United Airlines AFA MEC Website

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA United Master Executive Council

Understanding the New Grievance Process

Date: September 26, 2017
Type: AFA Article

By now, Flight Attendants should have reviewed the Dispute Resolution, Attendance and Performance Guide , published on September 22, 2017. We encourage all Flight Attendants to review the available information prior to the September 28 implementation date. The new processes represent a fundamental shift in how we’ll resolve disputes going forward, and by working together we believe we can bring about better outcomes for everyone involved. 

As this new process is implemented some Flight Attendants may not be familiar with the terminology. 

Although many of these terms are not new to pmUA Flight Attendants, they are new to pm CAL and CMI. Therefore, an explanation and review of the terminology will be an important part of the foundation of the new processes. Below, you will find a short list of such terminology.

Interest Based Dispute Resolution (IBDR)
The JCBA, Section 23.E. provides the process for resolving disputes pertaining to non-disciplinary actions, contract matters and Company policies quickly and effectively. The process is designed to resolve issues at the lowest level in the shortest timeframe. It encourages participants to work together to solve disputes through information sharing, flexibility and open communication.

Locally-Based Dispute Resolution Process: 
Flight Attendants should initially attempt to resolve issues with the appropriate parties as they do today. For example, contact Payroll for an issue such as understaffing/short crew pay, or Scheduling with an issue such as legal rest. If a Flight Attendant, or group of Flight Attendants, is unable to resolve the issue in this manner, they can turn to the Dispute Resolution Process. (The Dispute Resolution Process is only applicable to issues concerning any action of the Company that affects the Flight Attendant(s) except as may arise out of disciplinary action). Flight Attendants initiate the Dispute Resolution Process by filing a worksheet with the local AFA at www.unitedafa.org, within 60 calendar days after the Flight Attendant(s) would reasonably have knowledge of the dispute. The local AFA representatives will review and evaluate every worksheet, concluding if the dispute has merit to move on or does not carry enough merit to be processed. 

Notice of Dispute (NOD):
Once a NOD is filed, the Company and AFA representatives are obligated to take part in discussions to resolve the issue. To the maximum extent possible, AFA and Company participants should be close to the issue in dispute in terms of factual knowledge, subject-matter expertise, work locale and responsibilities. 

AFA and Company participants trained in Interest-Based Dispute Resolution (IBDR) will have 30 calendar days to resolve the matter. 

• If the parties resolve the issue locally, the Flight Attendant will be advised of the outcome and the matter will be concluded. 

• If the parties are unable to resolve the issue locally, the issue will be brought to the Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) through a document jointly prepared by the participants in the local discussions. 

Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC):
The DRC is a committee of four members (2 representing the Company and 2 representing AFA) and is empowered to resolve these issues in whole or in part. The expectation is that the DRC will address the issues within 60 days of receipt. The DRC can do this by resolving the NOD, in whole or in part, by sending the NOD back to the first-level dispute resolution participants for further local resolution efforts or by assigning the NOD to expedited or traditional arbitration.

Bypass of the Process 
The Master Executive Council (MEC) Grievance Chair, the Vice President of Labor Relations, or his/her designee, may decide that a NOD may have significant widespread impact on Flight Attendants and/or significant financial impact to the Company. The NOD in such cases will proceed directly to arbitration under the provisions of Section 24. 

Non-Precedent and Non-Prejudice 

All NOD resolutions shall be without precedent and prejudice in regard to any other NOD, dispute, grievance, or System Board of Adjustment hearing unless: 1) the settlement clearly states in writing that it is precedent-setting, and 2) the settlement is signed by the MEC President on behalf of AFA and the Vice President of Labor Relations on behalf of the Company. 

Duty to Resolve Dispute Resolution Problems

If AFA or the Company receives credible information to the effect that the local dispute resolution process is experiencing problems in a locale or department, the parties will in good faith evaluate the situation and, if a problem exists, take appropriate action. The DRC is authorized and encouraged to report to AFA and the Company respectively if it believes that local- based dispute resolution is subject to problems in a certain locale or department.

You may review the information listed above by referencing your Flight Attendant Guide, pages 4-5. Additional information, including a copy of the Flight Attendant Guide and Q&A’s are available to download on unitedafa.org.

Return to Grievance Home Page