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Houston Council 42 - Houston

About Council 42

Representing United Airlines Flight Attendants based at IAH. Local CWA #26042

7.A.3, The United MEC, and YOU (Apr 07, 2020)

Council 42 - IAH Meeting Information

Meeting Date: 04/15/2020
Time: 11am - 2pm
Location: Sheraton Suites
15700 JFK Blvd, Houston, TX 
Agenda: TBA

Council Office

  •  855-4-AFAIAH (855-423-2424)
  •  CWA Local #26042
Elizabeth Hibbard

Elizabeth Hibbard

LEC President
Beth Fortner-Rodgers

Beth Fortner-Rodgers

LEC Vice President
Candance Mills

Candance Mills

LEC Secretary
David Bannister

David Bannister

Council Representative
Gina Knowles

Gina Knowles

Council Representative
Rene Trujillo

Rene Trujillo

Council Representative

7.A.3, The United MEC, and YOU (Apr 07, 2020)

7.A.3, the United MEC, and You....Council 42


To the Flight Attendants of Council 42, An important message about May Flying: 


What is 7.A.3? This is the Section of our contract which requires lines to be built to an average of 69 hours in each base.  Pay minimums of 71/78 are provided for in our Contract no matter what the actual line averages are per line.


On March 15, when the COVID Crisis was beginning to unravel April Flying, the United MEC committed to you, that no matter what was to come with this ordeal, NO CONCESSIONS would be accepted.  We know from experience that once contractual concessions are made, it will be YEARS before we get those pay items back…if we ever get them back at all.  Remember...we are going into contract negotiations 2021.


Concessions include cuts to pay rates, caps on flying hours, or any other change to our contract which affect a flight attendant’s ability to make money.  Concessions also include reduced staffing…and UAL already stated that they were trying to do this in the town hall meeting last week!  AFA International sent a letter to the FAA last week demanding no staff reductions on our AC.


Throughout March, we watched the Government pull down most all International flying- even after our line builders had already built the lines for April.  Our Central Scheduling Committee and Local Line Builders had to wait for the new flying projections- and then lines were finally built for the SECOND TIME for April just before the bid month started.  The contractual bidding timelines were blown due to the virus and Government pull down of flying...this was not a choice of the AFA.


Due to the fact that there was no time for UAL to put together a business plan for April with the drastic and almost overnight slash to our flying, the MEC made a one time decision to relieve the Company of the requirements in 7.A.3. and agreed to relieve UAL and to move forward with the lines being built to less than 69 hour average for the April bid month ONLY.


April Consequences with the  7.A.3. waiver: 

  1. IAH/AUS Lines were built to an average of  30 hours.  Flight attendants were capped at earning the  71 hour minimum and any flying picked up would not be paid out unless the FA was somehow able to exceed the 71 hour minimum- very hard to do with little open time available. 
  3. Many FA’s lost thousands of dollars of vacation pay.  If a FA did not request an advance vacation fly through, the vacation pay counted towards the 71 hour minimum and was lost.
  4. Many FA’s traded/dropped trips off of their lines without an understanding of what that would do to their 71 hour minimum pay….again costing many thousands of dollars.
  5. Potential loss to vacation and sick bank accruals as we must have 120 hours of paid time each quarter for full accruals.  Many FA’s dropped paid time unintentionally due to the gap in the line value/guarantee of 30.00 hours vs the minimum pay of 71 hours.
  6. Many FA's wont be receiving a Paycheck on May 1st, because many won't have at least 50 hours of flying on their lines by April 20th.


Last week, the issue of 7.A.3 for MAY flying was once again brought up to the United MEC by UAL Management as they began work to prepare the MAY Lines.  Remember, on March 15, the MEC had already voted that no matter what happens with this virus, NO CONCESSIONS.  


Unfortunately, rumors and misinformation on Social Media led to more confusion amongst some groups of flight attendants. This should never have happened.  The April 7.A.3. waiver was not intended to be ongoing.

Council 42 received 21 email requests to “Keep the lines like April”.  These were mostly form letters and each one received a personal reply from me.


21 TOTAL Flight attendants contacted Council 42 out of our 2,970 Council 42 Flight Attendants- that is .7%. On the other hand,  just as many flight attendants emailed/called/messaged Council 42, saying "thank you for honoring my contract!".  


The United MEC voted on Friday to ensure that 7.A.3 would be followed for MAY and all months going forward in order to protect our FA’s MONEY and EARNING POTENTIAL....while preserving the integrity of our contract for upcoming negotiations.


May Consequences with the 7.A.3 enforced:

  1. IAH/AUS Lines will be built to an average of 69 hours with a 71 hour minimum.  Line holders will have the ability to increase/decrease hours as desired. (People won’t be “working for free” when picking up trips-like April).  
  2. Incentive pay won’t be affected, and FA’s who wish to increase hours can do so.
  3. Reserves will have a 78 hour  minimum for a 12 day off line.  Reserves can pick up on days off for more money in ADD pay.
  4. Vacation pay will not be impacted as the line values will reflect enough hours in order for FA’s to receive their Vacation Pay on top of the 71 hours or 78 hours as reserves.
  5. Paychecks on the 1st (flight advance) won't be impacted by the low line values.

May projected Flying Continues to change, and we don’t yet know exactly what that will look like for IAH and AUS.  We expect more reductions to our block hours.  Yes, there will be a higher percentage of reserves…but please think about this for a moment before panicking.  


Simple Math EXAMPLE*********numbers are approximations!:


Pre-Covid Crisis- 500-600 reserves in IAH/AUS were flying an average of 40-50 hours per month and getting 78 hours of pay.  


MAY PROJECTION-***NUMBERS ARE APPROXIMATIONS***- If there are 62% of our FA’s on Reserve - that would mean roughly 1500 Reserves in IAH/AUS.  Our flying hours have been slashed 90% systemwide.  So, in a normal month pre-covid, reserves were flying 40-50 hours.  90% less flying in May would mean 5 hours per month per Reserve FA!

ALSO: Remember this is 5 hours of flying each for our normal reserve population of 500-600 people.... now being split amongst 1,500 RESERVES. 




Lastly, people have asked why certain sections are allowed to be violated, while others aren’t.  

 Easiest Explanation:

*A WAIVER OF 7.A.3 has a MAJOR PAY RESULT TO ALL FA’s.  Re-read the April Consequences of the violation of 7.A.3.  Some of our FA’s lost THOUSANDS of dollars. For those FA's that are asking AFA to AGREE to this waiver of our contract, how would you justify AFA voting to take thousands of dollars from the pockets of your fellow crew members?  There is no easy answer...but the contract works to protect the GROUP AS A WHOLE. 


The waivers for open time 7.G. and the bidding timeline being pushed back 4 days DO NOT HAVE A PAY COMPONENT and therefore can be waived as an emergency exception due to this virus.  Still, it is not preferable to waive any section, however, there is NO PAY COMPONENT TO THESE SECTIONS OF THE JCBA...and some aspects are unavoidable due to this Virus and Government Regulations.


Any LOA or change to the agreement which affects Flight Attendant Pay, like Section  7.A.3.,  MUST have membership ratification. The MEC should never agree to waiving Sections of the Contract with the result of lost pay or capped pay to our members.  A membership vote to change the contract would cost us at least $100,000 and would take at least 60 days minimum to accomplish.


Last night, the Company email frightened/concerned many of us.. it told us that we would have a large reserve population systemwide...but are you able to read between the lines? Do you know that email is the Company's way to get more FA's to take a SCOLA?  Do you know that the CARES ACT relief bill provides the Company with grants covering 100% of payroll costs through September 30th? 


This is an unprecedented time.  We need your support....WE are the Union.  UAL Management is still.... UAL Management...this Virus didn't change that dynamic.  We will get through this together. 


Thank you for trusting us to make the hard decisions for which you elected us to make.  Remember that AFA International is leading the charge for the Government pull down ALL Leisure flying until this Crisis is over, for the protection of all Flight Attendants.




In Solidarity,


Elizabeth, Beth, Candace, and all of your Council 42 Team




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