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AFA Special E-Lines - September 18, 2018

Date: September 18, 2018

September 18, 2018

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Ladies and Gentlemen:

The first step in the integration of all United Flight Attendants, is the bidding process which will finally, after 8 years, bring us together as of October 1, flying on the same aircraft.  Some of us were excited for the merge, some were unsure and others preferred to keep things status quo, however collectively we stepped forward on to the process of bidding for our new future together.  

With any change, and especially a change of this magnitude, there are going to be issues and problems that come up unexpectedly. We knew there would be bumps and challenges in the process, but we also have an expectation of the company to provide us with systems that meet the needs of Flight Attendants, have been thoroughly tested and work properly.  United management made a commitment to our Union Officers and our Flight Attendants that they were ready to go, with programming in place to bring us together.

United’s new bidding program presented challenges and frustration for most of us.  Not only was it new, but it is cumbersome, difficult to use and slow.  There is no sugar coating that it needs improvement, we should not be required to spend countless unpaid hours bidding for our schedule each month. Our Union has been involved and advocating all along that the program would not, and does not, adequately meet the needs of Flight Attendants. 

If we consider the bidding process a “bump,” then we must consider the award process a “crater.” United IT has let down Flight Attendant’s today and failed to deliver on our Contractual timeline for the Line Award process.  Your AFA elected Officers and Committee Members understand that you are angry, frustrated and disappointed.  We are too. United has let us down today – this is their responsibility and their fault – and they need to fix the problem.

This problem should have been foreseeable and prevented months ago during the programming and testing process.  To so utterly fail on the very first step of our integration undermines our confidence in management to deliver on the rest of the programming needed to bring us together on October 1.  These problems are not just an inconvenience, they are our careers and livelihood.  The company depends on us to show up, on time and take care of our passengers safely. We depend on the company to provide us with all the tools that we need to do our job: our schedule, pay and ability to trade and adjust our work life.  We have families, children and responsibilities, people who depend on us and important things in our life that we need to plan and schedule for.  We cannot begin to do that without even the most basic and simple ability to know our October schedule and make adjustments through the trading process. 

While we are frustrated that United has let us down, and rightfully so, we cannot simply stop in anger.  The responsibility of the Union Officers is to see through the disappointment that this has happened and to strongly advocate that it be fixed and be as much a part of any solution as possible.  Blaming those responsible has its time and place, but for now, today, the goal is to get Lines awarded, trading moving forward and your schedules back on track for a successful October integration.

Again, this is the first step on a long and new process, and it is not going to go smoothly.  There will be bumps and craters and we will all be frustrated and disappointed, but we must move forward and focus our energy not against each other but towards finding solutions and integration.  For better or worse, we are now on this path, it’s the only one we’ve got and everyone’s best choice is to make it as successful as we can. 

In Solidarity,

United Master Executive Council Officers,

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