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E-Lines: July 14, 2020

Date: July 14, 2020

Voluntary Separation Program (VSP2): Deadline to Apply is Tomorrow - July 15

The application window for United’s Voluntary Separation Program for frontline employees closes, July 15, 2020 at 23:59:59 US Central Time.

It cannot be stressed enough that the company’s VSP2 offer is highly personalized based on individual employee factors such as work group, retirement eligibility, years of service and more. To ensure your full understanding of the VSP offer, refer to Help Hub for the details and FAQs that are relevant to you. Help Hub should be your go-to resource for any questions about the VSP.  

Update on Status of Discussions on Closing of International Domiciles

For the past couple of weeks, talks between AFA and United management have been ongoing as we have tried to find an amicable solution in addressing the needs of the Members affected by the announcement of the base closures at FRA, HKG and NRT.

Prior to the company’s announcement on the planned reduction in force identifying those Flight Attendants potentially subject to involuntary furlough, while waiting to meet with United management, MEC President Ken Diaz was informed that a meeting could only take place with the Union based on a pre-condition that major concessions would need to be a part of any comprehensive solution. 

AFA put forward innovative solutions to the issues the company identified including efforts directed at maintaining a base in Japan to keep Flight Attendants in their geographic region of the world.   The Union is perplexed by the company’s unwillingness to discuss a solution involving a base in Japan.  Instead, the company proposed part time work with no guarantee that Flight Attendants will be able to maintain their employment at United Airlines.

Regrettably, we must inform you that the issue of the continued employment status of those Members who do not have the necessary documentation to work in the United States will need to be resolved through our Contractual grievance process.  At the same time, we are taking all necessary steps to enforce the Contract and all local employment laws.

We have already filed two MEC Grievances directly related to the base closure. The first MEC Grievance was filed when the company announced the base closure and indicated that vacancies would not be created at our remaining international base, LHR, in contradiction to the terms of our Contract. 

The second MEC Grievance was filed when the company indicated that while Flight Attendants can submit bids for voluntary furloughs, those bids will not be awarded to those individuals not having the necessary documents to work in the United States as of October 1, 2020.

In terms of process, we have requested the expedited arbitration of both of these grievances and we see no reason why the company would not be agreeable to doing so. We will be retaining outside legal counsel to handle the arbitration of the underlying issues for these international locations.  

As you may know, we have hired outside legal counsel for all three international domiciles to address the myriad of legal issues unique to each location.

In addition, and despite our best efforts, we are disappointed that we were unable to reach an agreement to find an alternative to arbitration. Most importantly, we understand this impacts each one of our Members based at each of these international locations.   

Be assured, we will continue to fight for your rights.  This decision by management cannot stand.  If the company were to make a decision to close a base in the United States, we would take the same course of action. We are committed to finding a solution that protects your jobs and that of all United Flight Attendants.   In the meantime, stand strong, stand together.

What’s up with Using the June 23, 2020 System Seniority List for Voluntary Furlough?

There have been some questions about why the company is using a System Seniority List dated June 23, 2020 when determining the reduction in force.  On the date the company began to make a determination of the size of the workforce that would be needed to cover the operation which they plan to cover in the coming months, the company pulled that list in order to set the foundation for any reduction in force.  That list clearly establishes those individuals who are subject to the work force reductions and establishes a point on the System Seniority list beyond which the company may not extend when placing Flight Attendants on involuntary furlough status.

While it is true the Flight Attendants who are taking VSP2 who left in June and who will leave July 30th are still on the list, they were part of the workforce at the point in time at which the determination was made by the company.  In certain instances, these individuals have the right to rescind their VSP election.

To be clear, the June 23, 2020 System Seniority has an exclusive function; that is, to determine and strictly identify those subject to involuntary furlough through any reduction in force.

The semi-annual System Seniority list that is due out during July, typically July 1, is the list that will be used exclusively to protest any error or omission.  In order to avoid confusion between the two lists that might inadvertently lead people to wrong conclusions, as has been the practice during a period of voluntary furlough, both lists are not posted at the same time. 

Once the July list is posted, all Flight Attendants will have a 30-day period of time to protest any error or omission found on that exclusive list.

Revised Air Transportation Health Guidelines by Government of New South Wales

Over the past couple of weeks, reports have been submitted by Flight Attendants laying over in Sydney indicating that information provided to crews by Health Officials at the Airport on arrival in Sydney was not consistent with their experience while at the assigned layover hotel in Sydney.

While the Union has been pursing an understanding of the source of the inconsistency, we have learned the company has updated the information on the company website as it pertains to denied entry of passengers into Australia:

1.    Passengers are not allowed to enter Australia:

  • Does not apply to nationals of Australia
  • Does not apply to the immediate family members of nationals of Australia
  • Does not apply to permanent residents of Australia and their immediate family members.
  • Does not apply to nationals of New Zealand residing in Australia.

2.    Passengers are required to quarantine for 14 days at the first point of entry

3.     Airline crews are subject to self-isolation until their next scheduled flight.

4.    Passengers transiting through Australia for 8 to 72 hours are subject to quarantine until their departing flight.

5.    Flights to Melbourne (MEL) are suspended until 15 July 2020.

In addition, we have become aware of the a recently issued Air Transportation Guidelines update from heatlh.nsw.gov.au which provides additional information on the requirements for non-Australian crews while on layover. 

Recall from Furlough – How’s it done?

We’re hearing there may be some inaccurate information circulating regarding recall from furlough status and how that is accomplished.

Remember, voluntary furlough is bid.  Involuntary furlough status is assigned. If it is necessary to recall Flight Attendants from furlough status, those on involuntary furlough status are recalled first. Recall from Involuntary furlough is accomplished in seniority order, that is, most senior first.

Once all Flight Attendants on involuntary furlough status are recalled, then Flight Attendants on voluntary furlough status are recalled in inverse order of seniority, that is, most junior first.

We are working to clear up any misunderstanding.

Company to Award Additional August Special COLA Awards from Waitlist - July 16th

Flight Attendants still interested in the August one- and two-month Special COLAs are encouraged to submit their request in CCS in order to take advantage of additional time off opportunities that are available. The next round of awards from the waitlist will be reviewed after 08:00 a.m. CT on Thursday, July 16th. Special COLAs from the waitlist are awarded in a first come, first awarded basis.

One Month Special COLAs for September 2020

The Company will be offering a one-month Special COLA for the September 2020 schedule month.

Bids Open

Monday, July 13, 2020

Bids Close

Monday, August 3, 2020 at 8:00AM CST

Awards Posted

Before September Bids Open


Review the Company’s Special COLA information packet for additional information.


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