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United Flight Attendants Subject to Involuntary Furlough

Date: January 15, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Today AFA Representatives met with the company to review the final bids and award for Voluntary Furlough & Partnership. Despite our position that our Contract prohibits the involuntary furlough of any of our Members as a result of productivity improvements from our 2012-2016 Contract, United management has stated that there will be an involuntary furlough.

Voluntary Furlough was awarded to 1,113 Flight Attendants who submitted bids with the most junior Voluntary Furlough awarded at System Seniority number 12,496; on the System Seniority List dated January 8, 2014, with an inflight classification seniority of May 1, 2006. 

Because the number of those submitting Voluntary Furlough bids were not senior enough to hold the Voluntary Furlough, the company pursued Partnership as a means of reducing the number of Flight Attendants potentially placed on involuntary furlough status.  Following a review of the Partnership bids submitted, the company awarded 140 Partnerships.  The most junior Partnership was awarded at System Seniority Number 12,640 with an Inflight Classification Seniority date of October 30, 2006.

Based on the seniority of the senior bidders, not all Voluntary Furloughs or Partnerships were awarded.  We encouraged the company to award all Voluntary Furlough and Partnership bids on file, but they declined to do so.  As a result, there is a deficit in the numbers needed to attain the reduction in force desired by the company.

As a consequence, United has announced an involuntary furlough affecting many of our most junior Members.  These are junior to and including System Seniority Number 12,662 on the January 8, 2014 System Seniority List, with an Inflight Classification date of November 27, 2006, splitting a class.

We met with management this afternoon and again offered a number of solutions intended to avoid an involuntary furlough, while also addressing the company's needs to manage an overage in manpower.  We will continue to work collaboratively towards a solution.

It's important to remember that with the announcement today, we are at the beginning, not the end.  The effective date of the involuntary furlough is April 1, 2014, which allows time to continue working with management to find alternatives and solutions.  In the meantime, we will use outside legal counsel to represent our Flight Attendant interests and will pursue all legal avenues, including the Grievance and Arbitration process.

There is still time to award all Voluntary Furlough and Partnership bids on file, and manage any overage through discretionary time off programs.  We appreciate our flying partners who participated in these programs, to help save the jobs of our most junior Members.  In this same spirit, we call on management to do the right thing.

In Solidarity,

Greg Davidowitch,
Linda F. Farrow,
Vice President
Jeffrey W. Heisey,

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