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Special COLA Posting Clarified

Date: August 29, 2020

Last evening, a notice advising Flight Attendants of the availability of varying length Special COLAs was posted on the company’s website.  The timing of the release of this information in conjunction with the recently finalized voluntary and involuntary furlough periods understandably caused a reaction from many of us.

Today, following discussions with Inflight management, we have been told that the release of this information was premature and was subsequently corrected in a communication to Flight Attendants via CCS.  In the interest of transparent reporting, we must share with you that Inflight management has spoken to the MEC Officers about the steps that would become necessary in the event Congress passes an extension of the CARES Act after the award of the voluntary programs. 

As part of that planning, we understand that Special COLAs of varying lengths will be offered.  It is our understanding that the communication that was sent out in error and the automation for the 8- and 13-month Special COLAs reflected the contingency planning and automation preparation that was already underway in anticipation of obtaining an extension to the CARES Act.  We must also acknowledge that throughout this period of adversity, United management and AFA have worked collaboratively to address the many challenges, under continually changing circumstances, surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Planning continues and reflects the ongoing efforts to be prepared for the uncertainty that is our future.

As we all know and have been discussing throughout the bid period for voluntary furlough and Furlough Mitigation Partnerships, in the event the CARES Act is extended, all of the voluntary & involuntary programs go away.  Should that occur, it will be necessary for all of us to pivot quickly and in the opposite direction using COLAs to obtain the manpower adjustments sought by management and the time away from work sought by Flight Attendants under those circumstances.   Management had begun the preparations to ensure a bidding option for 8- and 13- month Special COLA option would be immediately available.

In addition, Network Planning has continued to provide information to Crew Schedule Planning that suggests the demand for travel in the immediate future continues to decline.  As a result, management has revised manpower planning forecasts to reflect and additional reduction in Flight Attendants beyond the reduction reached through the furlough process.  As a result, the company is now looking for additional Flight Attendants to take time away from work for the October, November and December timeframe and will offer 1-, 2- and 3-month Special COLAs.

Flight Attendants interested in 1-, 2- or 3-month Special COLAs should place bids on file now.  Bids close September 4, 2020, subject to change.

Eight (8) and thirteen (13) month Special COLAs will only be offered in the event the CARES Act is extended.  While the 8- and 13-month durations are available for preference, these Special COLA periods will only be awarded if the CARES Act is extended.  Should the CARES Act be extended, there will be a separate bid period advertised for the 8- and 13- month Special COLAs and adequate time will be allotted to submit a bid.

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