APA News Digest

Nov. 17, 2023

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In This Edition ...

“If It’s a Constant Threat, It’s a Real Problem”

APA Communications Committee Chair CA Dennis Tajer appeared on Fox News on Thursday to preview the Thanksgiving travel period. During his short interview, Fox News displayed statistics that showed the number of air traffic controllers declined by 1,175 between 2012 and 2022, which equates to a 10% drop over 10 years.

“With the air traffic controllers, they’ve got my back, I’ve got theirs, but when they’re working overtime – forced 60-hour work weeks – they get fatigued. When you get fatigued, you start to make errors. And the system is wired to trap that when it happens, but if it’s a constant threat, it’s a real problem. You know, we’re the gold standard for safety, but we’re becoming the bronze standard for infrastructure.”

Despite those staffing concerns – which were cited in a recent FAA report that called the airline industry’s safety levels “unsustainable” – CA Tajer assured Fox News that the traveling public will be safe over the Thanksgiving holiday because “the professional pilot is not going to allow that margin of safety to be squeezed down.”

Benefits Experts Honored by Board of Directors

During their fall meeting last week, the APA Board of Directors gave a standing ovation to CA Kerry Burklow and CA Tom Westbrook, whose years of service on the APA Benefits Review and Appeals Board recently ended due to their approaching retirements.

CA Burklow – pictured with his wife, Patty, and APA Director of Benefits Marcy Scott – thanked the Board for the opportunity to serve, emphasizing that “we have the best benefits plan of any union in the industry.” CA Westbrook cited the value of the Pilot Occupational Disability and Pilot Mutual Aid plans, noting that pilots “protect themselves against dying” but don’t always safeguard against the potential loss of part of their incomes.

Pilot Occupational Disability provides temporary financial assistance to mitigate the hardships experienced during medical disability. Pilot Mutual Aid provides short-term monthly payments to pilots who have a temporary financial need caused by a qualifying disability or death. For more information on these plans, visit the Benefits page on AlliedPilots.org.

Join Us for YOUnion 101 on Nov. 22

This is a new message from the APA Compass Project Committee.

APA Vice President CA Chris Torres and the Compass Project’s Member Engagement Team will host a “YOUnion 101” meeting via Zoom at 1100 Central on Wednesday, Nov. 22. This meeting focuses on all aspects of APA membership:

  • The purpose and services of your union
  • Governance, committee structure, probation, etc.
  • What you and your family should expect from the APA
  • How you can engage and volunteer with the APA

While it is geared toward our newer pilots (6 to 18 months), all are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Click here to register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Send your feedback to YOUnion101@alliedpilots.org.

The APA Compass Project is an industry-leading pilot mentoring and support program. Compass offers one-on-one support from experienced line-pilot sponsors for new hires, new captains, return-to-work pilots, as well as tutorial videos and an extensive database of stage-based documents covering a helpful topics that are of importance to all pilots. Click here for more information.

Get Educated About Our New Contract

This is an updated message from the APA Contract Compliance Committee.

Everything you wanted to know about the 2023 Collective Bargaining Agreement but were too afraid to ask!

Join us on Dec. 4 in DFW for a full day of training on the new CBA. This training will be conducted in hybrid fashion, with members welcome to participate in person or virtually via Zoom.

Please take a few moments before the training to familiarize yourself with the Electronic Document Index. You must be logged in to AlliedPilots.org for the links to be accessible. This Index connects you to a vast array of APA documents that we will reference. It is equally useful in the daily operation as a line pilot, so we recommend you retain the Index for future reference. During the training, it may be helpful to have two screens; one to run Zoom and one to reference these documents.

Help us help you! The Contract Compliance Committee’s goal is for you – the membership – to be informed, educated, and knowledgeable. Every single pilot should strive to be a contract expert or, at the very least, strive for continued learning and engagement. Knowledge is power, and it will assist you in employing and being a watchdog of your negotiated work rules.

Sick Accrual Payout Provision

This is the latest in a series of Q&As from the APA Contract Compliance Committee.

Q: I have 290 hours of AVBL SK displayed on my HI1. Am I eligible for the new and optional annual sick accrual payout provision?

A: Yes, provided you have 235 hours or more of AVBL SK on Dec. 31, you may elect to receive a 50% payout of your regularly accrued hours during that accrual year. An eligible pilot electing this payout option will have the remaining 50% of the accrued hours – plus any Rapid Reaccrual hours – deposited into their Sick Bank.

For example, if a pilot had a full year of service (15 or more days of service in each month for 12 months), they would have accrued 60 hours of sick for the year. With 290 hours of AVBL SK on Dec. 31, and at pilot election, 30 hours would be paid out. The remaining 30 hours would then be added to their Sick Bank, for a new total of 320 hours.

NOTE 1: The DEADLINE to complete the Annual Sick Bank Cash Payout Request (Comply365 > My Forms > Flight Ops Line) is no later than Dec. 1. The payout is not eligible for non-elective Company contribution (17% 401(k)).

NOTE 2: If a pilot does not elect to receive the cash payout, no action is necessary. All accrued hours will be deposited into the pilot’s Sick Bank.

NOTE 3: A pilot’s sick leave bank is capped at 1,000 hours. Pilots with more than 940 hours of AVLB SK should carefully consider their YTD SK ACRL value and its impact on the contractual maximum. Sick leave hours that are not optioned for payout (30 hour maximum) and/or exceed the 1,000 hour bank maximum will be lost.

CBA Section 10.B. Sick Leave Bank
Pilot sick leave will be provided through a single sick leave bank.

1. Application of Sick Accrual Hours to Sick Bank
Each January 1, a pilot’s sick leave hours accrued in the preceding year shall be placed into the pilot’s sick leave bank, except, pilots with a sick leave bank balance of 235 hours or more as of the end of the accrual year (December 31), may elect to receive a cash payout of 50% of the sick leave hours accrued under the Regular Accrual Rate during that accrual year.

(1) The cash payout shall not include any of the additional hours accrued under the Rapid Reaccrual Rate formula.

(2) Pilots electing to receive a cash payout must make the election no later than December 1 of the accrual year.

2. Pilots who retire after January 1 of any given year will have the value of any sick accrued during that calendar year (i.e., the calendar year in which the pilot retires) either paid out at retirement or deposited into a Retiree Health Reimbursement Agreement (RHRA) account in accordance with the pilot’s election under the provisions of Section 5.E.

3. Sick Leave Bank Cap

a. A pilot’s sick leave bank shall be capped at one thousand (1,000) hours effective each January 1.

Debriefs System Temporarily Unavailable

This is a new message from the APA Hotel Committee.

As restoration of APA’s IT systems continues, the Hotel Committee is unable to receive Hotel Debriefs. This issue is not unique to our debrief form. We will notify the membership when the debriefs system is working again. In the meantime, if you have an issue that needs to be addressed immediately or is safety/security related, feel free to email us via cmte-hotel@alliedpilots.org. Please include all necessary information such as the market, the inbound flight number/date, the hotel name, and the room number, if applicable.

For more information, see the QRH – Quick Reference Hotels document, which should answer 99 percent of all hotel and transportation questions while providing helpful solutions.

APA Welcomes New Pilots

This is a new message from the APA Membership Committee.

Click the image for a closer look.

The APA Membership Committee welcomed the following pilots during a casual dinner on Nov. 14: John Abraham, Brian Altman, Ramin Amely, Robert Attebury, Michael Baillargeon, Kyle Benham, Gautam Bhutaiya, Peter Bodkin, John-Paul Bruno, Christopher Burnett, Michael Callejo, Mario Camarillo, Brian Campbell, Scott Cararas, Tatiana Carvajal Sandoval, Jorge Celaya Escobar, Ryan Close, Patrick Crisp, Curtis Dine, Zachary Dobis, Guillermo Dominguez, Marco Eshraghi, Troy Estes, Travis Freiermuth, Bryan Gammill, Sean Gipe, Stephen Hall, Ryan Hana, Mark Hankes, Jordan Hogg, Joshua Holmes, Richard Hunt, Andrew Inman, Brian Kellam, Jamin Kerby, Joshua Kofron, Jeffrey Lawton, Hong Lee, Andres Leiva, Matthew Leslie, Blair Lightcap, Donald Lodge Maragh, Nicholas Makowicz, Mario Mantica, Matthew McCann, Casey McMurry, Sean Morrell, Konstantinos Patsais, Craig Pedersen, Eric Phillips, Erwin Pinedo Sanchez, Thomas Plambeck Jr., Dale Ramsey Jr., Donald Ransom Jr., Roy Reta Ledezma, Justin Ripley, Michael Rogers, Eric Saldana Vasquez, Bryan Schmidt, Phillip Schwoob, Michael Spond, Brian Taylor, Alejandro Trujilo, Michael Vaknin, Alberto Vazquez, and Brandon Whitford.

APA Welcomes Captains’ Leadership Class

This is a new message from the APA Membership Committee.

Click the image for a closer look.

On Nov. 15, the APA Membership Committee hosted a casual dinner for the following pilots who were in Fort Worth for American Airlines’ Professionalism, Leadership, and Mentoring class: Matthew Bajerski, Kristof Cappoen, Robert Churchill, Paul Clifton, Joseph Coraggio, Rafael Cruet, Roysbel Estupinan, David Gordon, Blaine Hainebach, Dillon Jackson, Gregory Jones, Jonathan Laman, James Lapointe, Steve Libick, Michael Lind, Trenton McMillan, Kerry Pruitt, Christopher Robinson, Jarad Saunders, Louis Schmidt, Richard Silva Jr., Ellis Williams, Jacquie Willman, Craig Wirth, and Matthew Woodson.

Gone West

This is a new message from the APA Membership Committee.

We extend our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of these pilots, whose deaths we learned of last month: Jay Harvey, 72, on June 19, 2022; Ed Cunningham, 67, on Feb. 18; James Mack, 76, on Aug. 23; J.H. Matos, 89, on Sept. 1; Henry Mattia, 85, on Sept. 7; Byron “Skip” Eberts, 80, on Sept. 11; Bill Beam, 78, on Sept. 12; Wayne “Pops” Plump, 81, on Sept. 12; Vincent “Buz” O’Brien, 93, on Sept. 21; Ralph Kirby, 92, on Sept. 22; Richard Wolter, 91, on Sept. 29; Henrik Jonsson, 58, on Oct. 4; Bill Winton, 87, on Oct. 4; and Edwin McNeil, 103, on Oct. 10.

Domicile Events

LGA Domicile Officers CA Jim Scanlan and CA Lawrence Cutler participated in Concourse Conversations on Wednesday.

Once you’re able to log in, visit AlliedPilots.org/Calendar to RSVP for any of these upcoming domicile events:

  • BOS: Holiday Party on Dec. 16
  • CLT: Holiday Party on Dec. 10
  • DCA: Holiday Party on Dec. 14; Washington Capitals game on Jan. 16
  • DFW: Contract Compliance training on Dec. 4; Holiday Party on Dec. 16
  • LAX: Family Awareness event in LAS on Dec. 5
  • MIA: Holiday Party on Dec. 2
  • ORD: Domicile Meeting on Dec. 13; Holiday Party on Dec. 14

Domicile Elections

The following CLT pilots have been placed into consideration for nomination as Interim Domicile Chair and have indicated a willingness to serve, if elected:

FO Russ Blackwell
FO Ryan Cianciolo
CA Casey Granger
FO Erik Knauff
CA Dan Scola

The candidates’ resumes will be mailed to all CLT pilots on Dec. 5. Nomination Round ballots will be mailed on Dec. 6 and tallied on Dec. 28. The three candidates with the most votes will advance to the Election Round.

If you have any questions, contact the APA Elections Department via 817-302-2175 or elections@alliedpilots.org.

Professional Standards FAQs

What happens with a management referral?
When a committee volunteer and management member are both working the same issue, it is the responsibility of the PS volunteer to determine if Management intends to stay involved or is willing to hand the case over to Professional Standards. The PS volunteer and management will work together to determine if the issue could be completed through the Professional Standards process. If an agreeable resolution is not made, the parties are encouraged to elevate the issue to the national committee for resolution or guidance. In all cases, Professional Standards will not accept an issue if management remains involved.

To read all of the FAQs, click here.

Professional Standards’ 24/7 hotline: 817-402-2181

Wreaths Across America 

Wreaths Across America is a national nonprofit whose primary mission is to fulfill its motto of “Remember, Honor, and Teach” — that is, remember our fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve, and teach your children the value of freedom.

Part of that mission includes coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies each year at Arlington National Cemetery and more than 3,800 other locations.

We are continuing our campaign of American Airlines pilots adopting a national cemetery in each of our domiciles, including BNA, STL, and GSW. This will enable our pilots to give as one group while supporting deceased veterans at their home base.

Please visit www.aapwaa.com and click the link for your domicile. You will find information on this year’s ceremonies and opportunities to help the local coordinators.  There is also a link at the bottom of the main page to find a cemetery near you if you do not live in your domicile and wish to help your local area.

This year’s ceremony will be on Saturday, Dec. 16, with the deadline to sponsor wreaths on Nov. 28. Please help support this cause by sponsoring wreaths at a cemetery of your choosing.

If you have any questions, please contact CA Dave Branzell at dsb81@live.com.

Sharing the Holiday Spirit with Christmas Epaulets

This popular, long-running program benefits the families of our nation’s fallen heroes and young people seeking ways to further their education.

CA John Knutson – U.S. Army veteran and a pilot for North Central, Republic, and Northwest Airlines – lost his battle with cancer in 1997 at age 56. To honor his memory, John’s widow, Mary, decided to start making Christmas epaulets. Mary originally directed all proceeds to the Chetek-Weyerhaeuser Scholarship Foundation, since John was a 1959 graduate of Chetek High School. In an acknowledgement of John’s love of country, the proceeds have been shared between the Gary Sinise Foundation/Snowball Express and the Chetek-Weyerhaeuser Scholarship Foundation in recent years.

You may buy your epaulets here for $20 plus $5.50 for shipping and handling. They’re also available at Crew Outfitters stores at DFW and IAH. If you have any questions, please contact CA Tim Knutson via info@christmasepaulets.com.

Thank you for supporting this worthy cause.

If You’re 50, Join The Grey Eagles

Are you a pilot for American Airlines, at least age 50, active or retired? Please join The Grey Eagles for food, fun, and fellowship. We offer cruises, conventions, monthly luncheons, retirement dinners, professional mentoring, and assistance to surviving spouses – all for a one-time lifetime fee.

Pilot Job Fairs and Future Pilot Seminars

Future & Active Pilot Advisors’ next Pilot Job Fair and Future Pilot Seminar are scheduled for Nov. 18 at FLL followed by Dec. 9 at PHX. Click here for more information.

Industry News

For more about what’s happening in the industry, be sure to visit the Industry News page on AlliedPilots.org.

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