E-Lines: October 27, 2020
October 27, 2020
There are several important deadlines to keep in mind this week:
- Annual Open Enrollment for Active Benefits Closes October 30
- Annual Open Enrollment for Inactive Employee Benefits – November 2 - 13
- Third Trimester CBT Due – October 30
- Vacation Bidding – Phase 1 Closes October 31
Annual Benefits Enrollment Open Now – October 30th
MEC Benefits Committee
Benefits enrollment for 2021 is now open. Flight Attendants can make their benefit elections now through October 30th, online, by visiting Flying Together.
Nothing could be more critical to understanding your benefits than taking the time to understand not only the costs, but all of the aspects of the plan. As we mentioned last week, there is a new “United PPO” which differs from the “Traditional PPO” in both deductible, out of pocket limits as well as other costs. To avoid confusion, be sure to compare any plans and thoroughly review coverage and cost to be sure they meet your needs.
Part of the enrollment process this year, also has you select or decline coverage for other new programs such as:
- Critical Illness Insurance
- Hospital Indemnity Insurance
- Accident Insurance
While these are not the only choices you may have depending on your individual circumstances, you should be aware the enrollment processes this year have a number of additional options for you to consider. We recommend you allow extra time to review these choices to find the best fit for your needs.
Open Enrollment for active employees is open now through October 30. Open enrollment for non-active employees, including those on Voluntary Furlough, will open November 2 through November 13.
Vacation Buy Back Explained
We have received questions from many of you asking for an explanation as to why Vacation Buy Back shall not be utilized during a Flight Attendant furlough as set forth in Section 12.D.7. of the Contract. The short and simple answer is this; not using vacation buy back preserves jobs.
The greater the amount of Vacation “sold back” through Vacation Buy Back, the fewer vacation days will be included in the monthly schedule, and, as a consequence, the number of Flight Attendants needed to fly those schedules is reduced.
On October 13, prior to the Vacation Election process closing on October 15th, we communicated about this. At that time, the Payroll Support Program was still unresolved; had we received an extension, Flight Attendants would have been recalled from furloughs and the Vacation Buy Back would have moved forward. Between the close of the Election process on October 15th and the opening of the first Vacation bid period on October 23rd, the company needed to make a decision about how many days to allocate and make available for bidding at each base. When it became clear that the CARES Act extension would not be in place when first round vacation bidding opened, backing out the Vacation Buy Back days became necessary.
Keep in mind, in addition to Vacation Buy Back, the options of Advanced or Operational Vacation Fly Through will be available and these provide options on a month-to-month basis to determine if having the time off, or having additional income available is your priority.
2021 Flight Attendant Vacation Timeline
Open Vacation Election Period By September 25
Close Election Period On October 15 0800 HDT
Begin First Vacation Bid Period
By October 23
Close First Vacation Bid Period
On October 31
Post First Vacation Awards
By November 4
Begin Second Vacation Bid Period
By November 8
Close Second Vacation Bid Period
On November 16
Post Second Vacation Awards
By November 20
Vacation Allocations Published
By November 24
Trades Awarded by Seniority
On November 30
Final Vacation Allocations Published
By December 4
Instant Trading Open
On December 5
For additional information regarding 2021 Vacation bidding reference the 2021 vacation page on Unitedafa.org.
Third Party Apps - Important changes coming in early 2021
Over the course of time since implementation of our JCBA, United management has dedicated resources in the development of MobileCCS, UBid, and uChat all with the intent of meeting the needs of flight attendants on the go while lessening the need for Flight Attendants to incur the cost of and reliance upon other supplemental tools. United management this past week has announced, given the progress with the company applications, plans to inform the providers of all Inflight-related third-party applications of United’s intent to remove access to United’s information technology systems beginning in early 2021. At that time, the use of these third-party applications will no longer be permitted.
In an effort to protect data security and employee privacy, United’s Digital Technology team has acted to take the necessary steps to protect both of these items. For additional information on the upcoming prohibition of the use of third party apps, refer to the October 22, 2020 Scheduling Alert.
Contractual Furlough Payments – Pay Advices Visible as of Wednesday, 10.28.2020
As provided for in Section 18.H.2. of our Contract, those Flight Attendants who were placed on Involuntary Furlough will be issued pay checks for furlough payments consistent with the schedule outlined in this Section of the Contract.
Full month furlough pay is based on our contractual 71-hour minimum or, for those instances where furlough pay is based on weeks or fractions of a month, a portion thereof. For example, two weeks of furlough pay is ½ of the 71-hour minimum or 35:30. While these payments will be made according to the proscribed payroll timelines of the 1st and mid-month schedule, the company will not employee the advance process for these payments. What this means is that for those with two weeks of furlough pay due, the entire amount will be paid as part of the first of the month paycheck. For those with a full month furlough payment due, the other half of the 71-hours will also be paid as part of the mid-month paycheck.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to review the Involuntary Furlough Information Packet, keep in mind that while neither Union dues or 401(k) deductions are withheld from these payments, taxes, any salary advances, outstanding pass travel charges, overpayments, insurance (benefits) arrears and any wage assignments will be withheld from these contractual payments.
Reserve Standby Pre-Board Assignments and 35-in-7 Reminders
In previous editions of E-Lines we discussed Pre-Board and 35-in-7. With the increase not only in the number of Standby assignments but also the number of questions from those who haven’t served Reserve in a while, it’s seems as if it’s a good time to review these topics.
Ready to Vote?
MEC Government Affairs Committee.
Election Day is November 3. Through Early or Absentee Voting, millions of Americans have already cast their vote. Voting is at the core of our democratic way of life and every one of us must ensure we exercise this fundamental right. Due to COVID-19 and Flight Attendant schedules, we should plan to vote early by mail or in-person this year. It’s important each of us make a successful plan to cast a ballot in the General Election.
Are you Registered to Vote?
Have you checked your voter registration status? If you have moved recently, have you updated your registration and verified your registration is active? If you are not registered, it may not be too late! You can still register and vote on November 3 in certain states.
86 million Americans eligible to vote, or one-third of eligible Americans of the national total, can sign up and then proceed to cast a ballot on Election Day. Eligible residents will be able to show up at their assigned polling places or county election office on November 3 and vote. Same day registration requires voters to present proof of residency and a valid photo ID.
Below is a list of states which enable you to register on election day. Again, please note some states allow voters to register directly at the polling places, others require same-day registrants to register at the county election office. Be sure to double check where to go in your county if you are registering on Election Day.
States which enable you to register and vote on election day are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Washington DC.
Make a Plan to Vote — Determine How you will Vote
Most states have expanded early voting or voting by mail this year due to COVID19. Get all the dates and election information you need, by state, at:
- Confirm you are registered to vote.
- Know your options for early voting. Early voting dates and times vary by state
- Know how to apply and return an absentee ballot. It’s best to return your ballot at the election office
- Know which polling place you are assigned to and what time the polls open and close
- If you live overseas, go to www.fvap.gov for voting information
- Learn the issues and check what is on the ballot.
Know Your Voter Rights
If you witness voter disruptions, you can seek assistance from the National non-partisan voter protection hotlines.
- 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) – English language hotline
- 888-Ve-Y-Vota (888-839-8682) – Bilingual English/Spanish language hotline
- 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) – Bilingual English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, and Tagalog.
Only you can make sure your vote counts on Election Day. Make your voice heard.
Third Trimester CBT – Required to Maintain FAA Qualifications
The Third Trimester CBT is now available for completion and is required to be completed by, October 30, 2020 at 2359 Central Standard Time. Log into TakeOff Learning and select Continuing Qualifications (CQ) 2020 Trimester 3. Compensation for completion of this training is outlined in our Contract.
We want to shift the focus on completion of this particular training module.
Completion of this training module is required to maintain your FAA qualifications. Failure to complete this training will result in the need for you to attend requalification training after December 1, 2020.
We encourage you to make the dedicated effort to complete the 3rd Trimester CBT prior to the October 30, 2020 deadline.
Daylight Savings – Fall Back this Sunday.
This Sunday, November 1, at 0200, we turn our clocks backward one hour from Daylight Savings time to return to Standard time. Most areas of the US observe daylight savings time with a few exceptions.
Because we “fall back” this Sunday, we get an extra hour of sleep (which everyone loves), and the days get shorter with daylight fading by 4 or 5 pm. If you fly this Sunday, be sure you set your clocks back one hour in order to take full advantage of the extra hour.
Reminder and Quick Links
October 1-31 - Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October 19 - 30th Annual Benefits Enrollment
October 22 - Link Internal Protection Plan Enrollment Opens
October 23 - First round Vacation Bidding Opens
October 30 - Third Trimester CBT Due
October 31 - First Round Vacation Bidding Closes by 8:00 AM HDT
Fall Back Your Clocks – November 1
November 3 – Vote!