United Airlines AFA MEC Website

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA United Master Executive Council

E-Lines: August 11, 2017

Date: August 11, 2017
Type: Dear AFA

(UAL) Reserve Letters to be Published Approximately September 23, 2017

Per Section 10.A.2. of the pre-merger UAL 2012-2016 Contract the 2018 Reserve Letters for pre-merger UAL Flight Attendants are expected to be available on or around September 23, 2017. The Contractual Reserve letter designation list is required to be published during the month prior to the bidding of vacations.  As we have every year, Reserve Letters will be assigned to all pre-merger UAL Flight Attendant with the exception of the top twenty-five percent (25%) of each, who are exempt from Reserve Rotation and those Flight Attendants who have not yet achieved their fifth-year anniversary. 

Reserve Letter – A

January (01)











Reserve Letter – B













For additional information please contact your Local Council Office.

A Comprehensive Approach to Balancing Flying Opportunities Within Subsidiaries

Over the course of the last several months, we have heard many of you express a desire for the company to balance flying opportunities not only between pre-merger subsidiaries but also within our respective pre-merger airline work groups.  We have heard from Flight Attendants with more than 30+ years of seniority who are on Reserve status they would like to see flying opportunities balanced within their respective subsidiary in a way that recognizes their years of service to our airline and moves them from Reserve status.  We’ve heard from others about the extended wait for transfer opportunities which would allow them to address family and other quality of life issues.  For some time now, the MEC Officers have been in discussions with United management as we have continued our advocacy and encourage management to address these quality of life issues. 

In response to our continuing advocacy, we are pleased to report that management has responded to the concerns expressed by the Union using a comprehensive approach intended to address your priorities using a three-tiered approach as described by John Slater, VP Inflight Operations which includes:

  1. Processing transfers
  2. Moving (reassigning) aircraft at certain hub locations
  3. Balancing flying

Processing transfers directly affects not only the Flight Attendants who transfer, but also provides for relief from Reserve status for some of the more senior Flight Attendants at the base/domicile. Many of those seeking to move to another domicile location for pre-merger UAL are within their first five years of their careers and will therefore serve continuous Reserve until after their fifth year anniversary.  This will have the immediate impact of reducing the senior designated reserve at the locations to which they transfer.  In a similar way, pre-merger CAL transfers into IAH will provide the more senior Flight Attendants a respite from the demands of Reserve.

Transfers to U.S. domestic locations were awarded to Flight Attendants at both pre-merger airlines as follows:

Transfers to


Pre-merger UAL


Pre-Merger CAL










SLS – 3






47 & NLS -6



LAI – 7 & LLS – 3

In addition to these transfer opportunities, management has reassigned some of the 767-400 aircraft from WTA to NTA, some 767-300 from EWR to DCA and will assign additional flying at the hubs to alleviate some of the imbalance in flying opportunities.

(CAL) Additional Language Bases to Open in November

This week the company also announced plans to open a new language base in San Francisco of Korean language qualified Flight Attendants (SLS-KOR). The base is scheduled to open for the bid month of November when the SFO-ICN flight transitions between subsidiaries.  Additionally, the company has announced plans for a Mandarin language qualified base to open in Washington Dulles (WLS-CAM) to support the transition of the IAD-PEK flight to pre-merger CAL in late October.

If you have additional questions please, contact your Local Council Office.

Introducing Vacation Buy Back and Flex Vacation Options

Shortly after Reserve Letters are published, the Vacation Buy Back and Flex Election period will open on September 25, 2017 and will remain open for twenty (20) days through October 15, 2017.  Why is this period twenty days long?

Prior to the annual vacation bid, the company shall offer a vacation buy back option that will provide Flight Attendants the opportunity to elect to take pay in lieu of accrued vacation that would otherwise be available for use in the next Scheduled Vacation Year. Section 12.D.1 of our Contract requires Flight Attendants be provided this twenty (20) day period to submit the vacation buy back request. In order to be awarded a vacation buy back request, a minimum of six (6) days of accrued vacation must be “sold”.  Those Flight Attendants electing to sell vacation will receive their buy back payments in the first quarter of the Scheduled Vacation Year in which the vacation was to have taken.  That is, sometime during the period from January 2018 - March 2018.

It is important to note, if you elect to sell vacation through the vacation buy back program, you may not participate in the annual Flex Program in the same Scheduled Vacation Year.

Section 12.E. of our Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) provides for the Optional Flex Vacation Program where, prior to the annual vacation bid, the company must provide Flight Attendants with a twenty (20) day period to submit a Flex Vacation request.  The Flex Vacation program provides Flight Attendants with the ability to elect to take an additional seven (7) days of vacation.  These seven days are unpaid unless the Flight Attendant elects to have 1:54 of pay deducted from her/his earnings each month to set aside the pay for this Flex vacation week. 

In our next addition of E-lines, we will review Vacation accrual.  We will discuss the minimum flying and how these requirements affect the Contractual vacation accrual to which we are entitled based on our completed years of service to the company. In addition, we will introduce Vacation Accrual Letters and the useful information they contain.

For additional information please, Contact your Local Council Office.

PBGC Projections for Multi-Employer Programs

On August 3, 2017, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) FY2016 Projections Report reported the insurance program for multi-employer pension plans covering more than ten million Americans is likely to run out of money by the end of 2025.   At the same time, projections for the PBGCs insurance program for single employer pension plans, such as United Airlines, which covers some 28 million people show that it’s financial condition is likely to continue to improve.  Not only is this program highly unlikely to run out of money in the next 10 years, it is likely to eliminate its deficit within the next three to seven years.

This article, while perhaps confusing on its face, is creating some concern for our Members.  For this reason, we want to be clear.  While the PBGC does guarantee the pensions of several work groups from United Airlines, ours is not a multi-employer pension plan.  The benefits for United employees are protected as part of a PBGC single employer program and is, therefore, expected to continue to improve in overall health.

 If you have additional questions, please contact your Local Council Office.

Reminders and Quick Links:

August 26                    Cause Foundation Fundraiser - Chicago, IL

September 23             pmUA Reserve Letter lists available

September 25             Vacation Election Process Begins

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