American Airlines Threatens Employee Who Created YouTube Parody Of Their Bankruptcy Letter

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Flight attendant Gailen David is being investigated by American Airlines for allegedly violating the company's social media policy for creating a video that parodies a letter sent to employees regarding the company's recent filing for bankruptcy. David's parody was based on the idea that the letter was filled with what several refer to as "lies." As previously reported, while American Airlines does have some financial troubles, it is paying large bonuses to executives while employees are already underpaid (many making less than $40,000 a year while working 70-hour work weeks) and have already offered up concessions.

Flight attendant Gailen David (MIA) is being called into the office to answer to allegations that he violated American Airline’s Social Media Policy. The question being raised is whether humor constitutes a violation of corporate policy or whether it’s an infringement on an individual’s right to free speech.

The letter in question was sent to all flight attendants and also forwarded to the media. Historically, poking fun at information found in the public domain is not a violation of the employer/employee relationship. Given the heat AMR is feeling from those in the media who are questioning AMR’s motives for filing bankruptcy as well as the corporations self-proclaimed need to dump the pensions, having an employee poking fun at it apparently fuels the fire at a time when the corporation’s trying to put it out.

Just so that we’re all on the same page, AMR recently shortchanged the employee pension payment by $93.5 million and we’ve learned that AMR could spend as much as $100 million on three law firms that are helping AMR restructure the airline at the expense of thousands of employees, retirees and shareholders.

The letter from American Airlines to David:

February 8, 2012

TO: Gailen David
MIA Purser #131836


Dear Gailen, you are directed to attend an investigatory meeting in accordance with the AA/ APFA collective bargaining agreement, Article 31 R, involving possible violation of American Airline's Media Policy Please arrange for APFA representation at this meeting.

The meeting will be held on Friday February 10, 2012 at 2:00pm in the Flight Service Conference room.

If you are not able to adhere to this directive for medical reasons, you are directed to provide substantiation from your physician to AA Medical at fax #305-526-7690 before 2:00pm on Friday February 10, 2012 as to why you cannot meet with me.

Your failure to comply with the above directive will be deemed insubordination, which in and of itself may be grounds for your dismissal.

As of the date of this letter, all travel privileges are suspended pending the outcome of this investigation. You are forbidden to us any of the flight privileges that are provided to you and your registered travelers to fly either on American Airlines or any other carrier as a "non-revenue" pass traveler.

Please contact my office at 305-870-2486 if you have any questions. AA Medical contact information is as follows: Phone 305-526-7941, FAX 305-526-7690.

Ofelia A. Hamilton
MIA Flight Service Purser Manager

Cc: Personnel File
Base Manager
HR-support Svc.

David's response:

Hello Ofelia,

Unfortunately I will not be able to attend the meeting today with you.

As you know, I am on leave until March 5th and I have been unable to reach my doctor who is attending a conference--however ; AA medical has received sufficient substantiation regarding my inability to return to the workplace, including administrative offices, until I have been cleared by my provider.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me. My union representative will work with you and my health care provider to determine if another meeting time is possible in the near future.

Gailen David

Cc: Lauri Curtis and Faye Wright

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