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AFA Provides Management the Solution to Involuntary Furlough

Date: January 17, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Coming up on four years ago, in May of 2010 United proudly announced their merger with Continental and Continental Micronesia.  This was promised to be a merger of equals, create a World-Class Global Airline and take our combined airline into a positive and profitable future. 

Many promises were made on May 3 to the shareholders, the traveling public, the Departments of Justice and Transportation, civic leaders and, most importantly, the valuable workers who are United Airlines. 

United's merger was supposed to provide, award-winning customer service and industry-leading on-time performance, and most notably, employees would benefit from enhanced long-term career opportunities and greater stability.  Management needs to remember the promise of their merger.   We call upon management to not further erode the confidence of the United Flight Attendant workforce by adding to an already difficult merger by now putting people out of work.  To date, not a single promise from the merger is being realized – not to Flight Attendants, to shareholders or to United's passengers.

Do the math.  It is crystal clear by our internal and outside professional analysis that a significant portion of management's stated number of 1,950 can be directly attributed to the productivity changes included in our 2012-2016 Contract which management negotiated for their flexibility and benefit.  We adamantly refused to agree to those changes, unless there was rock solid protection that no Flight Attendant would be out on the street. 

We continue to advocate and believe that the best solution to this issue is through collaborative and cooperative approach, which results in absolutely no involuntary furlough.  While the specific issue of manpower staffing as it relates to the United and Continental subsidiaries is the focus now, United has staffing issues at all three subsidiaries within specific domiciles.  As an example, management has far too few Flight Attendants in JFK/LGA/EWR at our subsidiary.  Conversely as management told the United Master Executive Council at the Summer 2013 Regular MEC meeting, at Continental they have been managing and continue to manage a significant Flight Attendant overage at Houston.

Throughout this process, we have advocated to management to create more flexible time off options than simply the 12-month Voluntary Furlough and 3-month Partnership. These include Voluntary Furlough periods of shorter and greater length than the current 12-month offering; as well a similar concept as it applies to Partnership.  In the spirit of stepping up and doing the right thing and notwithstanding the dispute regarding the Letter of Agreement – Protection Against Involuntary Furlough, we today have proposed a comprehensive list of alternatives to United's plan to put Flight Attendants out of work.  These include:

  • Award all bids on file for the Voluntary Furlough and Partnership Programs.
  • Agree that any Special Leaves, or combination of Special Leaves will accrue seniority.
  • Periods of 30 Day ANP back-to-back which customarily result in a Personal Leave, will accrue seniority.
  • Provide additional Voluntary Furlough offerings for periods greater and shorter than the current 12-month period.
  • Provide additional Partnership Program offerings for periods greater than the current 3--month period.
  • In addition to the current daily ANP and 30-day ANP, offer a 15-day ANP option.
  • Provide incentive programs in combination with discretionary time off, such as enhanced travel benefits.
  • A 6-month Voluntary Furlough option.
  • An Early Out option.
  • A crossover program, effective April 1, 2014.

We have presented these reasonable alternatives and solutions to management and stand ready to engage in meaningful and productive conversations that address managements concerns and would prevent any needless involuntary furlough.  While it is clear to us that management's headcount reduction is a direct result to productivity, let's put an end to this discourse and return our mutual efforts to focusing on the building of the world's leading airline to the benefit of employees, passengers and shareholders alike.  We call upon management to put an end to the plan to involuntarily furlough United Flight Attendants.

Make no mistake; we are vigorously and aggressively taking all measures to stop the involuntary furlough.

Sincerely,

Greg Davidowitch, President
United Master Executive Council

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