E-Lines: March 31, 2020
March 31, 2020
May Schedule Development Process
Information about the May 2020 schedule development process has recently been the subject of much conjecture. The fact of the matter is the Union, to date, has not been provided with the Domicile Schedule Letter (DSL), that is, the flying assigned at each domicile location for the month of May. In fact, Crew Schedule Planning, the department that builds the pairings with the flying and assigns it to each domicile, has not received from Network Planning the aircraft schedule the company plans to fly in May. Until such time as we see the schedule, everything is subject to change.
The reasons for the delay should be self-evident. With each passing day, as more and more regulations affect what happens to individuals who travel to other areas of this country or out of this country on arrival, it is becoming increasingly difficult to know what flights should and actually will be operating with any sense of reliability. Management is working to finalize that schedule as soon as reasonably possible with the best information available and, at this point, not later than April 6. We share an interest in having the schedule built with accurate information. Without it, all of us are subject to reassignment throughout the entire month; an outcome that is neither desirable or intended under the terms of our Contract.
Other discussions about how schedules will be built have occurred based strictly on the realities of our ratified Contract. That is, Section 7.A.3. stipulates that the line average at all bases is to be not less than 69 hours. Reserve Schedules require a minimum of twelve (12) days off and our Contract provides management with the ability to build Reserve schedules with more than twelve (12) days off. When built with more than twelve (12) days off, Flight Attendants have the contractual option to restore days of availability, with a commensurate increase in Reserve minimum, back to the minimum twelve (12) days off provided they do so during the timeline outlined in the Contract.
Keep in mind, the efforts of the Union in advocating for the federal economic stimulus package were intended to accomplish support for working people. The grants in the relief package do provide paychecks for workers, not bailouts for airlines. These grants do one thing and one thing only: fund paychecks and benefits for two million hourly workers - Flight Attendants, pilots, gate agents, mechanics, the people who clean planes, cook the food, and help people through the airport.
It is also important to understand, we are not bargaining and, most assuredly, we’re not looking at offering concessions. We have a ratified, fully-enforceable contract with which management is obligated to comply and we have no disagreement with management over the terms of the Contract. While your leadership is fully engaged with management during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to understand we are prepared to discuss those circumstances that require any kind of decision-making. That is what your leadership is elected to do; to administer the terms of the Contract in the interest of the Membership.
Be assured, as additional information becomes available, we will communicate that information through our normal communication channels – MEC website, Committee Reports and shared information with your Local Council leadership. In the meantime, let’s avoid speculation and innuendo. The circumstances with which we are currently all dealing are, realistically, fraught with frustration and anxiety. Let’s avoid anything that will increase either of those items for each other. Now is the time for us to stand together and support each other. That’s the only way we are going to see this through successfully to a full return to profitability.
Call to Action: You Can’t Leverage People!
The grants in the relief package provide paychecks for workers, not bailouts for airlines.These grants do one thing and one thing only: fund paychecks and benefits for two million hourly workers like flight attendants, pilots, gate agents, mechanics, the people who clean planes, cook the food, and help people through the airport.
AFA International President’s Message:
Secretary Mnuchin is threatening to take equity on the grants -- leveraging the very people who make aviation fly and who right now are on the frontlines of this pandemic. Congress did not intend for this to work this way. The payroll grants are intended to keep us out of the unemployment line. The return to taxpayers is no involuntary furloughs or layoffs, keeping our vital industry intact for essential service during this national emergency, and our ability to continue to pay taxes, be consumers, and take care of ourselves and our families during this crisis. Warrants make sense on the loans, they do not make sense on the grants that are designated for our paychecks.
You can't leverage people. We're the ones the CARES Act is supposed to protect. This is our money, but the Secretary is planning to make conditions so onerous that the airlines can't take it. That will mean hundreds of thousands of jobs lost and bankruptcies all over again. Not this time! This isn't right. We are asking President Trump to make sure the Treasury Secretary doesn't dismantle the bipartisan agreement to keep us in our jobs, connected to our paychecks and healthcare.
Timeline for Completing Adjustments to Minimum - Three Separate Processes
During the course of a normal schedule month, there are a number of processes that occur as a result of Flight Attendant actions that, when completed, require an adjustment to the minimum in her/his CCS Pay Register. Two of these processes are:
1. Restoration of Reserve Days of Availability (In Reserve Lines having more than the 12 minimum days off).
2. Line Swaps
This month, as a result of a computer anomaly, the EOM/Adjustment Process is driving the need for a third line of work.
The important take away for all of us in terms of our April 2020 Pay Registers, regardless of the reason the adjustment to the Minimum is required this month, all minimum adjustments will be completed no later than April 12, 2020.
CCS Pay Register - Restoring Reserve Days of Availability and Update to Reserve Minimum in Pay Register
After you have sent your request to restore Reserve days of availability, Crew Planning then sends a notification to the Flight Attendant Crew Pay support team directing a manual adjustment to your Reserve Minimum hours based on the number of Reserve Days of availability restored. Once this process is completed, the Minimum shown on your CCS Pay Register will reflect this increase in hours.
In terms of timing, all adjustments to your Minimum will be completed by the Flight Attendant Crew Pay Support Team no later than the 12th of any given bid month.
CCS Pay Register – Lines Swaps and Adjustments to Minimum in Pay Register
After your request to swap lines has been processed by the Inflight Scheduling Team, a notification is sent to the Flight Attendant Crew Pay support team to directing a manual adjustment to the Minimum hours shown on your CCS Pay Registers.
All adjustments to your Minimum will be completed by the Flight Attendant Crew Pay Support Team no later than the 12th of any given bid month.
April 2020 Exception Process:
CCS Pay Register – Minimum Hour Corrections Resulting from EOMs & Adjustments
We are aware there are some number of Flight Attendants who after completing the EOM/Adjustment process for the April 2020 bid month had the value of their minimum hours reduced improperly. We have been able to identify all Flight Attendants who were adversely impacted.
The list of names of those Flight Attendants who should not have had their minimum reduced as a result of the EOM/Adjustment Process has been provided to the Flight Attendant Crew Pay Support Team. Manual adjustments to the Minimum in the CCS Pay Registers of those affected Flight Attendant will be made.
All adjustments to your Minimum will be completed by the Flight Attendant Crew Pay Support Team no later than the 12th of the April bid month.
Trip Trade Activity Impact to Guarantee and 71-Hour Minimum (Section 4.C.)
Now that the April line awards have been published, there are a number of questions regarding pay and how the pay protections of Section 4.C. interact with guarantee, and how trip trading activities impact both. Trip trading or dropping trips can potentially affect your 1st of the month paycheck based on when those trades are completed and how those trades affect your minimum or your guarantee.
Any action you take to your schedule that reduces your minimum, without a subsequent increase in your guarantee to a value above 50 hours by the 20th of the month, has the potential to directly reduce your 1st of the month paycheck (Flight Advance). If the overall result is a reduction to your minimum, you will likely reduce or eliminate your first of the month advance. In this instant example, reducing April will directly impact for May flight advance. Remember we are always paid the greater of our minimum or guarantee.
For additional information, review the E-lines article published on March 24, 2020 as well as the Pay Guide, both of which provide valuable information for Flight Attendants seeking clarification of the process.
Points Applied for Sick Absences Related to COVID-19
Letter of Agreement Provides Additional Sick Leave & Discipline Protections
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Flight Attendants who had points applied for sick absences, (non-occupational) beginning March 1, 2020 will have the points automatically removed by the FAST team within seven (7) business days of the occurrence.
On March 17th a Letter of Agreement (LOA) providing sick leave and discipline protections for Flight Attendants directly affected by the COVID-19 virus became an agreement. It is important to note that the stipulations outlined within this LOA must be met in order for a sick instance to apply and the provisions will not apply to any sick instances that fall outside the parameters of the agreement.
Additionally, the LOA provides the following:
1. Any Flight Attendant who calls in sick and is subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19 virus will have such sick leave restored.
2. Any points associated with sick leave use during the period of time this Letter of Agreement is in effect, whether for self or care of a family member in your household, will be removed.
3. Sick leave taken during the period of time this Letter of Agreement is in effect will not count against any Flight Attendant for purposes of dependability.
This agreement is effective until the United States Disease Control and Prevention declares that COVID-19 is no longer an epidemic in the United States, but no less than 90 days.
Wings of Sobriety – Telephonic Meetings
Meetings are open to all Flight Attendants who are exploring their need or seeking recovery from substance use disorders.
Meeting times are scheduled on Wednesday at 3:00 PM ET and Sunday at 5:00 PM ET.
Each meeting will last between forty-five (45) minutes to one (1) hours. The conference call number is 1 855-544-2320.
Need Information? Visit the COVID-19 page www.unitedafa.org
The new COVID-19 News & Resources page on our UnitedAFA website is dedicated to providing a one-stop resource for United AFA Flight Attendants, as we are navigating this world crisis together.
In addition to numerous useful resources, such as Health Resources, and current COVID-19 updates, the page offers the latest industry news and a dedicated Q&A section that provides answers regarding:
- Flight Attendant Layover Accommodations for COVID-19 FAQ
- Pay Questions and Answers
- April 2020 – Schedule Development Questions
- Information/ Membership Services
The COVID-19 page can be found by clicking the COVID-19 banner or icon located on the front page of unitedafa.org.
For additional information on health care during COVID, refer to the AFA Interactive information.
United Announces Five-Month Special COLA starting in May
With the continuing changes to the domestic and international flight schedules, Inflight Scheduling has determined that there is an opportunity to award five-month Special COLAs (Company Offered Leave of Absence) effective with the May 2020 bid month. The number of Special COLAs to be awarded has not yet been determined.
All Flight Attendants who are projected to be active for the May 2020 Bid Month will be eligible to participate in the five-month Special COLA program.
Flight Attendants Awarded the March Three Month Special COLA and the April Two Month Special COLA who are interested in the May Five Month Special COLA will be eligible to participate and should submit a bid in CCS by the request deadline.
TIMELINE FOR BIDDING & AWARDS
Bids Opened: Friday, March 27th, 2020
Bids Close: Monday, April 6th at 8:00AM CT
Awards Posted: Before the May Bids Open
Flight attendants interested in the one-month and five-month Special COLAs starting with the May schedule month should indicate their duration preference when submitting their request. May Special COLAs will be awarded first in priority before any Job Shares are awarded. Once awarded, Special COLAs cannot be rescinded.
For COLA awarded during COVID-19, United will not contest your claim for unemployment. In addition, United will provide any available helpful information to the state for purposes of your eligibility for unemployment, however, the ultimate decision rests with each state.
OVERLAP PAIRINGS FROM APRIL INTO MAY Flight Attendants are responsible to fly the last trip of the April schedule, including overlapping pairings into May 2020.
CBT TRIMESTER LESSONS - All Flight Attendants on a COLA are expected to complete the trimester CBTs by the established deadlines
Update: United Offers Enhanced Voluntary Separation Package
Starting Thursday, March 26, and through April 10, 2020, any employee in the U.S., Guam or Puerto Rico can request a voluntary separation from the company and receive enhanced medical benefits and travel privileges through a program known as the 2020 Voluntary Separation Program.
We’ve received some questions from employees who had previously submitted their intent to retire and who will do so within the timeline of the Voluntary Separation Program parameters. These individuals have sought to determine if they would be eligible to take advantage of the program. The answer is yes, they can be included.
The individuals who are in the process of exiting may continue to do so and they must also complete the Voluntary Separation Program (VSP) application on Help Hub and they may not revoke their retirement option in seven (7) days. For additional information on the Voluntary Separation Program, refer to our website.
Flight Attendant Layover Accommodations for COVID-19 FAQ
MEC Hotel and Transportation Committee
As we continue to navigate the challenges with which we are presented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re faced not only with issues affecting our business, but we are also affected by disruptions in the businesses with whom we interact during the course of our workday. In particular, the business at layover hotels is changing rapidly.
For our understanding, during the month of April, on a systemwide basis almost 42% of the flying is 1-day or turn flying. That is almost a 10% increase over the same month last year. There has been a reduction in the number of 2, 3 & 4 day pairings on a systemwide basis as well where the average length of layovers has been reduced by :13 minutes. The statistics are important because they directly impact our work life. These statistics tell the story about not only where we layover but if there are layovers scheduled at all.
We understand you have questions about the safety of our layover hotels and the actions these hotel vendors are taking to ensure you have a safe and comfortable stay. Your MEC Hotel & Transportation Committee has been engaged with the Hotel Desk, Corporate Procurement and ALPA to ensure that we are best leveraging our influence to enforce the terms of our Contract and ensure our overall safety concerns are addressed.
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, preventative actions are being implemented by federal, state and local governments resulting in an impact to some of our crew hotels. In an effort to ensure you have a safe hotel with food options, there may be changes to your layover hotel and transportation. The following is a list of frequently asked questions.
Onboard Resources: COVID-19
MEC Safety, Health and Security Committee
Flight Attendants continue to operate on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak. As essential workers we are placed at a higher risk for exposure while at work. Your Safety, Health and Security Committee has been hard at work ensuring you have the tools you need to remain safe amid this pandemic.
In addition to your pre-flight checks ensure you also check for gloves, masks and sanitizing supplies such as Lysol sprays or Clorox wipes. Should you find that your supplies are low, or all together missing, follow your chain of command and act accordingly.
As a reminder, if you find yourself flying without the necessary supplies file an IOR and check the box to send a copy to AFA.
In every instance, should you have a medical condition that potentially compromises your personal safety or cause you concern, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your personal physician. If you have a family member whose health may be at risk if exposed to the COVID-19 virus, please consult your medical resources.
Unemployment Claims while on Special COLA Require Your Local CWA #
Flight Attendants interested in applying for unemployment benefits are encouraged to visit the official Department of Labor (DOL) website for process information.
U.S. based Flight Attendants who intend to file a claim for unemployment benefits will be asked to provide their Local Council CWA afflation number. Your CWA number can be found in the chart below and on our website, unitedafa.org. You can locate your Local # by clicking on your Local Council icon. Flight Attendants located in a satellite base should use the CWA # assigned to their main base location.
EWR, TPA, MCO, FLL
LAX, SAN, SEA
When completing an application for unemployment, you will need the following contact information when referring to your employer:
233 S. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
Telephone (HR Operations): 877 825 3729
NOTE: Out of an abundance of caution, although United has stated that they will not contest your claim for unemployment, your AFA leadership must make it clear that the Union has no jurisdiction over unemployment claims and by providing this necessary information for your claim, we are making no representation or providing any guarantee of your eligibility for unemployment.
Reserve Reference Information:
For many of us, finding ourselves back on Reserve after a number of years, in a new system can be another source of frustration and anxiety. We’ve developed a number of resources and made these available on our website for your reference:
Reserve Survival Guide
Reserves Picking Up Flying on Scheduled Days Off
Reserves Picking Up White Flag Pairings
Picking Up Flying on Reserve Days Off - Following a Lineholder Trip
Important Voting Information from your MEC Government Affairs Committee
The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every part of our daily lives. Monitoring the crisis changes by the hour and as such we must also prepare for the inevitable impact it may have on our 2020 elections; specifically, the impact posed to voter turnout, access to the polls, and ballot processing.
We have already witnessed disruptions to the campaign season. From Rallies being canceled or postponed, state primaries delayed and the possibility of calling off the parties’ nominating conventions. Several states have postponed their presidential primary. These States are Ohio (Ohio’s governor and Secretary of State are currently seeking to postpone theprimary to June 2. Gov. Mike DeWine moved to push back the state’s election on Tuesday over Coronavirus concerns, but a judge rejected the request. It was unclear if voting would go forward.), Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana and the territory of Puerto Rico (postponed until April 26th).
The Coronavirus is not a political issue. But the fact remains that presidential primaries are in process and the general election is coming up. Therefore, the COVID-19 crisis may directly affect our fundamental right to vote.
First things First - Are you Registered to Vote?
The most important thing to do right now is make sure you’re registered to vote. Check your Vote Registration Status here >
If you’re not registered, it’s easy! Just follow the prompts or go here >
In-person voting is most at risk.
The very nature of our jobs makes it challenging to vote on Election Day. The Coronavirus crisis is moving rapidly and with uncertainty. Flight Attendants may be unable to vote in person because of illness, taking care of others or even government-imposed restrictions.
Given these possibilities, we need to make it as easy as possible for eligible voters to vote by mail in 2020 and to prepare for a likely surge in absentee ballots.
How to Vote by Mail
It’s easy to request an absentee ballot and there’s still time to do so even for most states with upcoming primaries to apply to vote absentee. If your State is not listed in here, please visit vote411.org for information. You can also get information on how to receive your absentee ballot at vote.org.
Please be aware that public health officials recommend that you not lick absentee ballot envelopes. Use a wet sponge or cloth to seal them.
Personalized Voting Information
We also urge you to visit www.vote411.org for all the voting information you may need. This website will allow you to register to vote, check your voter registration status, and find what’s on your ballot. If you have any questions, please contact your Local Government Affairs Committee or email the MEC Government Affairs Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.