assume it was authentic. Make you own determination.

Dear Mr. Carty & Ms. Allen,
As I take managements request of a pay wage freeze very seriously, before I am able to make an informed decision, I have heard evidence of lavish expenditures by management that I would like you to confirm or deny. This would assist me in reaching a decision on how to cast an informed ballot.
1. Not long ago, AA hired helicopters to drop orchids. If so, for what purpose was this done and what was the cost?
2. Jane Allen’s party of four boarded a flight bumping 4 first class passengers and 4 people were paid $300 each to get off (A-2 & A-4 pleasure trips force full-fare passengers off full flights). If this is standard operating procedure, don’t you think this is detrimental to our plight?
3. AA bought several cappuccino machines for flight which were not tested first and then found unusable. Not to mention the S-80 in flight automated PA system which also failed. How much was the combined total of these two mistakes?
4. AA is paying $16 a day for management to park at the terminal parking lot. Shouldn’t all employees be parking the in the employee parking lot to save costs?
5. We have flight service managers who have enough time to do grooming checks (sometimes 2 FSM’s per crew), observation rides (costs involved using resources to book the reservation, displacing revenue/non-revenue dollars and access to seats, as well as food/beverage, hotel costs and other misc. expense account charges), which do nothing but lower morale more than it already is. Is the length of my dress more important than the attitude I display to my passengers after a grooming check? I would like to know if these managers have received any training on morale and how to motivate employees because it certainly is not evident. Additionally I’d like to mention the absolutely ludicrous attendance policy which lowers our morale to the bottom of the charts. Lowering morale is the biggest mistake you can make as we have the most impact on passenger loyalty. Is this not our number one concern at this point?
6. For the 2002 election, airlines have given congressional candidates and the two major political parties $4.1 million, and last July, American Airlines executives gave more than $20,000 to a campaign fund that benefits House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-MO, and other house Democrats.
7. AA is paying $14.6 million to upgrade the STL airport (preconditioned air to jetbridges, installing closed circuit tv in the terminals, and replacing carpeting in the terminals.) $1.1 billion dollars on the international terminal in DFW, $1.5 billion dollars on a terminal at Miami, and $1.3 billion dollars on a terminal at JFK. This is a total of nearly FOUR BILLION DOLLARS!! How much were you looking for again? We’ve told that it would be more expensive to halt these projects than to complete them. I would like actuary justification of these statements. Didn’t the AA legal Dept. provide for an escape close in the these contracts?
8. AA is paying $40 million over 20 years to put its name on the AA arena in Miami, $195 million over 30 years to have its name on the Dallas arena, and $8.5 million for the Roundabout Theater. (Please don’t tell me again that our legal dept forgot to put an escape clause in these contracts also.) Do you consider these upgrades & advertising essentials?
9. Mr. Carty received 6 months off his retirement for every year served at AAL and is now receiving his retirement 12 years early. It has also been reported that his retirement is around $80 million.
I can only imagine what other expenditures AA management deems “essential†to running this airline. It looks to me as if you are asking labor to pay for mistakes made by management.
Mr. Carty, as you refuse to share with your employees in good times and continue to spend money on frivolous management perks in bad times, I cannot with a good conscience vote to give up a raise which is already eroded by pre-funding installments, increased monthly medical/dental costs. The cost of living increase alone wipes out the entire raise. Let me quote someone who made an excellent observation, “We are losing $5-6 million per day. $130 million in pay freeze will be gone in 26 days. Then what?
Here are 2 additional quotes I would like to share:
11/23/02 USA Today:
“More than 40 U.S. steel companies, stuck with high fixed cost structures that make it hard to be nimble, have gone bankrupt in recent years. Yet Nucor continues to thrive. It pays its steelworkers $70,000 to $100,000 per year, far above the industry average. And it is have never gone through a layoff. “When business is bad, as its bound to occasionally be in a highly cyclical industry like ours, the first thing to go is every executive perk and bonus, followed by every plant manager and supervisor giving up theirs,†says Nucors CEO, Dan DiMicco.
In reference to competing with lower-cost carriers (ie Southwest): “Speaking of delusions, American would actually have to change its corporate culture, instead of just talking about it.†In a recent business book it was written, “Where a less farsighted businessman might have tried to keep costs down by treating his employees like dirt, Herb (Kelleher) understood that speed (in this case, quick turnarounds at the gate), safety and flexibility would do more to keep costs down than screwing with the employees. So, Southwest has the most heavily unionized workforce in the airline business. They are the happiest?†In fortune magazine, Kelleher himself wrote, “You have to treat your employees like your customers. When you treat them right, then they will treat your customers right. That has been a powerful competitive weapon for us.†Among other things, high morale equals high productivity. Its an intangible that adds to the bottom line and one that American, and most other premium carriers, has chosen to ignore. However, maybe what Carty really should be looking at is bringing down Americans executive compensation costs down to that of Southwest’s. Last year, AMR lost $1.7 billion, but Don Carty’s compensation package for 2001 was valued at $7.1 million. Southwest, on the other hand, actually earned a profit last year of $511.1 million. Its CEO, James Parker, had a pay package of $4 million. Hence, Carty’s pay package was 77.5% higher than Mr. Parkers. When comparing financial performance, the disparity between the two doesn’t quite make economic and justifiable sense. Perhaps Carty would think twice of intoning comparisons to Southwest if he knew the first thing to come down to the level of Southwest would be CEO pay.â€
I would truly love to hear both your responses regarding employee morale. Do you honestly not realize the impact that poor morale among Flight Attendants has on our customers?
I realize there are numerous and important questions here, but an answer to each would help the flight attendant workforce in our decision to forego our raise.
Thank you and I look forward to your prompt response.
***********************Name Removed************************
 

AAmech

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Aug 22, 2002
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Starts off good but quickly turns into WHINING!!! Your fixing terminals, Wah! You advertise, Wah! You bought bad coffee makers, Wah!
 

WingNaPrayer

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Aug 20, 2002
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Just curious 410, which airport did you "find" this letter at? Since you were laid off per your introductory post, how did you happen to come to be in the terminal? Or....are you simply the original author?
 

HI-LOCK

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Aug 30, 2002
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[blockquote]
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On 12/31/2002 8:13:29 AM AAmech wrote:

Starts off good but quickly turns into WHINING!!! Your fixing terminals, Wah! You advertise, Wah! You bought bad coffee makers, Wah!
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[/blockquote]

The supposed F/A letter hits the nail on the head!It is not whining to point out the incompetent decisions of our AA management team.I could provide a laundry list of examples of sorry management decisions at TUL Maintenance Base.
 

FA Mikey

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Aug 19, 2002
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I have seen Jane Allen's reply. She points out, she like all senior execs and union officers, fly positive space. There is no way she would be bumping a paying passenger at the gate. Also noted that her entire family is 3 not 4. She checked about the Orchid drop. AA never did, sales, marketing etc. She even went so far as to see if the ad agency may have for a commercial or something else. The answer was No. Just wasn't true. The cappuccino test was just that a test and a bust. For parking AA doesn't pay a daily rate for the close up parking. Its charged at the same rate as the employee lot. They are allocated a set number up front in the contract. I can't believe this girl remembered the S 80 automated PA test. But she is really digging to go back to the late 80's to find something. Jane Allen pointed out is was a test and bust as well. Crews and customers didn't and didn't work well. The other points about the terminals JFK and MIA, They say they are more expensive to try to stop, than just continuing. No escape clause's in the contracts. That goes for the two arena's as well. Lost time and grooming? Hello, seen some of our people. The worst part about it, it is because, due to a few trouble makers.
 

Wild Onion

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Aug 21, 2002
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My pet peeve for wasteful spending is these Self Service Devices. Sure, they're great to a point, but we're going overboard. They frequently don't work, and we're making people use them that expressly do not want to.

How much money are we spending on extra machines that only irritate our passengers? A few are nice for nonrevs and the people that want them, but blanketing the terminals with them is ridiculous.
 

Wild Onion

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Aug 21, 2002
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If anyone has a problem with the (relatively) small amount of money being spent on STL, you need to make a visit. It's in rough shape.

As for JFK - $1.3 billion is the total cost of the project. How much of that has already been spent or is contractually committed to. Also keep in mind how well we'll be positioned in NYC when the new train is done and all 50-some gates are up and going.
 

desertfox

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Sep 13, 2002
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[blockquote]
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On 12/31/2002 10:28:51 AM Wild Onion wrote:

My pet peeve for wasteful spending is these Self Service Devices. Sure, they're great to a point, but we're going overboard. They frequently don't work, and we're making people use them that expressly do not want to.

How much money are we spending on extra machines that only irritate our passengers? A few are nice for nonrevs and the people that want them, but blanketing the terminals with them is ridiculous.

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[/blockquote]

The Self Service devices are still in their infancy. Remember ATM machines and checkless bill paying?....they started off slow also. By the end of 2003 airlines will have software developed to deal with a variety of common customer issues and be less obstinate. Standbys, upgrades, day of flight misconnection rerouting, frequent flyer issues will be added to self service functions. Programmers time is expensive, had the airlines not had to deal with the overwhelming cash crisis the self service machines may have been further developed than they are now. Look for more internet website options for premium customers as well.
 

AirwAr

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Aug 21, 2002
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[blockquote]
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On 12/31/2002 9:28:36 AM Hopeful wrote:

What I can't understand is that in M&E, they are STILL HIRING SUPERVISORS!
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So why don't you ask someone about it? Although, since you don't trust management, you better ask one of your fellow coworkers. I’m sure they’ll have the answer you’re “lookingâ€￾ for.
 

WingNaPrayer

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Air...you're assuming that Jane Allen was being 100% truthful in her alleged responsed. There is no possibility that any response from her could have been canned, right? Sure she admitted to the mistakes, where's the harm in that? As to the helicopter incident, just because SHE couldn't find out anything about it, does that mean it didn't happen? As far as her bumping revenue passengers to make room for her own needs, I don't doubt that it happened one bit - it goes on all the time, but 3 instead of 4 just happens to give her "plausable deniability"[BR][BR]Stop assuming that it was a flight attendent who started circulating this letter, it could very well have been a janitor for all you know. Employees are entitled to question those at the helm, it really does help them make better informed decisions, especially when it affects their paychecks.
 

AirwAr

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Aug 21, 2002
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[blockquote]
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On 12/31/2002 9:10:56 AM FA Mikey wrote:

I have seen Jane Allen's reply. She points out....

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Thank you, FA Mikey, for posting the response.
******

I would have to say that this is my pet peeve. That someone would write and spread this email in a way to mislead lead their coworkers. Was the response from Jane Allen spread with as much fervor? Did every FA that read the original email, and is making his/her decision based on lies and half-truths, read the response? Probably not. It would be interesting to know what other lies and misleading stories are being spread amongst the union members. No wonder morale is bad amongst the FAs. You can’t even trust your union coworkers.

The way I see it, there really is no need for management to do things that make the morale worse; you have coworkers that do it for you. As I’ve said before, “With union members like you, who needs managementâ€￾.

It appears that for a group of people to really feel cohesive, they need to have a common enemy. And to maintain that common enemy, some people are willing to say or do anything. Unfortunately for AA, the common enemy for the unions is AA management. Just think of what we could do if we got to the point where the common enemy for all AA employees was other airlines.
 

AirwAr

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Aug 21, 2002
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[blockquote]
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On 12/31/2002 8:29:22 AM HI-LOCK wrote:

The supposed F/A letter hits the nail on the head!

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It sure does. This may be a big reason that morale is bad amongst some employee groups. They see something that doesn’t make sense to them so they talk about it to other people who don’t understand it either. Then the issue just grows like a rolling snowball.
 

AirwAr

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Aug 21, 2002
435
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www.usaviation.com
[blockquote]
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On 12/31/2002 4:36:00 PM WingNaPrayer wrote:

Air...you're assuming that Jane Allen was being 100% truthful in her alleged responsed. There is no possibility that any response from her could have been canned, right? Sure she admitted to the mistakes, where's the harm in that? As to the helicopter incident, just because SHE couldn't find out anything about it, does that mean it didn't happen? As far as her bumping revenue passengers to make room for her own needs, I don't doubt that it happened one bit - it goes on all the time, but 3 instead of 4 just happens to give her "plausable deniability"

Stop assuming that it was a flight attendent who started circulating this letter, it could very well have been a janitor for all you know. Employees are entitled to question those at the helm, it really does help them make better informed decisions, especially when it affects their paychecks.
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[/blockquote]


“Alleged responseâ€￾? Ok I guess you got me there. Sorry, I don’t have any proof other than FA Mikey that there was a response. FA Mikey, when you get a chance, could you scan a notarized copy of the response and post on the board. Thanks. ;)

I admit it may be a mistake to assume that it was a flight attendant who distributed this, but who cares who I think is the one that photocopied it and sent it around. It doesn’t change the fact that this was distributed to mislead other employees, not to help them make informed decisions.

As for employees being “entitled to question those at the helmâ€￾, I agree whole-heartedly, and they should.