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MEC Officer Letter - Payroll Support

Date: December 22, 2020

 Ladies and Gentlemen:

Yesterday was not only a good day, it was a great day!  Tens of millions of Americans are going to get desperately needed relief, in no small part, because of you. As a direct result of your calls to Congress and the advocacy of countless and tireless dedicated AFA Flight Attendants, we were successful in securing an extension to the Payroll Support Program (PSP) in legislation.

This extension is amazing news, and corrects a wrong that was absolutely avoidable had Congress set politics aside and acted earlier in the year to avoid having thousands of Flight Attendants without work and millions of Americans with no jobs and no healthcare under the looming threat of the expiration of unemployment benefits.

Despite Scott Kirby and Brett Hart immediately “grinching” on this good news in a PR piece last night, which included use of the word “temporary” four times in a single message, this PSP gives us essential breathing room. This is our accomplishment.

We should be clear.  We are United Flight Attendants – each one of us.  Regardless of the program in which we participate, the schedule we fly or where we are based, we all wear the same uniform. Through our collective efforts, we support each other and together, what we are able to accomplish is beyond remarkable. 

It may be true that bookings are not likely to miraculously increase by April, or that most forecasts put United at 30% smaller than pre-pandemic times by the end of 2021 requiring fewer workers.  And, we may not yet be at the end of the line for additional furloughs this coming year.  But we do have reason to believe there are opportunities for things to begin getting better from here. Realistically, the government cannot provide aid, in the form of payroll support, to airlines forever. The value our airline brings to the local and world communities we serve cannot be minimized nor can this essential assistance be stopped immediately either. The delicate balance between support, recovery and sustainability not only can, but must be achieved.

Yes, our future is uncertain and 2021 also holds a number of hopeful unknowns.  We have a new President who will take office on January 20th and a new Congress, which may be more aligned with our goals, even earlier than that. The results of the Georgia Senate run-off election will have an enormous impact on how the next few years unfold. Gaining additional support beyond March 31st  will need to become our new goal. We will pick up the baton and begin the next leg of this race with a clear vision of how our unified, collective efforts have and can pay off.   Today, we can breathe but based on the demands ahead, we cannot rest for long.  The journey ahead of us is a long one that we can complete together.

Today, in the midst of the season of hope, as the end of this dreadful year draws to a close, we have many reasons to be guardedly optimistic.  Against overwhelming odds, together, we achieved something that puts real relief into the lives of those who need it most.  This is properly the focus of our accomplishment during this holiday season.  Let’s celebrate it!



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