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Dear AFA: February 27, 2013

Date: February 27, 2013

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to Dear AFA.  A democratic, Member driven Union of Flight Attendants for Flight Attendants.  Today is Tuesday, February 26, 2013 and this is Master Executive Council Communication Vice Chairperson, Jeffrey Tonjes reporting.

February 28, 2013 Increases to Pay, Per Diem and Vacation

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the ratification of our 2012-2016 Agreement we should all be aware that contractual increases in our hourly rate of pay, per diem and vacation pay will be effective February 28.  These increases include:

Hourly Rate of Pay (Section 5.A.1. and Section 5.A.2.)
All steps of pay will increase 2% 

Vacation Pay (Section 18.K.1.b.)
From 2:45 per vacation day increases to 3:00 per vacation day

Per Diem (Section 6.A.1.)
Domestic per diem increases from $1.73 to $1.95 and International per diem increases from $2.13 to $2.50.

You will see these increases beginning with your April 1st advance check.

Company Offers April through June Leave of Absences

On February 13, 2013, the company announced that a three-month special leave of absence would be offered for the April through June schedule months (04/01/13 – 06/30/13). The amount and locations have not yet been determined.  If you are interested in three-month special leave of absence, you should put your request on file through Unimatic LOAREQ, no later than 0800 Central Time (CST) on Monday, March 11, 2013.

Keep in mind; if you are awarded the three-month special leave and it directly touches (immediately adjoining) another leave of absence or period of ANP, including a single day of ANP, without at least one day off in between the periods your benefits may be affected.   We encourage you to review and remove any requests for which you no longer have an interest.

When requesting any time off, we encourage you to fully review all available information and ask questions about anything that is unclear.  Should you have additional questions, please contact your Local Council office.

What is Sequestration?

On March 1, 2013, a sweeping package of federal budget cuts is scheduled to take effect.  These spending cuts, also known as "sequestration" are required as part of the Budget Control Act, negotiated in the summer of 2011, in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. 

These across-the-board cuts were designed to force lawmakers to come to agreement on a sensible approach to reduce federal spending and close wasteful tax loopholes.  Unfortunately, Republican House leadership indicated they were unwilling to stop sequestration, unless there were benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  In contrast, Democrats were unwilling to have American families shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction.  The President has laid out a plan to avoid the sequester and reduce the deficit in a balanced way, with a combination of spending cuts and new tax revenue, but Republican leadership is saying "not a single new cent of revenue" to protect corporate special interests. 

These cuts could have real implications for our nation's aviation system, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).   Due to a lag time in the budget process and scheduling we may not experience the full impact of these cuts on aviation related services until April at the earliest.  While no one knows the exact nature of the cuts that will be made, it is important that we be aware of the potential impact sequestration may have.  We should be prepared for flight delays, canceled flights, increased wait times at security check points and customs.    

The "sequester" can easily be avoided if the wealthy and big corporations are asked to pay their fair share.  About half the cuts could be prevented if Congress were to enact the "Buffet Rule" which would require people who make at least $2 million a year to pay a minimum tax just slightly above the middle class tax bracket.     

The consequences of these massive, across-the-board federal budget cuts will be resounding, negatively impacting our National Airspace System and our country's economy.  Our Union is working to promote a responsible budgeting resolution that supports a safe and robust aviation system and a healthy economy for our nation.  We are calling on Congress to use common sense and refuse partisan temptation to play chicken with jobs, safety and the financial health of our nation on the line. 

That's all for this evening!  Thank you for calling.  Remember: One Airline. One Contract. Building Our Future Together!

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