United Airlines AFA MEC Website

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA United Master Executive Council

Dear AFA: May 10, 2013

Date: May 10, 2013
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 Friday, May 10, 2013 and this Allen Ward, Denver Council 9 Volunteer, reporting.

Staff Not SAFA
Recently we brought to your attention concerns with United’s poorly conceived “Service Instructor” SAFA position.  United maintains these SAFAs are being placed on our aircraft to “lend a hand” to working crew and to provide “consistency.”  Initial reports indicate that the presence of these SAFAs in the “Service Instructor” role is very closely matching the result we predicted.

Let’s be clear on the consistency United hopes to achieve through this program: circumventing the need to properly staff our aircraft.

It’s important to remember that these SAFAs are not part of the working crew.  They sit in a passenger seat, and while they are Flight Attendants, their role does not include any Flight Attendant responsibilities as a crewmember.  If you are understaffed, this SAFA does not satisfy the staffing requirements, and you should request understaffing pay as appropriate.  Pursers should not be assigning these SAFAs to specific cabin work positions, as these SAFAs are not members of the working crew.

United may wish for these SAFAs to “lend a hand” during the service, but this does absolutely nothing to address the inadequate staffing United provides, which continues to fall far short of enabling a scheduled crew to provide adequate service consistently.  Once these SAFAs are gone, then what’s the plan?

If you have a SAFA onboard your flight who offers to help, consider whether you wish for them to “lend a hand.” Or on the other hand, if their assistance is not desired, tell them so politely and decline their offer of help.  Encourage the SAFA to report to management that the real issue with the lack of consistency is the lack of adequate staffing resources to complete the job. 

We have received reports management did not provide a clear job description.  Our Flying Partners with a genuine desire to address the service issues may not have realized the end result of their decision to participate.  Now that there is a better understanding on what this position entails, we recommend that they reconsider their participation in a program that ultimately serves management’s agenda and fails to address our legitimate staffing concerns. 

In any circumstance where a SAFA is assuming a working position on a flight, you should submit a marginal service report and identify that Flight Attendant work was performed by a “nonworking” Flight Attendant. 


No Knives!
This week, lawyers for nine organizations representing 400,000 aviation professionals, passengers and law enforcement officers filed a legal petition with Transportation Security Administrator (TSA) John Pistole and copied to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano seeking to rescind plans to allow knives in the aircraft cabins for the first time since 9/11. 

Wednesday, Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and Michael Grimm (R-NY) circulated a new sign-on letter to John Pistole urging the TSA not to move forward with their “dangerous, unnecessary and irresponsible policy” that puts Flight Attendants and passengers at risk.  Markey and Grimm are asking their House colleagues to sign on to this new letter by close of business Wednesday, May 15 and they need our help.

TSA Administrator Pistole could implement the policy changes as early as Memorial Day weekend according to the Washington Post: The TSA’s April 22 announcement to delay implementation of the changes is merely a brief procedural delay. Make a call today to urge your Representative to sign on to the No Knives Act, HR 1093, and the letter currently circulating by Congressmen Ed Markey (D-MA) and Michael Grimm (R-NY).

The following script should be used today through May 15, 2013 only.

Dial (202) 224-3121 and ask the Capitol switchboard operator to connect you with your Representative. Or, go here to look up your Congressional representative on-line.

When you call your Representative state:

“My name is _______ and I’m a Flight Attendant and constituent. The Washington Post says knives could be allowed on planes as early as Memorial Day weekend, which could also mean delays at airport security. I am calling to urge my Representative to sign on to a new letter to TSA Administrator Pistole being circulated by Congressmen Markey and Grimm that urges TSA not to keep the rule simple: No Knives on Planes. I also urge you to co-sponsor the No Knives Act, HR-1093, if you haven’t yet. (If they have, thank them.) Flight Attendants and passengers are counting on you to keep us safe. Sign on to the letter by contacting Dr. Chris Schaffer in Congressman Markey’s office or Aaron Ringel in Congressman Grimm’s office. Thank you.”

We have to fight to keep knives out of the cabin in every way possible. Your action today could make the difference. Call your Representative today.


Reserve “Z” Days
Our 2012-2016 Contract provides for the ability to construct Reserve Lines with more than 12 days off, up to a maximum of 16 (Section 10.D.2.).  This ability provides flexibility for those who wish to bid for greater days off, along with a reduced MIN for the month.  This change has spurred some questions, however, for those who did not bid for these lines, but were awarded them.  Specifically, how can these lines be identified? If awarded a line without having bid for it, can the “extra” days off be restored? 

The simplest way to recognize such lines is by the “Z” indicator on the days off, over and above the 12 guaranteed minimum days off.  Local Schedule Committees have recommended that these lines be the last lines in the Reserve package and in the header for each line, the increased number of days off will be reflected.  Our Central Schedule Committee has been working with the company to make these Reserve lines more easily identifiable within the bid package.  Remember more days off means a lower Reserve minimum, so be careful when you bid.  If you bid these lines, you are not entitled to restore Reserve days of availability and the corresponding Reserve Minimum.

If you are awarded a Line with more than 12 days off for which you did not bid, you can have all, or some of those days off restored.  You should call the crew desk at least 3 days prior to the start of your Reserve month, and our Contract requires that they consider your preference as to which day(s) of availability to restore.  The company will also include this information on the Cover Letter of our upcoming Bid Packages.


Known Crewmember Reminder
In early November of last year, all uniformed United Flight Attendants were able to take advantage of the Known Crew Member (KCM) Program.  At inception, KCM check-points were located at 31 airports around the country and the program provided expedited access to the airport while in uniform and in possession of a valid United Crew ID badge.   Since that time, further improvements have taken place with the issuance of KCM ID cards which have been made available to Flight Attendants to further expedite processing at the KCM checkpoint.

As processing at these checkpoints has improved and we’ve benefited from this expedited screening through passenger check-points, we have received some questions from Members who have been randomly selected for full screenings.  We remind everyone that all Crew Members are subject to random full screenings.  If you are directed by the TSA KCM Officer to a standard screening checkpoint, you should proceed through the standard screening process. 

In addition to these random screenings, should the KCM TSA Officer be unable to verify your employment status, you should proceed through the standard screening process and notify your supervisor.


United Annual Stockholder Meeting – June 12 in Virginia
United’s annual meeting of stockholders will be held on June 12, 2013, at 9:00 EST.

Doubletree by Hilton Hotel – Crystal City
300 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, VA  22202

Doors open for registration and admittance at 8:30 for those accompanied by an admission ticket (stockholders) and a picture ID.  If you are a stockholder, you should have received your Annual Meeting Notice and Admission Ticket in the mail, with information regarding Proxy Materials.  For those of you unable to attend United’s stockholder meeting to cast your ballot in person, you may vote online.

This year, proposals to be voted on at United’s Annual Meeting are as follows:

  1. Election of Directors – AFA recommends “Withhold” your vote.
  2. Ratification of the Appointment of Ernst & Young – AFA recommends a vote “For.”
  3. Advisory Resolution approving compensation of the named executive officers – AFA recommends a vote “Against.”
  4. Re-approval of the performance measures under the 2008 Incentive Compensation plan – AFA recommends a vote “Against.”
  5. Approval of the amended performance measures under the 2010 Incentive Plan – AFA recommends a vote “Against.”
  6. Approval of an amendment to the company’s amended and restated bylaws to provide stockholders with the right to call a special meeting of stockholders – AFA recommends a vote “For.”

As always, we encourage you to read through the material and make an educated and informed decision.  Your meeting notice contains instructions on how and where to vote your shares. 

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

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