Home > News > E-Lines: December 29, 2020

E-Lines: December 29, 2020

Date: December 29, 2020

Let's Talk About April 1


As we celebrate the return to work of our flying partners who were placed on furlough status as well as those in the IVFMP, we continue to be amazed at United leadership’s immediate and consistent description of this recall as a “temporary” reprieve.

In the coming days and weeks, we are going to go into detail with you about the realities and challenges of the year ahead of us. Let’s start right off the bat by saying, we do not share management’s view that an involuntary furlough is necessarily inevitable. 

The question of whether or not there will need to be some reduction in force from our full population in April is a question that can’t immediately be answered. It could be argued, in the absence of additional payroll support from Congress, that it might be likely. However, our Contract provides for a number of furlough mitigation programs that can minimize the need for involuntary furloughs. We recognize that even the most optimistic forecast shows United to be 30% smaller at the end of 2021 than we were in 2019. 

But the landscape in April is markedly different than it was last March and even as recently as this past October. We are convinced and will advocate that there are many solutions and options that take a responsible approach to managing staffing without unnecessarily disrupting the lives of any segment of our Flight Attendant population.

We will be reviewing the challenges we face in 2021 with you, exploring and sharing our more optimistic view. We acknowledge United CEO Scott Kirby has a challenging job in navigating United Airlines through the worst pandemic this country has seen in over a century. His job is to make difficult decisions to ensure the survival of our airline. Scott has a reputation as a “numbers guy” and he’s been very aggressive in his cuts and that “direction from the top” has filtered down through all departments at United. While decisive leadership in any successful enterprise is essential to our survival, it’s definitely not a strategy that has to be taken in perpetuity or applied in totality. Our strategy needs to evolve with the changing world, which is gradually improving and responses need to be tempered by good judgement.

Our job as a Union is to defend our Contract and to protect jobs. We have taken equally aggressive action to protect jobs through the IVFMP as well as our tireless and relentless efforts in Congress to get a Payroll Support Program extension.

The important piece to all this is that our individual goals are not mutually exclusive. Our Union wants our airline to survive and we want to preserve our careers. Having said this, there are many more ways to achieve our mutual goals through cooperative efforts and we can avoid any relentless pursuit down a path of involuntary furlough as a foregone conclusion.

Stay tuned, we’ve got a lot to talk about.


PSP May Impact Unemployment Benefits

Those Flight Attendants who are currently on furlough or unpaid status and who are currently collecting unemployment benefits have been contacting our Local Council Office with questions on how the new legislation may impact those benefits.

Each state handles their employment process differently. You will need to contact your individual state office and get answers from them. We can tell you that you will be receiving income for December and January even if you are not actively out flying. That income needs to be reported to the state offices. How each location handles how benefits will be paid or any potential reimbursement will be unique to your situation.

We encourage you to continue the unemployment certification process for your jurisdiction. If you have questions, discuss your circumstances with the Unemployment Office and identify the best path forward for yourself as that office is the exclusive resource for obtaining those answers.


White and Purple Flag Pay Reminders

While many of us may not have had a white Christmas this year, we certainly all did have a White Flag Christmas and it appears the same may apply for the New Year’s holiday. After the furloughs and furlough mitigation programs took deep cuts in our numbers this past October, management has had to pull out all the stops over the past two-week holiday period to manage the operation, many times digging deep into the provisions of the Contract to stay in the air. 

A number of factors impacted the operation. Reduced staffing combined with shorter than normal connection times, minimum scheduled layovers and a spike in the instances of COVID-19 brought on a “wintery mix” of scheduling solutions. White flag, turning and scheduling Reserves into days off and drafting have all combined to create a tumultuous few weeks. We acknowledge that while Contractual, the situation in which we all found ourselves, should have been avoidable. At our very best, our operation over a holiday should not be handled in this way.

Following the abundant announcements of White Flag days, we wanted to review the parameters of both White and Purple Flag pay.

The White Flag designator is used specifically at a particular base/bases for specific dates, whereas the Purple flag indicator, although also specific to a base/bases, is specific to pairing(s) within a base and may not be inclusive to all pairings listed in open time. Both flag indicators provide for additional compensation at a rate of one-hundred and fifty percent (150%) of the pay rates outlined in Section 4.A.

As required by the terms of our Contract, white and purple flag pay may be designated by the Company when there is a deficit in Flight Attendant staffing. The company, at their discretion, can determine the base/bases and the specific day/days that “white or purple” flag will be designated. However, under both of these contractual provisions, Flight Attendants will be required to follow the specific parameters of picking up a white or purple flag designated pairing in order to receive the additional compensation as outlined in Section 4.B.2. & 3.

White Flag parameters: Once the company has determined that a certain day will be designated as a white flag day, they will post the affected base/bases on CCS and include the effective dates, time and criteria for Flight Attendants to pick-up a pairing from open time. The pairings will be listed in CCS open time and indicated with a white flag indicator located next to the pairing. 

Additionally, Flight Attendants picking up a white flag pairing must be in position to work the pairing and to operate the pairing or, if cancelled, be reassigned in order to qualify for pay protection. All out of base pick up rules apply. To qualify for “White Flag Pay”, the pairing must actually be flown and is paid for all credited time. 

Purple Flag Parameters: At management discretion, specific trips (not specific days), will be labeled with a small purple flag indicator. When a Flight Attendant picks up a trip from open time that is designated as “purple flag” she/he shall be paid one hundred and fifty percent (150%) of the pay rates provided for in the Base Pay Rates chart in Section 4.A. of our Contract. Flight Attendants will be compensated for all credited flight time, including holding time. Additionally, if a purple flag pairing is subsequently traded, the Flight Attendant actually flying the pairing shall be entitled to the purple flag pay.

For both White and Purple Flag pay, if you are reassigned, you qualify for the additional pay, however if your pairing is cancelled without reassignment, you are pay protected for the pairing credit hours but not the White Flag pay. It’s also important to remember that once a pairing is designated as a White or Purple flag day, that designator remains with the pairing if it is traded with another Flight Attendant.


Availability of Funds from First Paycheck in the New Year – January 4, 2021

As a reminder and for your planning purposes, as provided in Section 3.BB of our Contract, the direct deposit of funds for our January 1, 2021 paycheck will be available on the first business day after the holiday. Because January 1, 2021, the New Year’s Day holiday, falls on a Friday where financial institutions are closed, funds will be available on Monday, January 4, 2021. January 4th Pay Advices are currently visible on Flying Together but it is important to note these funds will not be available until January 4, 2021.


Cintas Uniform Points Expire December 31

As a reminder, 2019 uniform points expire on December 31, 2020 and will not roll over for use in the next calendar year. Uniform orders using 2020 points must be made as follows:

Telephone orders- Must be placed by 3:00 PM (CST) on December 31, 2020

Online Orders- Must be placed by 11:59 (CST) on December 31, 2020 via the Cintas Website.

Additionally, Flight Attendants on a leave of absence, voluntary furlough or involuntary furlough will receive uniform points upon their return based on the following:

  • All unused uniform points on the effective date of one of the above referenced statuses will be made available to her/him upon her/his return;
  • Any uniform points accrued prior to the effective date of any of the above referenced statuses for use in the following year will be available upon return
  • The combination of unused and accrued points will not exceed the yearly maximum points accrued by a Flight Attendant who is not on any of the above statuses;
  • Consistent with current policy, points will not be accrued while on any of the above referenced statuses.

If you have questions, Call Cintas at 1-800-889-0331 (U.S.) or 0800-0515-929 (LHR), Monday through Friday from 0700 to 1800 Central Time keeping in mind the exceptions to these normal hours as listed above. Email: united@cintas.com.

Reminder and Quick Links
December 31 – Cintas Uniform Points Expiration
January 1 – Contractual New Year’s Day Holiday
January 29 – First Trimester CQ CBT Due



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