This part of the report is not intended to scare anyone but it is best to remain informed when something potentially this large could affect our working conditions. I am referring of course to the potential of an H1N1 pandemic. It has been widely reported that deaths from this strain could reach 90,000. While that is triple the normal mortality of the basic influenza this is nowhere close to the 1918 influenza pandemic. I call this to your attention because if you remember when SARS broke out it decimated the demand for air travel. SARS had a mortality rate of about ten percent which is high for a virus but only about 900 people died worldwide. It was the panic that did in air travel at that time. This could be a repeat. The Company has already begun the cleaning the aircraft with chemicals in preparation for the possibility of an outbreak. I would suggest you get your finances in order in case this does become as big as everyone thinks it will. There are no plans for layoffs that I am aware of, but that is what happened in 2003 so I am thinking it is better to be prepared.
This next item ties right into the above paragraph. Health care for those that can't afford it is essential for combating this type of disease. It is well known that disease spreads quickly amongst those that have no care and this potential pandemic will be no different. It is sad that we have a class of citizens in this country that are treated no better than those living in third world countries. Here is an overview of how the US stacks up to the rest of the industrialized world in Health Care for its citizens. Here is a very interesting study by the University of Maine on the issue. What you will see in both of these pieces is we have the most expensive coverage in the world but according to the WHO we stand thirty seventh in quality of care behind countries such as Morocco, Costa Rica, and Saudi Arabia. In addition if an H1N1 pandemic does force layoffs or consolidations in the industry it will affect many of us and our need for access to health care.
For those contemplating hand tool purchases I ask that you not consider SK Hand tools. Local 743 is striking this manufacturer over the discontinuance of their health insurance. What is particularly heinous is the employer never informed the workers they no longer had coverage. Here is a YouTube link where the strikers speak out about the issues.
This week the Cabin Crew Subcommittee met with all the L1 managers in Chicago. We showed the Company how they could accomplish this work utilizing the ten hour schedule.
For the rest of the crew management has threatened to take away the ten hour schedule. There were many questions about this. Many members were under the impression that once established the Company cannot unilaterally eliminate it. Under Letter of Agreement 95-1M, and the subsequent 02-03M on page 180 of the old Agreement that was true, however under the second bankruptcy that letter was modified and this provision was eliminated. In reading the new LOA it is clear that AMFA wanted to give the Company a greater flexibility so that the Company would institute this schedule in more instances. Unfortunately the modifications while well intentioned did very little to expand or protect this schedule. Long story short, the Company will continue to attempt to hold this over the membership as long as this schedule is in effect.
I was informed that there would be upcoming training for the shop on various pieces of equipment.
Unfortunately the Labor/Management meeting had to be rescheduled due to a scheduling conflict. I will talk to Steve on Monday to determine when we can meet.
That's all for now,