Home > News > Questions & Answers MEC Grievance 1-16: 787 Aircraft Assignment Settlement Agreement

Questions & Answers MEC Grievance 1-16: 787 Aircraft Assignment Settlement Agreement

Date: March 18, 2016

Updated: March 28, 2016

NEW Why is the Settlement Fund distributed among all Flight Attendants instead of only a select number of domiciles?
Had the 787 been assigned to pre-merger United Flight Attendants in July 2015, the aircraft would have been flown in domestic markets and those specific markets could not be determined after the fact.  We understand the assignment of flying potentially affects all Flight Attendants as the addition of hours to the schedule will drive different decision making in the assignment of flying at more than one location.  None of these decisions happen in a vacuum.  There is no way to know how aircraft hours would have been distributed on the system.  As a matter of equity, all of our Members who were working during this time were potentially impacted by the improper assignment of this flying.  Flight Attendants will share in the distribution of the Settlement Fund based on their wages during the period from August 1, 2015 – March 31, 2016 as a percentage of the total wages paid over that same period of time. 

Why did we elect to settle the Grievance instead of going through the arbitration process?
In point of fact, we did follow the dispute resolution process outlined in the Protocol and Related Agreements Letter when we identified we had a dispute with the company.  It was the result of this filing and the preparation for the arbitration before the Union’s System Board of Adjustment that caused this error to be isolated during discovery.  Once the company identified the error, this changed the nature of the dispute.  Instead of a dispute, it became a matter of learning how many aircraft might possibly have been misidentified.

Why only three (3) B787 and not four (4) as stated in Special AFA E-Lines on March 3, 2016?
Our specific concern was always intended to ensure that any aircraft resulting from a pre-merger United aircraft order was assigned to be flown by pre-merger United Flight Attendants. We had a number of questions and needed management to provide information they had available to help us understand how assignment of these aircraft had been determined. Once provided the specific aircraft information by the corporation, we were in a better position to understand the complex changes to orders and options with the intent of enforcing the agreements for all 24, 000 United Flight Attendants.  

Where are the other aircraft that were delivered to the pre-merger Continental operation over their total of 25 B787 aircraft order?
AS of July 2016, there will be 30 787 aircraft on the property.  It’s important to understand there is nothing magical about the number 25 because aircraft from each order can be delivered out of sequence.  What matters most is the order or option from which any given aircraft has its origin.  Any aircraft built as a result of a pre-merger CAL order or exercised option, should properly be assigned to CAL Flight Attendants.  Similarly, those aircraft originating from the pre-merger United aircraft orders or exercised options should properly be assigned to pre-merger United Flight Attendants.  As a result of the enforcement of our Contract, we’ve determined that there are three aircraft having their origin in pre-merger United aircraft orders.  One of these is already flying while the other two will be delivered during the month of August 2016. 

When will the B787 currently being flown by pre-merger Continental be flown by pre-merger United Flight Attendants?
The B787 (aircraft serial number 40918) currently being flown by pre-merger Continental Flight Attendants since August 2015 will be assigned to and flown by pre-merger United Flight Attendants as of the schedule transition on or about June 9, 2016.   

Why June 9, 2016 and not tomorrow?
While the Company might have wanted to keep the aircraft flying on the pre-merger Continental side until August 2016 because including this aircraft with all of the other 787 aircraft in our combined fleet offers the company better overall aircraft utilization, the language in the Protocol & Related Agreements Letter requires this aircraft be flown by pre-merger United Flight Attendants.   At the same time, the Union wants that aircraft assigned to the proper pre-merger Flight Attendant group as soon as possible. The company is returning the aircraft to pre-merger United Flight Attendants as soon as the automation to develop the aircraft sub-fleet can be implemented.  This will isolate the pre-merger United 787 from the remainder of the fleet to be included in pre-merger United Flight Attendants IDs in the same way as was done when the 737 was introduced back into the pre-merger United fleet.

In addition, we put the airline first and demonstrated our reasonableness as a Union.  Instead of taking this out on passengers through what would be resulting cancellations and flight schedule interruptions, we’ve agreed to transition the aircraft back into our schedule with minimal impact on the operation. 

When will the two other B787 be expected to enter into service and to which pre-merger operation?
The two other B787 (aircraft serial number 60143 and 60144) aircraft are expected to enter service in August 2016 as part of the pre-merger United operation. 

Where will these B787 be flying to?
Initially, the one B787 that will be assigned in June is expected to be assigned to the domestic operation. Once the other 787 aircraft are assigned to the United operation, aircraft scheduling will look at the best way to schedule these three aircraft, in tandem, in order to maximize utilization of the aircraft in the international arena as intended when the aircraft were purchased.

How will AFA and United future B787 aircraft deliveries tracked to ensure this does not happen in the future?
AFA and the Company have agreed to meet monthly to review issues related to the designation of aircraft orders and which pre-merger airline they are assigned too.  Representatives from each of the three pre-merger groups will be invited to these meetings.

What kind of damages will United face as a result of this mistake?
AFA and the Company have agreed that United will pay Flight Attendants on the pre-merger United Flight Attendant System Seniority list as of March 31, 2016 and who worked during the period of time between August 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016 the amount of three million dollars ($3,000,000).  The three million dollars represents all lost wages, back pay, benefits and other damages due to this mistake and will be considered as qualifying wages for the purposes of 401(k) deferrals and Profit Sharing. 

The company will also reimburse AFA for attorney and consultant fees for work done in conjunction with MEC Grievance 1-16 which will allow those funds to be returned to the Union and used in the advancement of Flight Attendant issues. 

When will United pay pre-merger United Flight Attendants their portion of the settlement.
Pre-merger United Flight Attendants will receive their portion of the settlement fund on the May 16, 2016 pay check.  All payments will be dispersed as qualifying wages for purposes of 401(k) and profit sharing, on a pro rata basis.  The settlement will be divided among the eligible Flight Attendants in proportion to the amount of their individual earnings over the period commencing August 1, 2015 through March 31, 2016 as a percentage of the total earnings paid to this group over that same period of time.

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