United Airlines AFA MEC Website

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA United Master Executive Council

Dear AFA: December 16, 2014

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Reported by Allen Ward

  • 2014 Uniform Points Expire December 31 2014
  • Working Crew Holiday Buddy Travel
  • Change to Known Crew Member Requirements Effective January 13 2015
  • Layover Safety
  • Reserve Christmas Wish List Reminder
  • Implications of Omnibus Spending Bill on PBGC Retirement Benefits
  • The Holidays and the Stress it Can Bring

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to Dear AFA. We are a democratic, Member driven Union of Flight Attendants for Flight Attendants. Today is Tuesday, December 16, 2014 and this is Denver Council 9 Volunteer Allen Ward reporting.

2014 Uniform Points Expire December 31, 2014
2014 uniform points expire on December 31, 2014 and DO NOT roll over for use in the following 2015 calendar year.  In order to get full use from your annual uniform point allocation, orders must be submitted before the following deadlines:

  • Telephone Orders - Must be placed by 1500 Central Standard Time on December 31, 2014
  • Online Orders - Must be placed by 2359 Central Standard Time on December 31, 2014 via the Cintas Website.  A link is provided in the Useful Websites section of our website at unitedafa.org.

Be sure to utilize your full 2014 uniform point allocation.  We encourage you to place these orders early to avoid running the risk of forgetting to do so during the busy holiday season.

Working Crew Holiday Buddy Travel
As a reminder, United is offering again this year, working crew holiday buddy travel.  Flight Attendants who are working crew members have the ability to travel with up to two people using buddy passes who will travel at the Flight Attendant’s personal pass classification. This applies to both domestic and international travel and is available beginning December 18, 2014 and ending on/before midnight January 5, 2015.

For more information visit our website.

Change to Known Crew Member Requirements Effective January 13, 2015
Starting January 13, 2015 Known Crew Members will no longer be required to be in uniform to pass through the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Known Crew Member (KCM) checkpoint.  All other parameters of the program still apply and we remind Members to follow the guidelines to protect our status in the program.  AFA-CWA has been a strong proponent in the advocacy of this change ensuring that Flight Attendants are viewed as ‘trusted Members of the crew, the first responders on the aircraft, and the last line of defense in aviation security” as stated by AFA International President Sara Nelson.

Please visit our website to view AFA’s Media Release.

Layover Safety
We often consider activity onboard the aircraft when reviewing safety and security procedures, but personal safety at layover locations should also be at the forefront of safety in our work environment.  Please review of the following hotel safety guidelines:

  • Do not mention room numbers in the presence of other hotel guests and request hotel staff not to announce your room number.
  • Insist that the crew sign-in sheet be kept in a secure place.
  • Try to have rooms assigned close to other crewmembers, when possible.
  • Prior to closing the room door, check your room with a fellow crewmember and use your suitcase to prop the door open.
  • When you are alone on the layover, you might consider requesting hotel security or other staff to escort you to your room and wait while you inspect the entire room.
  • Check closets, under beds, behind drapes and the bath. Ensure the phone is working and you can directly dial 911 or other emergency number, if needed and it’s locally available.
  • Take note of the number of fire exits, where they are located and if re-entry is possible from floor to floor.
  • Once inside the room and the door is closed, use all available door and window locks.
  • While at the layover hotel, keep personal luggage in your possession or secured at all times.  Leave valuables at home or place them in the hotel safe.
  • Place your room key and your flashlight at your bedside and keep in mind that we stay in some areas subject to earthquakes and tornadoes so review available hotel emergency procedures. 
  • Verify with the front desk the identity of anyone at your room door, including room service, before allowing them inside.

Addressing our layover safety and security is the priority for our Hotel and Transportation Committee.  If you experience an incident that compromises safety, be sure to document the event through TVLLOG in Unimatic so that AFA has the necessary data to address and resolve the situation as soon as possible.

Reserve Christmas Wish List Reminder
Flight Attendants on Reserve for the month of December, have an opportunity to preference where they would like to layover for the three (3) days preceding and two (2) day following Christmas.  Section 10.C.13.c. of our Contract provides for the Reserve Christmas Wish List and for these assignments to be made in seniority order. When submitting your requests, you will be asked for your Reserve LOF number as well as your Reserve status (CLLR/RSV).  Requests may be submitted for up to four locations.

You may submit your holiday layover requests through the link which will be available as of December 4th on our AFA website.  We encourage you to put an initial request on file early and modify your request if your circumstances change later in the month to take full advantage of the flexibility of our programming.  The last request on file will be the request that will be considered at the time of assignment.  The submission page will detail the dates of your request and must be finalized to be considered.

For a full list of deadline dates for the holiday period, as well as more detailed information please visit unitedafa.org/wishlist.  United Crew Scheduling will make every attempt to accommodate the Reserve Christmas Wish List layover requests to the best of their ability.

Implications of Omnibus Spending Bill on PBGC Retirement Benefits
The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill that would fund the U.S> government for the rest of fiscal 2014 and let Congress avoid the risk of a shutdown until the end of September.  Members voted 359-67 to pass the bill, which was opposed by 64 Republicans and three Democrats.

We have received a number of questions asking if there are any implications on our PBGC benefits as a result of the provision in the recently passed Omnibus Spending Bill affecting multi-employer pension plans. 

The Omnibus Spending Bill does not give the PBGC authority to cut retirement benefits they currently oversee. The change applies only to still functioning multi-employer pension plans, where a group of businesses in the same industry join forces with a union to provide pension coverage for employees. Some of these plans are in danger of running out of money and the PBGC has warned that if these big plans fail it could cause the PBGC safety net for multi-employer plans to fail.

Our United pension plan that was taken over by the PBGC is a single employer plan covered by a separate PBGC insurance fund that according to the PBGC annual report is in much better financial shape.

The Holidays and the Stress it Can Bring
The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year, you get to spend time with your family and friends and be merry.  With all of the joy the season brings it can also bring unwanted stress.  AFA and the EAP Committee have compiled some suggestions to help distress your holiday season.

How to Deal With Difficult Family Interactions During the Holidays
Being realistic is the first step. Family dynamics typically revert to historic patterns when families come back together.  You don’t have to pretend that all is well, but you can sidestep difficulties by anticipating them and planning on ways to temporarily separate and defuse. 

Financial Stress Can Ruin the Holiday Spirit
Knowing your spending limit is also a way to relieve holiday stress. People believe that they have to go out and buy gifts because it's the holidays, even if they can't afford to do so. Not only is it stressful to feel that you have to buy everyone a gift, but you'll be stressed for the rest of the year trying to pay off your bills. Perhaps this is the year to make a pact not to exchange gifts but to share time together.  This could also help someone who isn’t in a financial position to exchange gifts with you.

Time Restrictions Around the Holidays
Putting routines on pause or totally rearranging schedules because of the holidays are the ingredients for exhaustion and chaos.   Prioritize activities that are important and can fit around important replenishing activities like sleep, proper meals and exercise.

Dealing with A Recent Tragedy, Death or Break-up During the Holidays
If you're feeling really out of sorts because of a loss or stressor, try to tell those around you what you really need, since they may not know how to help you.  Ask for their understanding if you decline an activity or can’t summon up the holiday spirit.  Give yourself permission to grieve just as you would any other time of the year.

Coping With Kids Who Want Everything for the Holidays
Parents need to tell their children to be realistic. It is OK to say to your child that a certain toy is too expensive. Even Santa Claus has limited funds and has to choose what to give because he has a very long list. You can also tell your children that Mom and Dad and Santa Claus will try to choose the suitable present.  It’s a hard lesson to teach a young child the value of money; however, the earlier you explain the costs associated the sooner children will learn the value of things.  Children also have to learn their wish is not someone's command and to curb their desires for instant gratification.

How Do You Manage the Holidays If They Start Feeling Painful?
If you are unable to shake what you think are "holiday blues” your feelings may not be just about the holidays, but about other things in your life.  If you need help in sorting out or dealing with painful thoughts or feelings, call your AFA EAP for confidential assistance.  Call 1-800-424-2406.

The EAP/Professional Standards Committee is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-424-2406 as well the Employee Assistance section of our website is filled with information and articles to help Members. 

That’s all for tonight and thank you for calling.

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