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MEC Officer Furlough Response Announcement

Date: January 29, 2021

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

John Slater today has announced that WARN letters will be sent out to begin the process of reducing the Flight Attendant population effective April 1, 2021.  Management has informed us they need to reduce our work group population by 12,000 Flight Attendants and that those junior to and including those having a system seniority number of 11,393, with a seniority date of September 2, 1998 or junior are subject to involuntary furlough.

While sobering news, it was anticipated.  And, despite the fact that we communicated extensively with you in the past several weeks about the outcome, it comes as a shock nonetheless.  While John Slater’s communication talks about the pandemic not being over and demand not increasing between now and April 1st, where our opinion differs is that this summer has the potential for marked increases in demand.  Traditional summer booking data and the albeit slow, but continual roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution form the basis of our opinion of the unknown.  Both combine to promise better, if not great, days ahead.

We are all very familiar with the process ahead of us, and we’ll outline those details in our communications.  Voluntary furlough as outlined in Section 18 will be offered in durations of 11 and 13 months, ending on March 1, 2022 and April 30, 2022, respectively. Once awarded, Furlough Mitigation Partnerships (FMP) will also be awarded to further mitigate the need for involuntary furloughs. 

Our AFA Membership Survey closes tomorrow and that will provide your Union leadership with perspective to make choices about any potential additional steps.  We will be extending the close of the survey period until midnight on Saturday, January 30, 2021.  If you have not yet taken the survey, or today’s announcement changes your response, we encourage you to reach out directly to your Local Council.  As we’ve repeatedly said, the survey is only one means of providing feedback, calling, emailing and attending your Local Council meetings are all equally valuable ways to engage in the discussion.

From past experience we know that the best way through this, is to not go through it at all.  Today our union, in partnership with APFA, is launching a new campaign to extend the Payroll Support Program (PSP) through September of 2021.  This outcome keeps every single employee in the industry connected to their job, benefits and careers – it is clearly the best path forward.  Make no mistake, while the new Washington leadership is more labor friendly, it is far from a certainty that we will just automatically get financial support.  We are going to have to work for it, and fight with everything we’ve got.

Over the course of the next several days, there are going to be a number of deadlines coming at us, rapid fire, and information to process.  Please stay connected through www.unitedafa.org for the most current, up to date information and let’s all make a renewed commitment to avoid rumor and speculation.   

In Solidarity,

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