MEC President's Letter - August 7, 2020
August 7, 2020
Dear Flying Partners,
Over the past few months, the COVID 19 Pandemic has abruptly changed the airline industry. I commend our workgroup for remaining positive and standing in solidarity to work through the challenges we have collectively faced during this unprecedented time.
During yesterday’s Inflight Townhall live event there was a discussion about “partial salary continuance programs” for our workgroup. Management has stated they “remain open” to discussions however, there would have to be a “quid pro quo” to fund such a program. They are attempting to use the threat of job loss to call for concessions from the Flight Attendant workgroup. We will not enter concessionary discussions that hold our workgroup responsible to pay for these programs. We have presented options to the company that will help reduce labor costs without opening the contract to concessions. We have also presented ideas to mitigate the number the number of involuntary furloughs. We have contributed a significant amount of payroll relief through voluntary special COLAs which has provided the company hundreds of millions of dollars of relief in labor costs. Additionally, our goal during this crisis is to maintain all of the agreements in our current contract to uphold a progressive and safe work environment for our workgroup as well as within the greater aviation industry.
Currently, the only way to save our jobs is to lock in protections against involuntary furloughs with an extension of the CARES Act Payroll Support Program. COVID-19 relief has been extended in other sectors and more relief is necessary to stave off an economic depression with millions of evictions and other financial devastation. Extending our aviation relief is an important part of the package. We need Congress to act quickly to avoid massive layoffs within our airline and the entire industry.
Over the last six months, Flight Attendants and our industry have faced an unprecedented crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our fast mobilization in March led to the passage of the CARES Act, including the aviation Payroll Support Program (PSP) to stave off involuntary furloughs and “for the continuation of employee wages, salaries, and benefits” affecting 2.1 million workers across aviation. This critical legislation has kept our industry intact, our Flight Attendants and other workers connected to healthcare while maintaining service to the communities in which we live and work.
The virus continues to be a threat to our health, jobs, and industry. Domestic demand for air travel is not expected to return until well into 2021. Passenger travel is still only about 30% of what it was last year, while international travel is currently restricted and predicted to take years to recover. Without an extension of the Payroll Support Program, there will be thousands of United Flight Attendants and many more thousands of aviation workers who will lose their jobs on October 1.
Your calls and letters are working! This week, 16 Republicans in the Senate confirmed support for extending the Payroll Support Program joining Senate Democrats. Remember, a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives has already backed the extension.However, the bill is not done. We have to keep making calls! Please call twice a day (both Senators) every day. Click herefor Senate information and a sample script when calling your representative.
After you call, sign this letter to your Representative and Senators >
Your input is vital to ensure any decisions going forward best meet the goals of our entire Flight Attendant workgroup. Please stay connected and up-to-date with the most accurate and latest information by subscribing to E-Lines and visiting the MEC Website at www.unitedafa.org. Thank you for your continued professionalism during this incredibly challenging time.
Ken Diaz, President