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Operational Impact of COVID-19 Drives Additional Reductions to Flying

Date: April 4, 2020

We are the front line employees of our company.  Each day, we step onstage and demonstrate the very best of who we are not only as a group of professional Flight Attendants, but also for the company we represent by providing the essential services to the communities and customers we serve.  During this time, AFA has strongly advocated for and worked collaboratively with management to develop processes and procedures that provide for the safety of our Members.

A significant part of AFA’s advocacy has been for the pull down of all leisure airline service to not only keep employees safe but to also ensure we play our larger role in helping to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in all the communities we serve. Today’s announcement from management is not unexpected.  


We are learning that management has made a decision to significantly reduce operations at LGA & EWR cancelling a large number of flights for today and tomorrow.  As of Sunday, April 5, 2020 the operation at EWR will be reduced indefinitely. Greg Hart has sent a communication to all employees at LGA and EWR advising of the pending significant but temporary reduction in flying from EWR reduced to 15 flights a day to 9 destinations while our service at LGA will be reduced to two flights a day to one destinations.


We have seen this coming for weeks.  We continue to watch this pandemic spread across the United States.  The New York/New Jersey area has the most cases of any country in the world which only reinforces the seriousness of the situation with which our country is faced. 


While not everyone may agree with us, we view this as a good decision. In fact, it’s the right decision because it protects Flight Attendants, other employees with customer contact and the traveling public who have been entrusted to our care.  AFA has been on the forefront in our advocacy for the pull down of all leisure travel. 


In general, the Unions at the major airlines continue to advocate for the cessation of all leisure travel and while not all of the major airlines have announced similar reductions, based on the continuing advocacy of our Union and that of our sister and brother Unions, we expect to see similar responses from the other major airlines, if not immediately, but at some point in the future.  Put simply, it is the responsible thing to do to stop the spread of this pandemic. This action by management, on behalf of all United employees, must be seen for what it is; a commitment to the people of the communities we serve in the greater New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas. 


These announcements create tremendous uncertainty for all of us and we want you to know we understand the anxiety you may be feeling.  We recognize there will be questions, lots of questions, for which answers will not be immediately available.  We need your help in order to get you answers.  We ask that you direct your questions through your Local Council.  In turn, those questions will be directed to the appropriate area of the Union or the company where we will be working diligently to obtain answers to those questions. 


Collectively,  none of us have ever in our experience been faced with that situation we are now facing.  You shouldn’t be alarmed that any of your Union leadership doesn’t have immediate answers to many of the questions that will result for this changing set of circumstances.  What is equally important for you to know is that your Union leadership is committed to getting answers to your questions.


We stand together always prepared to support one another. 

United AFA MEC Officers,

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