Council 25 Newsletter Logo

October 13, 2015

Inside this issue:JNC Update
United: Change for Good
2016 Annual Benefit Open Enrollment


JNC Update

October 12, 2015

The JNC has spent the last two months together in Chicago preparing for our upcoming mediation session next week on October 20th in Washington, DC.  Our work has been focused on reviewing all the tentative agreements and open issues from the Facilitated Problem Solving process that ended in July.  Through our review and our work over the last two months we have developed a strong, clear and unified proposal that we all stand behind and represents the interests of the 24,000 Flight Attendants at United Airlines.

The JNC has been focused on two general areas. The first is Scheduling, which includes Hours of Service, RIGs, International and other related sections of the Contract.  We are writing full text proposals that address Bidding, Reserve, Trading, Legal Rest, Reassignments and other aspects of our Schedules.  These provisions directly affect our work lives. These protections represent the heart of our Contracts and are immensely important. We are putting the finishing touches on a comprehensive Scheduling proposal for our first mediation session. We believe our proposal is built around Flight Attendant interests, and it stands in stark contrast to United’s Labor Relations negotiators position that, at a time of record profits, we should cut $25 million out of the Scheduling sections, gutting contract provisions we have fought for years to build and retain. 

The other area we have been working on is, simply put, the rest of the Contract. We have gone through every other section that remains open and put together unified positions on them as we push towards a final agreement. All the other sections of our Contracts, besides Scheduling, are important and nothing should be overlooked or lost. Examples of a few of these sections are Transportation & Hotels, Personnel Files, Commuter, Benefits and Retirement

We are hopeful the appointment of Oscar Munoz as CEO will bring a new approach to the relationship between United Airlines and Flight Attendants. We are looking to Oscar to implement an approach that brings our airline together and stops the Labor Relations positions and Inflight policies that further divide Flight Attendants and seek to dismantle our Contracts. The joint Master Executive Councils passed a resolution two weeks ago calling for, among other things, prompt and immediate progress at the bargaining table. All of us on the JNC want to see that.

We are going into our first mediation session next week with optimism, yet we should all be cautious. Even though we have a new CEO, trust must be earned, and the fact of the matter is the Labor Relations and Inflight Services management teams remain unchanged at this point. The JNC will be watching closely to see if United has changed its approach to this long drawn out negotiations. We are hopeful and would welcome positive change at our airline and at the bargaining table; we know you would as well.

United: Change, for Good

October 13, 2015

Dear Flight Attendants:

The U.S. airline industry has consolidated down to just three carriers. Profits may be at record highs, but we are all painfully aware United Airlines is lagging behind Delta and American. The future of United Airlines is dependent upon completion of the merger and focus on the long-term success of the airline. Frustration for Flight Attendants and other workers on the frontlines is turning to hope. Oscar Munoz has replaced Jeff Smisek and we have hope that he has begun the work of inspiring confidence in employees and passengers.

Change is coming. And change is hard. But I’m hearing an overwhelming sentiment from Flight Attendants who are eager for change. We are ready for the consistency of a schedule that comes with a fully merged operation. We are ready for the stability of counting on where we are based at a stable, profitable airline. We are ready to share in the profits we help create. We must all do our part to make this happen, to change for good.

The name of the airline may be United, but our history is so much more. We are Continental. We are Continental Micronesia. We are Pan Am, National, Capital, Varney, People Express, Texas International, Frontier, New York Air, Eastern and so many more. We are Flight Attendants. In our work, we interact with all of humanity. We have different perspectives because we open our hearts and our minds to different people. We care for others the same as we care for ourselves. We are the ones who breathe life into one of the most successful marketing slogans of all time, “Fly the Friendly Skies.” Each of you has kept this alive through the personal pride you take in your work. But United Airlines has for too long squandered the real potential of a fully engaged, unified and valued frontline going to work each day with shared purpose.

On September 30th, the Joint MEC, made up of each of the directly elected Local Council Presidents, unanimously adopted a resolution of unity and called for concrete measures of change. The resolution “calls upon the new CEO Oscar Munoz to conduct a thorough review of United management to resolve deep-seated problems in order to promote the spirit of shared purpose.”

It further says that “whether change is truly coming to United will be measured by direct evidence and concrete measures such as:

  • immediate and substantial progress at the bargaining table,
  • changes in upper level management personnel as warranted,
  • a repudiation of bad faith bargaining tactics,
  • making good on commitments to provide 2015 profit sharing for CAL and CMI Flight Attendants; and
  • a moratorium on using surpluses, base closures, furloughs and other disruptions to Flight Attendants’ lives during contract negotiations.”

This is where our power to create positive change resides. It is through our unity that we will build the world-class airline United can be. And it is only through our unity and speaking with one voice that we will conclude negotiations for an industry-leading contract. Last night our Joint Negotiating Committee sent an update and made clear “we have developed a strong, clear and unified proposal that we all stand behind and represents the interests of the 24,000 Flight Attendants at United Airlines.” Support our JNC, with the full backing of 24,000 Flight Attendants, to negotiate the contract we want to ratify. From reserve to retirement, we must stand as one.

Our unity is the key to equalizing pay for equal work and lifting standards for our careers. At no other time have we been better positioned to fight for an industry-leading contract, and as we set a new standard American Flight Attendants will benefit too because we made sure their pay would increase once the United contract is worth more. One negotiation. 50,000 Flight Attendants stand to benefit.

This is our opportunity for a fresh perspective, for a fresh start. As we meet with our new CEO this week and your Joint Negotiating Committee begins mediation on October 20th put on your AFA pin and stand as one. Let there be no doubt - Our Joint Negotiating Committee is going to the table with one position. Representatives of three former airlines are standing as one. Do not allow the Smisek era of labor relations to define who we are with United’s new CEO Oscar Munoz. Make an extra effort to reach out, say hello, smile and welcome each other on the plane, in the crew lounge, on the hotel van and in the terminal. Be who we are. Be the friendly skies and let that start at home.

We are unique; and yet, We are One. We are stronger together. We are better together.

Thank you. And fly safe.

In Solidarity,

Sara Nelson
AFA-CWA International President

Join your Joint Negotiating Committee for a
Negotiations Update following our first mediation session.
October 29th at 6 pm Eastern Time

Click here to see Sara Nelson's  Video >

2016 Annual Benefit Open Enrollment

United's Annual Benefit Open Enrollment for 2016 will again consist of two distinct open enrollment periods, one for active employees and a separate open enrollment period for retirees.  Active employees will be able to select their 2016 benefits beginning November 2, 2015 through November 20, 2015.  United has created a website highlighting the 2016 health benefits changes, for all Flight Attendants and Retirees at The information is anticipated to be available approximately two (2) weeks prior to the start of the enrollment period.   

Retirees will be able to elect their benefit choices during their designated open enrollment period from November 9, 2015 through November 20, 2015. 

Please note that this year’s open enrollment periods are different from (& begin later) than those of previous years.  Stay tuned for additional details as we approach the start of Benefits Annual Open Enrollment. 




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