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REVISED: Furlough Mitigation and Crossover Letter of Agreement Q&A

Date: February 21, 2014

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February 21, 2014

This document reflects the Letter of Agreement reached between AFA and United Airlines and announced on February 6, 2014

This program is available only to those flight attendants who are subject to involuntary furlough on April 1, 2014.

Q:  What is the agreement that was reached with AFA?
A: The full text of the agreement can be found on our website.  In general terms, United and the AFA have agreed to a number of terms related to the involuntary furlough:

  • We have agreed that the Voluntary Furloughs and Partnerships for 2014 that have been awarded will remain in effect.
  • We have agreed that Flight Attendants at s-UA who are subject to involuntary furlough as of April 1, 2014, and who submitted valid bids to participate in the 2014 Voluntary Furlough Program or 2014 Partnership Program will be offered the opportunity to participate in such programs. 
  •  We have agreed that Flight Attendants at s-UA who are subject to involuntary furlough as of April 1, 2014, may elect, on a one-time, irrevocable basis, to cross-over to s-CO with full credit for pay and vacation seniority accrued at s-UA, and continue to retain and accrue their s-UA seniority for all purposes.
  •  We have further agreed that any flight attendant at s-UA who is involuntarily furloughed as of April 1, 2014, (those who have not accepted the offer to participate in the Voluntary Furlough or Partnership Programs as previously bid, or who have not elected to cross-over to s-CO), will retain and accrue seniority for all purposes, and are entitled to recall at s-UA as provided by the s-UA AFA Flight Attendant Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Q:  Will there actually be an involuntary furlough, or are we avoiding that through the bridge/crossover program?
A:  Yes, we are moving forward with the involuntary furlough, however all flight attendants subject to involuntary furlough have options to avoid involuntary furlough.  The bridge/crossover program is the best way to mitigate the impact on those flight attendants who would otherwise be out of work due to the involuntary furlough.  The bridge/crossover program will give s-UA flight attendants who are subject to involuntary furlough the opportunity to continue active employment by working at s-CO, with no break in service and full credit for prior accrued pay and vacation accrual seniority at s-CO.

Q:  How long will the involuntary furlough last?
A:  Flight attendants who are placed on involuntary furlough status will remain on involuntary furlough until recalled to work or until six years from the effective date of furlough.  We are unable to predict at this time if or when a recall might occur.

Q:  How long are recall rights retained as an involuntarily furloughed s-UA flight attendant?
A:  Under Section 21.G.of the s-UA agreement, recall rights are retained for a period of six years from the effective date of furlough, in this case, April 1, 2014.

Bridge/Crossover Eligibility

Q:  Who may participate in this bridge/crossover program?
A:  Any s-UA flight attendant who is subject to involuntary furlough, is in good standing at s-UA, is ready, willing and able to perform flight attendant duties at s-CO as of April 1, 2014, and has the legal right to work from a base located in the United States is eligible to participate in the bridge/crossover program and be hired into the s-CO flight attendant work group.

Q:  If I am subject to involuntary furlough and I had a valid bid on file for the voluntary furlough or the partnership program, what happens?
A: You will be awarded the voluntary furlough or partnership based on the bid you had on file by the bid deadline (if you had a bid on file for both, you will be awarded the voluntary furlough).

Q: What if I no longer want the voluntary furlough or partnership I am awarded?
A: If you  are subject to involuntary furlough  and no longer wish to participate in either the voluntary furlough or partnership program you will need to send an email to
BRIDGE@united.com from your corporate email account by February 24, 2014  indicating that you no longer wish to participate (once you have withdrawn from either program you may not change your mind).

Q: If I withdraw from the voluntary furlough or partnership program, can I choose to participate in the bridge/crossover.
A:Yes. If you withdraw from the voluntary furlough or partnership, as described above, you must then express interest in the bridge/crossover program through Unimatic using BRIDGE/(fn), as described below, by the bid deadline at 0800 CST on February 24, 2014. If fail to express interest in the bridge/crossover by the deadline on February 24th, you will be involuntarily furloughed on April 1.

Q: What happens if I withdraw from the voluntary furlough or partnership program, but fail to bid for the bridge/crossover program before the bid deadline at 0800 CST on February 24, 2014?
A:  You will be involuntarily furloughed effective April 1, 2014.

Q:  What does it mean to be in good standing?
A:   A flight attendant whose work record indicates their current employment at s-UA is not in jeopardy due to discipline for attendance or performance will be considered to be in good standing. Your current work record will be transitioned to s-CO, consistent with their policies and agreement.

Q:  How many flight attendants will United be able to accommodate in the s-CO operation?
A:  United is offering employment to all 685 s-UA flight attendants who are subject to involuntary furlough.  In order to qualify for this guarantee of employment, s-UA flight attendants must be ready, willing and able to begin their active employment with s-CO on April 1, 2014.  s-UA flight attendants who are subject to involuntary furlough, but who are not willing to start at s-CO on April 1, 2014 will not be eligible for the bridge/crossover program.

Q:  Will I be required to go through initial flight attendant training?
A:  No. Training will vary depending on when you last attended CQ.  At a minimum you will need to get qualified on any aircraft for which you are not currently qualified and attend orientation at your new base.  Training will begin after April 1 and classes will be assigned in seniority order. Further training details will be available as soon as they are finalized following the bridge/crossover bid deadline.

Q: What happens if I have been awarded the bridge/crossover but fail to report to training?
A:  Any flight attendant who has elected to bridge/crossover, been awarded a position at s-CO and who subsequently fails to report for training will be treated as a s-CO applicant who fails to report for initial training and will be separated from United.

Q:  Will flight attendants who participate in the bridge/crossover program be subject to s-CO or s-UA policies?
A:  Flight attendants hired into the s-CO work group through the bridge/crossover program will be considered s-CO employees and will be subject to all s-CO contractual rules and other applicable inflight and corporate policies.

Q:  How will you determine where flight attendants who participate will be based?
A:  The Company will provide flight attendants the opportunity to express their interest in specific locations, and preferences will be offered by seniority to meet the needs of the service within each s-CO flight attendant base.  We will make every effort to match position openings to the population expressing interest in the bridge/crossover program, in order to minimize relocations and disruption to affected flight attendants.  We anticipate the vast majority of positions available to furloughed s-UA flight attendants accepting employment at s-CO to be in SFO, LAX and DEN and some positions will be available in IAD, EWR and ORD.  We do not anticipate any positions being offered in CLE or IAH.

Q:  How can I express my interest in the bridge/crossover program?
A: Eligible flight attendants may participate in the flight attendant bridge/crossover program by accessing UNIMATIC. Enter BRIDGE/FN (where FN is your file/employee number). The page will look like this:

Tab and enter Y to participate in the program. Then tab and enter your base assignment in order of your preference with 1 being the most desirable location. You must select at least 1 base preference. NLS (Mandarin, Japanese, German and Italian) and LLS are language speaker bases and require specific qualification for the language requirement. 

Q: Where are LLS, NLS?
A: LLS and NLS are language bases at LAX (LLS) and EWR (NLS).  Positions may be available at LLS for qualified Mandarin and Japanese speakers, and at NLS for qualified Mandarin, Italian, German speakers.  Please request these locations only if you are a qualified speaker.

Q: Do my language qualifications transfer with me?
A: Corrections Updated 2/21.  Qualified language speaking flight attendants will be considered qualified at s-CO and may bid for open vacancies in the specific language qualified base.  If you have flown as a language speaker in the particular language with in the last 12 months, you will not be required to take the language test upon assignment or transfer to a language base.  If you have not flown in a language position for the particular language within the last 12 months, you will be required to take the s-CO language test and meet the language qualification requirement.     If you have not flown in a language position in the last 12 months you may schedule a language test after you start flying at s-CO.

Q: If I bid for the bridge program, do I need to reenter my bid to participate in the bridge/crossover program?
A: No. Bids placed on file for the bridge program prior to the agreement with AFA will remain on file for the bridge/crossover program.

Q: How will I know if I have been awarded the bridge/crossover?
A: Clarification 2/21. All flight attendants eligible to Bridge/Cross-Over will be permitted to participate in the program.  There is no bid/award for the Bridge/Cross-Over.  Following the deadline on February 24 at 0800 CST, we will post a list of assigned bases as soon as we are able.  It is expected to take several days to determine base assignments. 

Q:  New Question 2/21.  Who is the point of contact for additional questions for s-UA Flight Attendants considering this option?
A:  All questions should be directed to bridge@united.com.

Q:  New Question 2/21.  If I am on medical, maternity or military leave and am subject to Involuntary Furlough, can I submit a bid for Crossover? 
A:  s-UA Flight Attendants who are subject to Involuntary Furlough and who are on medical, maternity or military leave should place a bid on file for the Crossover and will be awarded the Crossover.  As of April 1, 2014, these individuals will be transitioned to s-CO where the leave of absence will change and be governed by the provisions of the s-CO Contract.  Time spent on Leave of Absence while at s-UA will reduce the maximum length of the leave under the terms of the s-CO agreement on a day for day basis.  For example, a Flight Attendant with seven years of seniority who has spent two years on Medical Leave while at s-UA, will be eligible for a maximum medical leave of six (6) years reduced by the two (2) years spent on leave at s-UA for a total of four (4) years of remaining Medical Leave of Absence.

Pay and Seniority

Q:  How will bridge/crossover program flight attendants be paid?
A:  Flight attendants hired under the bridge/crossover program will be paid in accordance with the terms of Section 4 of the s-CO collective agreement based on their accrued s-UA flight attendant pay seniority.

Q:  How will bid seniority be handled?
A:  Flight attendants participating in the bridge/crossover program will be placed on the s-CO payroll on April 1, 2014, begin accruing bid seniority on that date, and will maintain the same relative seniority order as they had at s-UA. 

Q:  How will the bridge/crossover program affect seniority under the s-UA collective agreement?
A:  All flight attendants who participate in the bridge/crossover program will remain on the s-UA seniority list and will retain and accrue seniority while employed at s-CO.

Q: What happens to my seniority if I am involuntarily furloughed?
A: Flight attendants who are involuntarily furloughed will retain and accrue seniority during the period of involuntary furlough, until recalled or the expiration of their recall rights, whichever happens first.

Q:  Will I be on probation as a s-CO flight attendant?
A:   No.

Vacation,  Benefits, Travel

Q:  What happens to accrued but unused s-UA vacation?
A:  Partial vacation days accrued while at s-UA will be paid out prior to crossing over. Remaining vacation accrued at s-UA can either be paid out prior to bridge/crossover (using current s-UA vacation and hourly rates) or transfer with you for use as a s-CO flight attendant, subject to the terms of the s-CO AFA Agreement.

Q:  What happens to my sick leave balance when I transfer to the s-CO operation?
A: The sick hours will transfer with you and will be available for use, subject to the terms of the s-CO AFA Agreement

Q:  How is vacation accrued as a s-CO flight attendant?
A:  Flight attendants participating in the bridge/crossover program will accrue vacation pursuant to the s-CO agreement based on full credit for vacation accrual seniority accrued at s-UA.

Q:  What will happen with health and welfare benefits?
A:  Health and welfare benefits will be subject to the terms of the s-CO agreement.

Q:  Which retirement income benefits will be provided to flight attendants who participate in the bridge/crossover program?
A:  Upon successfully completing flight attendant training at s-CO, flight attendants who participate in the bridge/crossover program  will be eligible to participate in the Continental 401(k) Savings Plan and Continental Retirement Plan (CARP) as a new hire, and will be credited with eligibility and vesting service based on their prior service at s-UA for both plans.  Benefit service for CARP will begin when training has been completed.  Eligibility for 401(k) employer matching contributions will include prior service at s-UA.  The Summary Plan Description for each Plan (SPD) are available on Flying Together>Inflight Services>SkyNet.  The Summary Plan Descriptions for both the Continental 401(k) Savings Plan and CARP Plan are both also available on the Your Benefits Resources (YBR) website. 

Q:  Will flight attendants who participate in the bridge/crossover program need to enroll in the CARP Plan?
A:  Enrollment in CARP is automatic.  Information about CARP can be accessed through the United Airlines Benefit Center by calling 1-800-651-1007, or through the Your Benefits Resources (YBR) website.

Q:  Will flight attendants who participate in the bridge/crossover program need to make a new employee contribution election under the Continental 401(k) Plan in order to make 401(k) contributions?
A:  Yes.  An enrollment packet with instructions will be sent to shortly after completion of training.  Flight attendants will need to make deferral elections, select investments, and designate beneficiaries under the Continental 401(k) Savings Plan.  Enrollment in the Continental 401(k) Plan at a 5% pre-tax contribution rate is automatic unless this deferral rate is changed by the flight attendant.

Q:  Will flight attendants who participate in the bridge/crossover program keep their United 401(k) Plan account?
A:  Yes.  During training and subsequent employment by s-CO as a flight attendant, flight attendants participating in bridge/crossover program will able to direct investments within their United 401(k) Plan accounts, but will not be eligible to make new contributions, change deferrals or request a new loan or final distribution to close their accounts.  However, they will be eligible to request in-service distributions if they meet the applicable eligibility requirements.  Subject to the terms of the United 401(k) Plan in which they participate, they may be eligible for Company contributions only for the period in which they received eligible earnings from s-UA.

Q: If I have an outstanding 401(k) Plan loan from my United 401(k) Plan account at the time I cross over to s-CO, what are my options?
A: Once your transfer is complete, you will be contacted by Fidelity via mail to explain your loan payment options. These options will involve a repayment schedule but will not include a payroll deduction program. 

To obtain a loan payoff balance at any time or to learn how to make manual loan payments, visit the United 401(k) Plan website at www.401k.com. You can also contact the Fidelity Service Center for United Airlines at 1-800-245-9034.

Q:  What happens to pass travel privileges?
A:  Flight attendants participating in the bridge/crossover program will continue to participate in United’s pass travel programs using their accrued Company seniority.  For purposes of jumpseat travel, they will be subject to the terms of the s-CO collective agreement.

Q:  New Question 2/21.  Will my Family Medical Leave (FML) authority carry over with me or will I need to reapply?
A:  Your Family Medical Leave (FML) authority, use and accumulated hors will carry over with you and will be applied under s-CO guidelines.

Q:  New Question 2/21.  If relocation is necessary, how long of a period of time will I be given to relocate?  Will settling time be available at the new base?
A:  At the completion of training, all Flight Attendants will receive at least four (4) days off before being expected to report at the new location for based orientation and, depending on the class and orientation schedule, this period may be longer than four (4) days. 

Q:  New Question 2/21.  Will the company provide relocation assistance?
A:   Relocation assistance is not part of this Bridge/Crossover agreement. 

Q:  New Question 2/21.  What type of Pass Travel assistance is available
A:  Refer to Section D.8. of the Letter of Agreement for information about pass travel.

Training

Q: New Question 2/21.  Where will Crossover training be held?
A:  Houston is expected to be the primary training location.  However, if the number of Flight Attendants electing to crossover is large or happens to contain a large number of Flight Attendants who have been inactive (requiring a longer requalification period), it may be necessary for some of this training to be conducted at EWR and/or CLE.

Q:  New Question 2/21.  Will there be multiple classes or just one training class start date?
A:   Multiple start dates are anticipated.

Q:  New Question 2/21.  How will we be scheduled for training?
A:  Flight Attendants will be scheduled to attend training in seniority order with the most senior of the participants scheduled for the earliest classes.

Bidding for Schedules and Vacation

Q:  New Question 2/21.  Will Flight Attendants who elect to crossover bid for April schedules at s-CO?
A:  No.  It is anticipated that training, orientation and settling time will result in Flight Attendants not being available for the full month. 

Q:  New Question 2/21.  When bidding vacations at s-CO, what seniority date will I use, SW or company seniority?
A:  2015 Vacation will be accrued based on your company seniority date (determining the number of vacation days to which you are entitled under the s-CO Contract.)  However, when bidding for open vacation periods, you will use your April 1, 2014 bidding seniority date.

Q:  New Question 2/21.  Do international hours completed at United carry over to s-CO?
A:  Yes, for participation in ISM programs.

Q:  New Question 2/21.  Is there a 'waiting period' to be able to job-share or participate in other leave entitlements under the s-CO contract?
A:  A Flight Attendant crossing over from s-UA is not eligible to participate in the s-CO Partnership Program which is an annual part-time flying program because they would not have the requisite two (2) years of s-CO seniority that is required for participation in this program.

However, Flight Attendants would be eligible to submit for and be awarded monthly job share requests with other s-CO Flight Attendants, including those s-UA Crossovers provided Flight Attendants share the same base.  There is no seniority requirement to submit job share requests.   Job share requests are awarded as staffing permits each bid month and their award is based on seniority of the most senior "team member's seniority."

Additional Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) will be added as more information becomes available.

This document is intended to serve only as a summary of your benefits and privileges related to 2014 Staffing and Bridge/Crossover Agreement. Each of the benefits/privileges described here is based on a plan document, Contract, or Company policy. If this document conflicts, presently or in the future, in any respect with the legal document, Contract, or Company policy on which it is based, the legal document, Contract, or Company policy will govern your benefits. Refer to the Summary Plan Description (available on Flying Together or by calling United Airlines Benefits Center: 1-800-651-1007) for more detailed information about the benefits described herein.

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