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Involuntary Furlough Letters – Clarifying to Avoid Confusion

Date: September 5, 2020

Involuntary Furlough letters have begun to arrive at the homes of our Members this past week. We are beginning to receive a number of questions in our Local Council and MEC Offices seeking clarification on the contents of the company’s communication.

We are receiving questions, specifically, about the second paragraph of the letter. In that paragraph, the company addresses the furlough protections of LOA #27 (No Furlough) and explains to Flight Attendants why, in their opinion, the present circumstances of the pandemic excuse the company from compliance with the terms of Letter of Agreement #27. 

In that same paragraph, the company goes on to explain that the employee will be placed on Involuntary Furlough status pursuant to Section 18 of our Contract. Involuntary Furlough pay is provided for based on the provisions of Section 18. In addition, page 12 of the company’s Involuntary Furlough Packetclearly advises employees that they are entitled to furlough pay. The following is an excerpt from that communication:

Furlough Pay

Section 18.H of the Agreement provides for your furlough pay (severance allowance). After completing one year of active Company service, you are eligible for furlough pay. Your pay will be determined by your Company seniority and shall be computed based on your Flight Attendant pay in accordance with Section 18.H.2 of the Agreement.

It will be paid on the same frequency as your regular paycheck was issued. For hourly rate purposes, the pay rate will be utilized based upon 71 hours for furlough pay. Regular tax deductions such as Federal, State, and Social Security/Medicare will be made along with any wage attachments, previous salary advances, and overpayments. There will not be any Flexible Spending Account or 401(k) Plan deductions. Furlough pay is not considered in the definition of earnings for United contributions to your 401(k) Plan account.

Additionally, in a follow-up discussion with Labor Relations, we have confirmed that the company has made no changes to the Involuntary Furlough pay plan outlined in the Involuntary Furlough Information Packet (page 12) and will do so consistent with the terms of Section 18 of the Contract.

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