United Airlines AFA MEC Website

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA United Master Executive Council

Dear AFA: November 18, 2014

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Reported by Karen Roller-Penn

  • 2015 Benefits Correction Period Closes This Friday - November 21
  • Enhanced Early Out Program Travel Purchase
  • Reserve Letter Trading and Update
  • Primary (Phase I) Vacation Bidding Opens Today
  • Reduced Vacation Accrual Due to Occupational
  • Working Crew Holiday Buddy Travel
  • Joint Negotiations Resume in Chicago

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, November 18, 2014 and this is San Francisco Council 11 Volunteer, Karen Roller-Penn reporting.

2015 Benefits Correction Period Closes This Friday - November 21
As a reminder, if you need to make any corrections to your 2015 Benefits please visit United's Your Benefits Resources site or call a representative by this Friday, November 21, 2014 during the 2015 Benefits correction period.

If you have questions regarding benefits open enrollment, please contact the United Airlines Benefits Service Center at 1-800-651-1007, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. CT.

Enhanced Early Out Program Travel Purchase
Enhanced Early Out Program (EEOP) participants currently on Voluntary Furlough have been assigned an exit date of November 30, 2014.  For those who are interested and/or need to purchase pass travel to age into retiree pass travel need to act now. The deadline to purchase extended travel benefits is November 24, 2014 at noon Central Time. This information specifically applies to those who have been assigned an exit date of November 30, 2014. Flight Attendants wishing to purchase travel, who do not have an exit date, will make their elections once notified of their release date.

Travel may be purchased for 5, 10 or 15 year increments at a cost of $5000 per five year increments. United has created a tool to help aid you in determining how many years of travel will be need to be purchased if you are not eligible for retiree travel on your exit date. The tool, which has been developed as part of an excel spreadsheet, can be accessed on our website and used on any computer where Microsoft Excel has been enabled. 

Flight Attendants who are interested in this option, should print and complete the Travel Election Form available on our website.  Once the form is completed, it should be scanned and e-mailed to United at buytravel@united.com.  As a reminder, the deadline to purchase extended travel benefits is November 24, 2014 at noon Central Time. All purchased travel will be deducted from your Early Out payment and United has stated they will not extend this deadline.

Reserve Letter Trading and Update
The 2015 Reserve letters have been posted and can be found on our website.  As a reminder the 2015 Reserve letters become effective with the February 2015 schedule month, which begins on January 30, 2015.

Any Flight Attendant’s who wish to trade their 2015 Reserve letter can do so using Unimatic page DIS*27871. Please remember all Reserve letter trades must be made with another Flight Attendant in your same domicile.  Reserve letter trades effective for the February 2015 schedule month must be received by December 29, 2014.  As in previous years United has committed there will not be a seniority restriction on the cut off date for any 2015 Reserve letter trades. 

We are aware that the names of many of those awarded the EEOP are included on the Reserve Rotation lists.  We understand that our Members are seeing these names and that questions abound as to why Vacation Bids were delayed.

AFA proposed and the company agreed to a Letter of Agreement modifying the Contractual Vacation Bidding timeline and that would allow the company time to process the Early Out bid and subsequently remove from competitive vacation bidding those flight attendants who will be separated or retired prior to the start of the 2015 flying year.  We have been advised that all those on voluntary furlough who will be retired or separated on November 30, 2014 are not included on either the Reserve Rotation list nor will they be allocated vacation and included in the 2015 vacation awards.  It has been our position that members who will be leaving prior to January 2015 should not be included in either of these processes.

The company has indicated there will be some exits of EEOP candidates in December and January; however, the company has yet to finalize exit dates for all locations.  Remember exit dates can extend for up to a two-year period following the award dates.  It is for this reason we must contractually insist that all Flight Attendants who are known to be here in January 2015 and beyond, must be included in the vacation process and on the Reserve Letter lists.  The company has not finalized the exit dates for all Flight Attendants; those bidding vacations should bid the vacation periods they would want to hold as if they were still working.  Once assigned an exit date, any accrued but unused vacation will be paid out as part of the final paycheck.  Any primary vacations that are vacated will be returned to the interim vacation bidding process for selection by those Flight attendants remaining at the location.

We will continue to monitor the Reserve Status of those remaining at the location and act accordingly if the composition of the location changes significantly.

Primary (Phase I) Vacation Bidding Opens Today
Primary (Phase I) Vacation Bidding opened today and will close at 8:30 AM CST on Tuesday November 25, 2014.  2015 Vacation, Reserve Letters and accruals were loaded into the VACBID screens late last week.  Should you have any questions regarding the 2015 Vacation Accrual posted in the VACBID screen, your first telephone call should be to the Flight Attendant Vacation team through 1-800-FLTLINE, option 5, option 1. 

Late in the day yesterday after vacation accruals were loaded into the VACBID screens, a problem was identified with the vacation accruals for Flight Attendants who flew in a Partnership during the vacation accrual year (8/31/13 – 8/30/14).  Once identified, the problem was quickly corrected and corrected accruals were re-loaded into the VACBID screens.  If you flew as part of a Partnership during the vacation accrual year, check your vacation accrual again as it may have changed as a result of correcting the problem.

Keep in mind, the company has not completed the announcement of exit dates for Flight Attendants at all locations.  Ultimately, when people leave it may impact what you are able to hold in the vacation bidding process.  In every instance, you are encouraged to bid the vacation periods you want to hold without regard for what you think you might be able to hold.  In addition, one of the most common vacation bidding errors involves the bidding of vacation that spans two calendar months. Again this year, it is critical that you review the start and end dates for the newly defined schedule months. By doing so, you can ensure that you have the correct number of days in each month based on the vacation period being bid. When applying vacation slide rules, your initial vacation bid must be legal. If not, vacation slide will not correct an invalid bid.

Our annual Vacation Bidding article is now available on our website at unitedafa.org.

Reduced Vacation Accrual Due to Occupational
As we begin the Annual Vacation Bidding process, we are once again receiving questions from Flight Attendant who are surprised to learn their vacation accrual has been reduced as a result of being on an Occupational Leave of Absence during the vacation accrual year.  In January 2014, the Union filed an MEC Grievance (MEC 1-14) in response to management’s action to unilaterally reduce vacation in certain circumstances when a Flight Attendant has been on an Occupational Leave of Absence.  This case has been submitted to the System Board of Adjustment and is pending a hearing date.

If you are impacted, please provide the following specifics to your Local Council:

  • Name
  • Domicile
  • File Number
  • Effective dates of the Occupational Leave of Absence
  • Total Vacation accrual to which you are entitled under the Contract (19, 26, 33, 40 days)
  • Total Vacation accrual credited for 2014 and 2015 as listed in your VACBID screen
  • Total Vacation reduction
  • Copies of VACBID screen and Work History entry (FDWH) documenting Occupational LOA dates

Accordingly we will continue our efforts to have this case heard expeditiously. If you have further questions please contact your Local Council.

Working Crew Holiday Buddy Travel
Flight Attendants who are working crew members will 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 the domestic and international travel and is available over two periods.

  • Beginning November 23, 2014 and ending on/before midnight December 5, 2014
  • Beginning December 18, 2014 and ending on/before midnight January 5, 2015

When creating your reservation through United's employeeRes, remember to check the "traveling with working crew member" box to be sure your "buddies" are booked at the correct pass classification. You are required to notify the gate agent in person when your "buddy" accompanies you at the city where they are boarded and at a connecting city with an aircraft change. If seats are not available, the "buddies" will travel at the unaccompanied classification on the next available flight on which they can be boarded.

Joint Negotiations Resume in Chicago
Joint Negotiation resumed this week in Chicago. The Joint Negotiations Committee (JNC) is expected to provide an update through the OurUnited newsletter later this week. All JNC updates can be found on the JNC website at www.ourunited.org.  If you are not signed-up to receive the OurUnited Newsletter please do so also on www.ourunited.org.

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

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