United Airlines AFA MEC Website

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA United Master Executive Council

Dear AFA: September 25, 2012

Date: September 25, 2012
Type: Dear AFA

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to Dear AFA.  A democratic, Member driven Union of Flight Attendants for Flight Attendants.  Today is Tuesday, September 25, 2012 and this is Master Executive Council Communication Vice-Chairperson, Jeffrey Tonjes reporting.


2013 Benefit Open Enrollment Begins October 1

United’s Annual Benefit Open Enrollment for 2013 will consist of two open enrollment periods.  Active employees will be able to select their 2013 benefits beginning October 1, 2012 through October 23, 2012.  Retirees will be able to select their benefits on October 24, 2012 through November 9, 2012. United has mailed a benefits preview to all Flight Attendants and Retirees, highlighting the changes to the 2013 health benefits.  Please note that the enrollment time period is significantly different from previous years.

This year there have been some significant changes to Flight Attendant benefits.  For Flight Attendants who are, or will be enrolling in, the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Traditional PPO plan you will be mailed two separate ID cards.  One card is for Medical Benefits and the other is for prescription benefits through Medco. 

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) limits will decrease to $2500 and a new Debit/Credit Card will be issued with a PIN for those who elect that option of the FSA. 

United will also be switching to a new Traditional PPO plan for mental health by ValueOptions.  A mailing will be sent out to Flight Attendants by United to address the changeover, the new network and steps for continuing coverage during the transition of the mental health plan.  There has been no changes to any of the HMO plans however there have been some vender changes.

There are also changes for dependent certification in some circumstances.  We encourage you to carefully review these to be sure any eligible dependents are covered for the 2013 period. 

Flight Attendants should review the information mailed from United, the information located on the Your Benefits Resource (YBR) located on United’s Flying Together website and make any changes necessary before enrollment closes. UAL’s YBR is easily accessed through the “Useful Websites Link” on our AFA website; or you may call the United Airlines Benefits Center with questions regarding enrolling or using YBR for your 2012 benefits at 800-651-1007.

Again, the enrollment period for this year has changed, be sure you complete your enrollment within the new time period.

MEC Grievances Update

In March 2012, we filed three MEC Grievances base on a disagreement with United regarding the implementation of certain provisions of our new Contract:  MEC 5-12 – Reserve Vacation Pay (18.K.1.), MEC 6-12 – Legal Rest for Domestic Duty Periods Exceeding 10:30 (Section 7.J.1.e.) and  MEC 7-12 – Legal Rest associated with 8:30-in-24 (7.D.1.b.).  All of these cases are pending a hearing with the System Board of Adjustment.

Specify for MEC 5-12, during the course of the negotiations it was agreed that Reserve Flight Attendants are never to be paid less than their guarantee of seventy-eight (78) hours when they are on vacation.  Further, Reserve Flight Attendants on vacation are paid the greater of the Reserve Minimum guarantee of 78 hours or the value of the vacation plus the credited value outside the vacation period.  We have been working to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible and despite our efforts management has refused to schedule this case at the System Board of Adjustment.  Our efforts to resolve these very important issues, especially the pay issue for Reserves, has also included settlement discussions which have not resulted in an acceptable resolution. 

Accordingly we will continue our efforts to have these cases heard before the System Board expeditiously and we invite management to work with us in getting this case before an arbitrator without further delay.  If necessary the Master Executive Council has authorized the employment of outside counsel if management continues to be intransigent.  We will keep you updated as we make progress to address these important issues.

October Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The month of October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In partnership with AFA, United has supported Breast Cancer Network of Strength, formerly known as Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization since 2005.  This year we will be able to show our support for Breast Cancer Awareness during the month of October by wearing company-approved pink uniform accessories while on duty.  Five dollars from the purchase of every approved pink uniform item will be donated to Breast Cancer Network of Strength. Items may be purchased beginning today through the link located on our website.  All orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, as supplies are limited.  Approved pink uniform accessories purchased in 2011 may also be worn during the month of October.

Breast cancer remains the most common form of cancer among women, having affected over 2 million women living in the United States and it is something that affects all of us, as each of us has precious women in our lives.  It is appropriate that we consider the efforts each of us can make during the month of October in supporting research for a cure, education for prevention or early detection and comfort those affected by the disease directly or through the experience of a loved one.

2012 November and December Interim Vacation Bidding

Due to the Early Out award, a number of November and December vacation periods will be available for interim vacation bid.  Those interested in submitting an interim vacation bid should do so during the October 1, 2012 to October 8, 2012 bid period.  Details on interim bidding are on our website.

Vacation Bidding 2013 Preparation

The 2013 Vacation bidding process will begin on October 29, 2012. In preparation for this process, United will shortly begin clearing out the 2012 Vacation information and loading the initial data for 2013 vacations. 

This annual process will cause any remaining 2012 vacation information to become inaccessible for Flight Attendants to view in their VACBID screen.  If you have vacation scheduled for the month of December 2012 and need a copy of your vacation dates for bidding your December schedule, we recommend you go to your VACBID screen in Unimatic and print a copy of your 2012 vacation bid information before it is updated.  Alternatively, you will need to contact the Flight Attendant Service Center (FASC), option 4/4, to request the information from the call center representative to retrieve your December 2012 Vacation dates in the event you are unable to print a hard copy.

41 Days until Election 2012

We have discussed the critical importance of the outcome of the U.S. Presidential election and the impact it will have on our jobs.  Decisions about airline regulation, safety and key turning points in foreign ownership and cabotage are critical to our future.  Whether you're concerned about Contract negotiations, aviation regulations or the performance of your 401k account, there are plenty of reasons to make sure you vote on November 6th.

Before you can cast a ballot, you must be registered to vote.  Your AFA-CWA Local Council Government Affairs Committees have been conducting voter registration drives throughout the system this month.  If you missed one of the voter registration tables and need to ensure your right to vote, we have made available numerous resources available to you on our website.  Voting registration deadlines vary by state, but in many cases you must be registered to vote at least 31 days prior to Election Day.  Check your state's voter registration deadline and in order to be on the safe side, make sure you are registered to vote by October 4th.  U.S. citizens residing overseas are eligible to vote in the November 6, 2012 U.S. Presidential Election by mail-in absentee ballot.   

Absentee ballots are available by request through a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) made available for all U.S. citizens who reside outside of the United States.  The FPCA also serves as a voter registration application for any U.S. citizen who is not registered to vote.  Visit www.fvap.gov to get to the Federal Voting Assistance Project.

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

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