E-Lines: February 11, 2020
February 11, 2020
Flight Attendant Bidding System (FABS) Project Update
(Exclusive to Vacation Relief Lines)
As provided for in Section 7.D.1. and further detailed in LOA #12 of our Contract, Vacation Relief Lines (VRL) shall be constructed utilizing an automated Flight Attendant Bidding System, FABS. Using this system, Flight Attendants awarded VRL shall be able to preference the schedule characteristics that she/he considers desirable. These schedules will be constructed and awarded in seniority order.
During the negotiations that led to the JCBA, the Company and AFA agreed to implement a Flight Attendant Bidding System (FABS) for the bidding and awarding of Vacation Relief Lines (VRL); Letter of Agreement #12. The work required to implement FABS began in the second half of 2019 when vendors were interviewed to provide the system, and Jeppesen was selected for the project. Jeppesen is the same company that created the Reserve Preferencing program currently used by all reserves.
When FABS is implemented, planned for the last quarter of 2020, flight attendants who are awarded Vacation Relief Lines in the primary bid will no longer bid for pre-constructed Relief lines of flying in the secondary bid; but, will instead use FABS to input preferences for what they would like to fly. Preferences may include the type of flying (domestic, international, language), layover locations, high or low line value, work position, weekends off, to name a few. FABS will then create a Vacation Relief Line for each flight attendant based on their preferences and the pool of pairings available.
Development of the system began in January and will continue for the next few months. The Company and AFA are working on training materials to help flight attendants understand FABS and there will also be a FABS “practice environment” to allow Flight Attendants to use and feel comfortable with the system. Flight attendants will help refine the system through live testing planned for this summer. In the meantime, we anticipate surveying flight attendants who hold Vacation Relief Lines, starting with the March schedule, which will help gather more information on their bidding preferences. Survey results will help to create bid preferences that will be used in preliminary FABS testing this spring. Project updates will be communicated as progress is made and work moves forward.
If you have additional questions about this provision of our Contract, please review the TA Questions & Answers (August 4, 2016) document that outlines additional details.
Are You Registered to Vote the Primaries?
MEC Government Affairs Committee
Every year since 1972, Iowa held the first presidential nominating contest in 2020 followed by February contests in the other traditionally early voting states of New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Super Tuesday follows on March 3 with several more state primaries continuing through June 2020.
Use the following website to ensure you are registered to vote. If you’re not registered, it’s easy! Just follow the prompts. www.iwillvote.com. This website provides a list of each state’s process and election timeline.
Take the Negotiations Survey- Deadline 1600 CT on March 6, 2020
MEC Negotiating Committee
This Contract 2021 Negotiations Survey is our opportunity to put our desired contract improvements, likes and dislikes in writing.
If you did not receive your access code in the mail, please contact our Negotiations Survey Help Line Monday-Friday between the hours of 0900 – 1700 CT at: 1(800) 624-3907, ext. 546.
We cannot overstate the value your opinions and participation bring to the process and the impact of this feedback at the bargaining table, if we stand united in support of our collective priorities – our solidarity will lead us to our future success.
Contract 2021 Listening Tour
MEC Negotiating Committee
Our Negotiating Committee has completed the scheduled Listening Tour visits in 13 locations to date with the most recent meeting completed in San Diego to a standing room only crowd. The next stop on February 12 is in San Francisco from 1:00pm -4:00pm PT at the DoubleTree Airport, 835 Airport Blvd., Burlingame, CA. After San Francisco, the next stops on the tour four our Negotiating Committee will be Phoenix and Denver this week.
Visit our dedicated Contract2021.org website for details on upcoming Listening Tour locations.
Voluntary Supplemental Insurance- Enrollment begins February 17
Flight Attendants will have the option to enroll in or make changes to their Voluntary Supplemental Insurance Benefits through either of our current brokers, Design Benefits (Allstate plans) or NGP (CAIC plans). Beginning February 17, 2020 through March 15, 2020, representatives from each of these brokers will be available in hub locations from 5AM – 8PM daily to answer questions and to enroll those interested in a variety of voluntary supplemental insurance plans which include:
· Group Voluntary (Short Term) Disability Income
· Critical Illness with Cancer
· Cancer Policy
· Group Voluntary Accident Insurance
· Group Hospital Indemnity Coverage
· Life Insurance
Personalized Base Visit Schedules
February 17- March 15
March 9- March 15
February 17- February 19
March 2- March 4
March 2- March 4
February 24- February 26
In addition to the personalized base visits, Flight Attendants will have opportunities to enroll online and via telephone appointments. Additional information can be found on our website.
Vacation Fly Through - Purser and International Purser
As a reminder, Section 9.F.3. provides for Flight Attendants awarded an International Purser position to have her/his vacation pay based on her/his line award and this will include any applicable International Purser override. Vacation Fly Through is based on the awarded line of flying for the month in which the vacation occurs. For this reason, the applicable International Purser override also applies to Vacation Fly Through payments.
This is different from payments under the Vacation Buy Back provision of Section 12.D.which is not predicated on the award of any line of flying and is instead based on your applicable rate of pay as of December 1st of the year prior to the year in which the Vacation Buy Back payment is made and does not include any override.
It is also important to know that Flight Attendants who regularly fly in any Purser position and who are paid three hundred and fifty (350) credited hours, excluding vacation, in the previous calendar year are also eligible for Purser premium pay for her/his vacation when awarded a Purser position during the month in which vacation is scheduled. This would also include any Vacation Fly Through payment.
Reserve Notice of Assignment Review – Emphasis on Short Calls
Sections 8.G.1., 8.I.1.h.2. and 8.K.
Ready Reserve assignments will be made as soon as practical and will include layover hotel and telephone number if assigned to a pairing not published in the monthly bid packet. A Reserve will be given 15 hours’ notice before departure time at the domicile with the exception that a lesser notice may be given when the need for a Reserve cannot be determined at least 15 hours in advance of the flight.
Every attemptwill be made to assign a Ready Reserve at least three (3) hours prior to reportfor duty. A Reserve receiving less than a three (3) hour notice will attempt to make the assignment. When given a less-than-three (3) hour notice, this is known as a “short call.”
Except for periods of relief from duty, a Reserve will be subject to contact at any time and must be available by keeping the Company advised of the contact telephone number where she/he can be reached.
A Reserve may call Crew Scheduling once a day to inquire of their Reserve status and/or to request a release from Reserve duty. An available Reserve may be released from contact for a period of time with the approval of the Crew Scheduler.
A Reserve may provide one alternate contact at a time.
If a pairing is assigned to a Reserve and then subsequently reassigned to a Lineholder, Crew Scheduling will attempt to contact the Reserve before she/he leaves for the airport.
If a Reserve receives a less-than-three (3) hour notice prior to check-in, it is considered to be a “short call.”
While there is no Contractual prohibition against crew scheduling assigning a short call, a Reserve should not be penalized if she/he has made a reasonable effort to make the flight, shows up at the airport and has missed the flight anyway (Settlement, ORD 7-95).
To be clear, Reserves should not be refusing Short Calls. Simply make a reasonable effort.
If a Reserve determines it is necessary to take cab transportation to the airport in order to respond to a short call, she/he shall be reimbursed for actual expenses to/from the airport.
Assignment of Pre-0500 Check-ins
A pairing or Standby assignment that has a check-in prior to 0500 for the following day should be assigned with as much notice as possible, but at the very least, prior to the 1500 HDT snapshot on the previous day. These check-ins should be assigned to a Reserve who is on Ready Reserve status for the current day and has availability for the duration of the assignment. Once assigned, the Ready Reserve should be immediately released for the remainder of the day through check-in.
If there are no Ready Reserves available on the current day, Crew Scheduling would be required to wait until a Reserve is assigned to Ready Reserve status for the following day during the 1930 process and may attempt to contact them after 1930. It should be noted, a Flight Attendant coming from a day off would not be required to be telephone available until after midnight.
Please review the Reserve Guide for a comprehensive review of Reserve Scheduling Procedures - Section 8 of our Contract. Contact your Local Council with any questions.
Deadhead – including Surface Deadhead
Sections 2.E. and 3.I.3.
Some of us may be unfamiliar with a provision in our Contract that is derived from the definition of Deadheading in Section 2.E. That is, the company may transport a Flight Attendant for the purpose of covering or returning from a flight assignment, and this includes travel by ground or surface transportation. Otherwise known as a surface deadhead, the travel time between your domicile/base and the airport of departure becomes part of your pairing. This time generates full flight time pay and credit and is also included in the calculation of any trip or duty rigs that are applicable to the pairing.
Similar, but somewhat different from crosstown transportation which occurs at a domicile location with co-terminals, the company may transport a Flight Attendant from her/his domicile or base to any airport to cover the irregular operation of a flight or the requirement for a Flight Attendant to meet either FAA minimum or ESG Staffing requirements. For example, Fort Lauderdale (FLL) is a satellite base. Other airports in the area of FLL are West Palm Beach and Miami. In the event the need for a crew member(s) develops, the company may require a Flight Attendant to check-in at FLL for transportation to either of these airports to fill the open position. Upon completion of the pairing, the company is obligated to return the Flight Attendant to her/his base/domicile either by air or similar ground transportation. All such ground transportation must be scheduled within the confines of the applicable duty day(s) outlined in
Sections 6.S. or 6.T. depending on the type of flying to which the Flight Attendant is assigned.
If you have questions or are unsure if this provision of the Agreement is being properly applied, your first point of contact for clarification should be your Local Council.
Pairing Legality Diagnostics in CCS
MEC Grievance Committee
Many Flight Attendants are noticing and inquiring about the new colorful legality icons appearing in many of our pairings and Master Schedules.
The January 30, 2020 One United communication explains that new color coding with legality descriptions were created for easier viewing for Flight Attendants. Previously, any pairing legalities were only viewable in the “Alerts” section of the Master Schedule. Flight Attendants are encouraged to read the separate guide that has been created to explain all details of the pairing legalities and color codes.
Real ID - Compliance by October 2020
October 2020 will be here before we know it! Please review this previous article with information about Real ID compliance that can be used when traveling by air. You might also consider reminding family members and anyone utilizing your pass travel benefits to ensure they are Real ID compliant.
401(k) & Roth 401(k) Annual Contribution Limits increased for 2020
The IRS limits the amount employees and employers can contribute to a 401(k) on an annual basis. For 2020, the IRS has increased the amount employees can contribute: The pre-tax and Roth 401(k) contribution limit has increased for 2020 from $19,000 to $19,500 while the “catch up” contributions for those aged 50 or older during the year has been increased from $6,000 to $6,500 raising the limit for those 50 or older to $26,000 for 2020.
If you have additional questions, consider contacting the Fidelity Service Center for United Employees at 800 245 9034.