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Special E-Lines: August 15, 2020 MEC President Letter

Date: August 15, 2020

Aug 15, 2020, MEC President Letter


Letter of Agreement

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The harsh realities of an aviation industry in crisis are continuing to hit home.  The unprecedented downturn in passenger demand arising from a global economic and health crisis has hit us particularly hard. 

As you know, on July 8th management announced their decision to reduce Flight Attendant headcount by 15,100.  This is an extraordinary measure both in terms of numbers and as a percentage of our overall Flight Attendant population.  The impact on the people being involuntarily furloughed will be devastating and for those who would remain there will be severe changes associated with the loss of flying and the seniority shift which occurs as a result of so many junior Flight Attendants losing their jobs.

Since the start of this crisis, we worked to ensure the Company has availed themselves of a wide variety of Contractual measures designed to address the downturn in the industry and reduced available flying.  Lower line averages, increased discretionary time off through Personal Drops, Special Company Offered Leaves of Absences, Voluntary Separation Programs (VSP1 & VSP2), Voluntary Furloughs and Furlough Mitigation Partnerships have helped reduce headcounts through voluntary programs, but still have left many vulnerable to losing their jobs and health care benefits during the worst health crisis ever.  Despite these voluntary programs it is expected nearly 11,559 Flight Attendants are still at risk of losing their jobs.

Your input was vital to ensure any decisions going forward best met the goals of our entire Flight Attendant workgroup.  With that in mind we engaged the Company in a series of discussions to create an additional measure of protection to meet the goals of:

  • Mitigating the number of Flight Attendants subject to Involuntary Furlough
  • Saving Jobs
  • Keeping Members Employed and Connected to their Benefits
  • No Concessions

Should Congress act to extend the Payroll Support Program for aviation workers, this Involuntary Furlough Mitigation Program would no longer be needed. Management and AFA would then meet to discuss next steps on other Special Company Offered Leaves of Absences similar to those offered over the last five months.

In the event that does not occur, we have reached a Letter of Agreement on an Involuntary Furlough Mitigation Program (IVFMP) that was unanimously adopted by the United Master Executive Council.  This program follows after all other voluntary programs have been completed. 

The IVFMP provides a onetime voluntary opportunity to remain active and connected to United benefits in lieu of being placed on involuntary furlough.  While it was our objective to create a program that protects all of our most junior Flight Attendants, due to the unprecedented size and scope of the headcount reduction, eligibility for the IVFMP is limited to those senior to the most junior 5,500 Flight Attendants subject to involuntary furlough.  The Letter of Agreement and additional information about the program are available on our website.

The program is innovative and contains significant protections, not otherwise available, including:

  • Bidding seniority accrual for those on involuntary furlough and in the IVFMP
  • Awarding of all Voluntary Furlough requests on file for those senior to the most junior 5,500 Flight Attendants who would otherwise have been subject to involuntary furlough; that is awarding a number of voluntary furloughs greater than the Contractually required number of awards.
  • Retaining all active benefits for those who choose the IVFMP
  • A commitment from the Company to not contest unemployment claims

For those eligible for the IVFMP, we encourage you to read the Involuntary Furlough Mitigation Letter of Agreement and the additional information posted on our website.  We encourage you to carefully consider your options and if this program is right for you in lieu of involuntary furlough.

Over the past several months we have advocated for measures that will, to the extent possible, minimize the impact on everyone, especially our most junior Members faced with losing their employment during the worst financial and health crisis in American history.  We will continue our advocacy as we navigate through these unprecedented times - always keeping you at the forefront of everything we do.

Please stay connected and up-to-date with the most accurate and latest information by subscribing to E-Lines and visiting the United MEC Website at www.unitedafa.org. Thank you for your continued professionalism during this incredibly challenging time. 

In Solidarity,

The Officers of the United Master Executive Council


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