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Update on Status of Discussions on Closing of International Domiciles

Date: July 15, 2020

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.

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