|Inside this issue:||April Day of Action |
JNC Update April 4 -7, 2016
Payroll Deduction for Aflac Voluntary Supplemental Insurance
Assignment of Open Premium Positions and New Hires
April Day Of Action
As we continue to progress with negotiations (see the April 8th JNC update) we will participate with this month’s Day of Action on April 21st, by meeting for a Council 25 informational meeting and discussion. This forum will be an opportunity for participants to gather information regarding the progress being made towards a Joint Contract.
Please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org, By April 20, 2016 at 10PM Local Domicile Time.
JNC Update: April 4-7, 2016
The JNC completed another mediation session in Chicago.
Over the last three days the JNC and a large contingent of Company personnel discussed and bargained over Flight Attendant positions requiring special qualifications, scheduling language addressing a single base operation, seniority issues regarding Flight Attendants in management or non-flying positions, and the insurance and retirement provisions of a joint Contract.
Flight Attendants who have special qualifications are those who are language qualified and those who will fill the Flight Service Leader (FSL) position. Flight Service Leader will be the new title for those Flight Attendants who are currently ISMs or Pursers to certain mostly international destinations. United wants to greatly increase the number of LQ positions on our flights, and the JNC is opposed to this proposal. Throughout these negotiations, United has said they want to develop a brand new leadership position on our flights, but so far – they have not described anything that looks or feels any different than what ISMs and Pursers do today, other than a new name.
We have traded numerous drafts of Contract language addressing Flight Attendant scheduling, and made some modifications to already agreed to language that addresses having a single base operation. For the most part all of the smaller details of the scheduling sections have been completed and we are left with the larger core issues, like United’s desire to alter the reassignment rules and duty day maximums, to name just two.
At the beginning of the week, we devoted a lot of time to reviewing United’s proposal on Flight Attendant benefits. Clearly insurance and retirement benefits are very important to all Flight Attendants. Over the course of these negotiations, the JNC has spent a lot of time trying to blend provisions of our Contracts into a joint one. Our work on benefits is quite different in that United would like all Flight Attendants to be covered by a benefit package that was originally developed by the Company and the pilots. United has determined that this pilot centric benefit package will be the benefit package for all United employees and they would like to simply impose it on us. While the provisions of this benefit package may suit the United pilots well, it was not developed with the diverse and varied needs of our membership in mind. When it comes to important benefits like medical and dental insurance, 401(k) plans, pension plans, disability and life insurance; the JNC does not share the Company’s view that “one size fits all.”
We have now been in mediation for six months, and after completing our work this week, all sections of a future joint Contract have now been passed between the parties. We have done some good work towards resolving as many small issues as possible, and what is left are provisions dealing with core Contract issues that are important to both Flight Attendants and United, and of course the Economic issues – like what compensation will be.
The JNC anticipates bargaining will move from talking about small isolated issues to discussions about the Contract as a complete package, and we are preparing a complete comprehensive Contract proposal to present to United the week of April 18.
Payroll Deduction Begins April 16, 2016, for Aflac Voluntary Supplemental Insurance
As a reminder, payroll deductions will begin for pre-merger United Flight Attendants who are enrolled in AFA sponsored Voluntary Supplemental Insurance policies offered by Aflac/CAIC on April 16th. These are policies that have been offered and enrolled in since 2011.
For all active employees, there were no deductions taken during the month of March. Effective April 16, 2016, policy premiums will be deducted from your mid-month paycheck. As a direct result of these changes, policy premiums will now be paid one month in arrears.
In addition to the convenience of payroll deduction, we will no longer require the administration services of BRMS for our ACH or credit card payments. Another benefit to payroll deduction will be reduced premiums of $1.52 per policy, as there will no longer be fees to process ACH or credit card payments.
Flight Attendants who have retired and are continuing their policies into retirement, you will receive a letter from Aflac within 60 days of April 16, 2016 to set up direct payment. We will be posting additional information regarding procedures for leaves of absence (LOA) and portability of policies soon on unitedafa.org under Pay and Benefits, and then Insurance
Assignment of Open Premium Positions and New Hires
Section 9.F.7. of our Contract provides the guidelines for filling an open premium position at briefing regardless of the location where briefing is conducted. A purser qualification (qualified purser) is necessary for all wide-body aircraft flown domestically or internationally and all purser positions on narrow body aircraft flying international flights and should be filled by a qualified purser, if available. If no qualified purser is available on these flights, the open premium position(s) on these aircraft will be filled by a Flight Attendant who is not purser qualified. As a reminder, Flight Attendants assigned to language qualified positions shall work non-premium positions and may not fill an open paid galley position. (Section 12.C.7.h.)
In Addition, Section 9.F.7.b. restricts the assignment of any open premium position to a Flight Attendant with less than one (1) year of seniority and does not allow our most junior Members to assume a premium position unless no other more senior Flight Attendant is on the flight. Premium positions include all purser positions – wide body, narrow body, domestic and international as well as paid galley positions. There is an exception to this rule when there is no Flight Attendant assigned to the flight with more than one year of seniority. In this case, our Contract provides that the most senior Flight Attendant among those on the flight will fill the open premium position.
In general, open premium positions are filled in the following manner:
- First, by the most senior (Purser qualified) Flight Attendant who elects to fill the position;
- If none, then by the most junior (Purser qualified) Reserve
- In none, then by the Flight Attendant who picked up the position through the Open Flying process
- If none, by the most junior (Purser qualified) Flight Attendant on board
- If none, then by the most junior Reserve (with a minimum of one year of service)*
*NOTE: In a circumstance where there are two Lineholders and a Reserve who is senior to both Lineholders, the senior Reserve will be involuntarily assigned to the open position.
Once the position is filled at briefing, it remains filled until the end of the ID or until the person filling the position leaves the crew. This is the case even in a circumstance where the person filling the open premium position has not yet completed one year of service. This means that a Flight Attendant who might be more senior (or purser qualified) joins a crew mid-sequence, may not take the position from a non-qualified or more junior Flight Attendant who has assumed the purser duties at briefing.