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Association of Flight Attendants-CWA United Master Executive Council

AFA E-Lines: Jul 31, 2015

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  • Welcome Class 1522
  • Presidential Candidates Attend AFL-CIO’s Executive Council Meeting
  • Reminder Jetbridge Door Access Procedure Change
  • Payroll Overpayments-What’s happening?
  • Follow Us on Twitter

Welcome Class 1522
Today, we would like to welcome the 40 graduating Members of class of 1522 to the line. Please help us to welcome these new Flight Attendants to our family. 

Presidential Candidates Attend AFL-CIO’s Executive Council Meeting
This week during the AFL-CIO Executive Council Meeting five of the 2016 presidential candidates met with the AFL-CIO Executive Board seeking presidential endorsements from the AFL-CIO Board.  The candidates who had submitted responses to survey questions by the AFL-CIO were invited to have individual sessions with the board.  The five candidates were former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.  Of the five candidates who attended 3 of them were wearing the AFA-CWA’s “I Support United Flight Attendants” sticker in recognition of our fight for a fair Contract.

Reminder, Jetbridge Door Access Procedure Change
On July 29th the United published an Inflight Safety Alert in reference to Jetbridge Door Access for Flight Attendants and highlighted the recent change to the Flight Attendant Operations Manual (FAOM).  Please reference the FAOM (page 17.8) for the correct procedure to access the jetbridge. 

If you have any questions please contact your or Local Council or file an IOR.

Payroll Overpayments- What’s happening?
Over the course of the past several weeks, we have been receiving reports from our Members indicating they have been contacted by the company and advised that they have been overpaid.  We immediately sought to understand the nature of the overpayment letters especially since many of these notices were requesting repayment of amounts from as far back at 2012. 

While waiting for management to respond, it seemed an additional “wave” of overpayment letters were sent to yet another group of Flight Attendants. 

Obtaining clear and concise information from United’s Payroll Department has been a challenge.  Not only by the Flight Attendants from whom the repayments have been requested but also by the Union.  The preferred course of action is an open and honest dialogue that helps everyone understand what is happening and promotes cooperation in accomplishing whatever needs to be done to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of the employee, the Union and the company.  Regrettably, this has been too slow in occurring and the process of resolving these overpayments has dragged out too long.  Flight Attendants continue to seek information from Payroll.  Many tell us they still do not understand how they have been overpaid.  Further complicating the process is that based on the source of the overpayment, different things are happening.

In the past week it has become clear to us that there are two different types of overpayments that have occurred.   These overpayments are being processed by different individuals within the Payroll Department and this work has not be coordinated to a single point of contact.  In some isolated cases, some of our Members are receiving overpayment notices from both overpayment groups.  While the number of employees affected remains relatively small in comparison to the size of our workgroup, the consternation at not getting information to resolve the issue has grown exponentially.  

What has caused the overpayments?
There are two different types of overpayments - Sick Leave Overpayments resulting from accepted occupational claims and Flight Advance Overpayments.

Occupational Overpayments
Occupational Sick Leave overpayments occur as a result of a Flight Attendant being place on sick leave when injured on the job.  Due to the lag in processing the Occupational illness with the company’s insurance vendor, Flight Attendants are initially paid from their sick leave bank, if they have hours remaining.   Once the Occupational illness is accepted by the company occupational vendor, Flight Attendants receive a payment from the insurance company and this payment is referred to as a TTD payment.  The issuance of this payment results in the Flight Attendant being paid twice – once from her/his sick leave bank and again through the Occupational Benefits process or the TTD payment.  These TTD payments are only issued once the occupational injury has been reviewed and the claim accepted.

Once the occupational claim is accepted, it is appropriate for the employee to receive the payment from the insurance company. The result is a duplicate payment for the same time period from the employee’s sick leave bank.   In resolving the issue, the duplicate payment from the employee’s sick leave bank must be returned to payroll and the sick leave hours restored. 

Flight Advance Overpayments
As Flight Attendants, we are paid in arrears for the work we perform for the company.  Our first of the month paycheck represents an advance on the hours from the previous month based on the following schedule:

If by the 20th of the previous month your minimum, your (1st) of the month paycheck is based on your minimum, DFAP total or GUAR:

  • If Fifty (50) hours or more – you will receive a FULL ADVANCE or 70% of your base pay - the equivalent of 49:42.
  • If 30 hours to 49:59 hours – you will receive a ½ ADVANCE or 35% of your base pay – the equivalent of 24:51.
  • If less than 30 hours, you will receive NO ADVANCE.

In those circumstances where a major portion of the Flight Attendant’s schedule flight hours occur after the 20th of the month and the Flight Attendant reduces these hours through trades, PTO or calls in sick without a sick leave balance sufficient to cover the flight hours missed it is highly likely that a Flight Advance Overpayment will occur.

If, after the 20th of the month, the Flight Attendant takes action that results in the reduction of her/his minimum and/or guarantee below the number of hours paid in the flight advance, the result is that she/he has been overpaid.  When this occurs, the amount of the overpayment will be identified on the mid-month paycheck as an Advance Adjustment, which represents the dollar value of the hours for which the Flight Attendant has been overpaid.

In each of these cases, Flight Attendants should reasonably expect management in Payroll to provide them with specific information to assist them in understanding how and when the overpayment occurred.  The employee and the company representative in Payroll should come to an understanding that an overpayment has occurred and the amount of that overpayment.  Once this is established, a reasonable discussion regarding the ability of the employee to repay the amount due should take place and an agreement, establishing the amount to be repaid each paycheck, should be achieved at the end of the discussion.  You will be asked to sign and return an agreement authorizing management to deduct the agreed upon amount from each paycheck until the amount is repaid. 

In every instance, if you have received an overpayment notice from the company, you should respond to the company’s communication and address the issue with Payroll.  If you are not receiving from Payroll the information you need to understand the overpayment, ask to speak to a supervisor.  If you require additional assistance after that conversation, contact your Local Council.

Follow Us on Twitter
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @AFAUnitedMEC. 

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