Voluntary Furlough and Furlough Partnership Mitigation
July 29, 2020
There continues to be some confusion about not only the timing of the award of Furlough Mitigation Partnerships as it relates to the award of Voluntary Furloughs but also about who is eligible to submit for both of these efforts to mitigate the need for Involuntary Furloughs (IVF.)
We want to be very clear. Every Flight Attendant has the ability to submit a bid for either Voluntary Furlough or a Furlough Mitigation Partnership. What becomes operative is your relative seniority and if your bid will be honored based largely on how others, senior to you, have submitted bids.
Voluntary furlough awards are possible when those who are above the designated “line” submit bids to take time away from work. For each person above the line who submits a bid, the next most senior person on the seniority list below the line becomes eligible to be awarded a voluntary furlough. If there is an insufficient number of bidders above the line as well as those who subsequently become eligible below the line, then involuntary furlough is a possibility. In our Contract, as an additional stopgap measure, we have negotiated provisions for the Furlough Mitigation Partnerships. There are yet another step in the process intended to reduce the need for Involuntary Furlough. After the award of Voluntary Furloughs, Flight Attendants who are senior to the designated line will be awarded Furlough Mitigation Partnerships (FMP) to the extent those partnerships reduce the need for any Involuntary Furlough.If, as an example, the bids submitted for Voluntary Furlough took care of the entire reduction in force declared by the company, then Furlough Mitigation Partnerships would not be awarded. But to the extent that the submitted bids for Voluntary Furlough do not meet the need, those submitting for the FMP who are also eligible for Voluntary Furlough will be awarded.
Flight Attendants above the seniority line have the following three options:
1. Remain Active, or
2. Submit a bid for Voluntary Furlough, or
3. Submit a bid for a Furlough Mitigation Partnership
It should also be clear, if your seniority falls below the company’s designated line, you can still put in for either the Voluntary Furlough or the Furlough Mitigation Partnership. However, awards depend on your seniority. It cannot be stressed strongly enough – those below the line cannot save themselves from involuntary furlough by bidding voluntary furlough or for a Furlough Mitigation Partnership.
There is no guarantee that if you are below the line that bidding for a voluntary furlough will ensure your continued access to benefits. Further, there is no guarantee that involuntary furloughs will not occur. No one should be led to believe they are guaranteed a voluntary furlough or furlough mitigation partnership just because they bid for it. If you have additional questions, please review the E-lines article, Voluntary Furlough Rumors – Reality & Dispelling Some of the Urban Myths for additional information regarding COVID-19 recovery options.