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Council 21 - Washington DC

About Council 21

Representing United Airlines Flight Attendants based at DCA. Local CWA #22021

MEC 9 – 12 (Profit Sharing) – Our Collective Reaction, Arbitration and Next Steps (Feb 17, 2019)

Council Office

Todd Failla

Todd Failla

LEC President
Patrick Hodges

Patrick Hodges

LEC Vice President
Chelle Tennyson

Chelle Tennyson

LEC Secretary
Lois Breece

Lois Breece

Council Representative
Michelle Masterson

Michelle Masterson

Council Representative
Thom Vargas

Thom Vargas

Council Representative

Meeting Minutes




MEC 9 – 12 (Profit Sharing) – Our Collective Reaction, Arbitration and Next Steps (Feb 17, 2019)


Ladies and Gentlemen of Council 21,

Tomorrow, we celebrate Presidents’ Day. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government.

While this year it is celebrated on Monday, February 18, it was traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.

We want to thank all of the Members of Council 21, who continue to call and email us. Whether it be legality questions or rumor control, we appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

We are available to you 24/7 by either stopping in the IAD Office, calling 703 260 0051 during normal business hours or by using the prompts after hours. Here is the prompt order. Call 703 260 0051, Please listen to the full meaasge, then press:

1 –  Non-immediate issues; calls will be returned next business day.(General questions that are not time sensitive.)

2 –  Reserve ONLY Issues (Immediate need)

3 – Urgent and Immediate Matters.(Including scheduling issues)

Contact your Reserve Committee by Text or Email:

In addition to being on call 24 hours a day for urgent and immediate Reserve issues, the Local Reserve Committee is now available by text message or email for non-urgent matters.  You can text message/email the Reserve Committee with any non-urgent concerns or questions.  The Reserve Committee will make every attempt to respond to your inquiry within 48 hours.

Council 21 Reserve Committee by Text Message - 571.420.1721

Council 21 Reserve Committee by Email - dcareserve@unitedafa.org

To email Council 21, please use afadca@unitedafa.org.

Note! We do not use or respond to united.com emails for union business.

Thank you for being informed and engaged Members. Please remember to fly safe, challenge rumors and to respect each other.

In Solidarity and with Respect,

Todd Failla

Local Executive Council President

AFA-CWA, IAD Council 21



MEC 9 – 12 (Profit Sharing) – Our Collective Reaction, Arbitration and Next Steps

As we reported in the February 8, 2019 article, MEC 9-12 was filed protesting the calculation of the 2011 Profit Sharing Payment made to pmUA Flight Attendants.   Disappointingly, we reported that we did not prevail in the case. Since that article was published, not only have we heard the collective disappointment, it’s important that we convey to each of you that we share in your disappointment.  You will recall, as part of the bankruptcy process, profit sharing was to replace, in part, the wage, benefit and pension concessions made by the pmUA Flight Attendants.  Given this understanding, the impact on the pmUA Membership is clear.

Subsequent to the release of the award of the arbitrator, we have received a number of questions on the arbitration process that we will attempt to address.

Arbitration – The Process

Section 24 of our JCBA provides for the System Board of Adjustment including

·      Establishment of the Board 

·      Membership

·      Jurisdiction of the Board

·      Consideration of Disputes

·      Selection of Arbitrators

·      Scheduling of Hearing Cases

·      Submissions

·      Representatives/Witnesses

·      Majority Rule

·      Effect of Decisions 

·      Rights under the Railway Labor Act

When a dispute exists between the company and the Union on any issue properly submitted to it by the President of the Union when such dispute has not previously been settled in accordance with the terms of the JCBA, the item will be scheduled for presentation to the System Board Members and the neutral arbitrator.

The arbitrator for any dispute is hired by the company and the Union as a neutral party.  The arbitrator does work for any number of entities and is not specifically dedicated to either AFA or United.  As such, we are dependent on her/his personal schedule.

The System Board is a five Member board consisting of two representatives from AFA, two representatives of management and the neutral arbitrator.

In addition, there are a number of witnesses who present testimony/evidence during the process.  Some of the individuals are Union representatives while others may be members of management, current or former employees or experts on specific subject matters.

During the course of the arbitration for MEC 9-12, two sessions were conducted, one in 2017 and one in 2018, during which time testimony and evidence was presented to the Members of the System Board of Adjustment by the various individuals who were called to testify before the Board.

After testimony, evidence and arguments of the parties is presented to the System Board, the arbitrator spends time working to formulate her/his position based on what was presented to the Board. There is no specific time limit imposed on the arbitrator within which she/he must complete her/his findings and to render a decision.

It is also important to understand that not all arbitrations, even when addressing what might appear to be the same issue, are the same.  While there may be similarities in certain cases, as is the case with ALPA and AFA as it pertains to Profit Sharing, any comparison of cases must be on an “apples to apples” basis. Differences in provisions within the respective Collective Bargaining Agreements, practice of the parties, the bargaining history and other unique issues can result in very different awards. Even more importantly, the involvement of different arbitrators can lead to very different conclusions.

Next Steps

Over the course of this past week as well as the next, AFA Legal and the MEC Officers are reviewing our options with regard to next steps.  Under the JCBA and the Railway Labor Act, System Board Awards are final and binding on the parties and court review of System Board Awards is limited. At the same time, defending the agreements we negotiate is an essential part of the Union’s business and we are prepared to take the legal steps necessary and warranted to fulfill our representational responsibilities under the Contract.  

During this period of time while we consider our options on how to defend our contract, we must maintain custody of the arbitrator’s award.  We understand the unique nature of this award and how it impacts the Membership. However, we have a duty to secure the arbitrator’s decision in the event we pursue legal action. For this reason, requests for release of the award cannot be granted.  

MEC 3 – 19  Contacting Reserves Outside Last Hour of Legal Rest – Sustained!

On January 15, 2019, MEC 3-19 was filed protesting the company’s violation of Section 8.I.3.c. of the JCBA when the company contacted Flight Attendants earlier than during the last hour of legal rest.  

Section 8.I.3.c. provides,  “Upon release to [legal] rest, Scheduling will only contact a Reserve during the last hour of the [legal[ rest period at the home base.”

We are pleased to report the grievance was sustained and the clear and unambiguous language of the JCBA prohibits this contact, even on a courtesy call basis to advise Reserves about early morning assignments.

As a remedy, the company has agreed to restarting the rest period when Reserves are contacted in advance of the last hour of her/his legal rest period at the home domicile.

The Crew Scheduler may restart rest as soon as she/he discovers the error.  If this does not occur, the individual Flight Attendants whose legal rest has been interrupted must bring the violation to the Company’s attention within the same rest period in which the improper contact was made.

What does this decision mean and how does this impact Flight Attendants?

There are two very important issues Flight Attendants must be aware of as a result of this decision.  

First, Flight Attendants receiving Reserve assignments during the Reserve Preference process will continue to be responsible for assignments that might once have been covered by courtesy calls.  Said another way, courtesy calls should not be made nor should they be expected.

Secondly, this decision places a level of responsibility on Flight Attendants to know their legal rest legalities at home.  For example, if your domestic legal rest is twelve (12) hours, the company may contact you during the eleventh (11) hour to notify you of assignment. If the crew desk contacts you during the tenth (10) hour, you must advise the company of the violation within that rest period, that is before twelve (12) hours in order to reset rest.  

Conversely, if you return from an international pairing where the flight/DH time in the last duty period is between 14:01 – 16:30, your rest period at home is twenty-four (24) hours in which case the company may call you during your twenty-third (23) hour of rest to advise you of your next assignment.  In order to reset rest, you must notify the company during that rest period or before the end of the 24th hour if your legal rest has been compromised by a call prior to the 23rd hour.

Knowing your contractual legal rest is the best way of ensuring your legal rest at home is protected.

Keeping Your Address Current – A Fidelity Initiative

Recently the company has been working company-wide to enhance processes in order to locate 401(k) participants who do not have a current address on file with Fidelity. This effort is intended to increase the number of participants receiving their quarterly statements and other important information from Fidelity. 

We strongly encourage you to update your address on file with the company through the Employee Services tab on the company’s website.

If you have additional questions, please contact the C21 Office for assistance at 703 260 0051


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