E-Lines: February 12, 2021
February 12, 2021
We are asking everyone to get onboard with securing a Payroll Support Program (PSP) extension from Congress. This is not anything new that we are asking you to do, but we do need to step up our game and make a bigger impact.
We know you may be tired of calling. You may feel “what’s the point?” But we cannot rely on others to do the work for us unless we are also willing to accept the result of failure. We cannot, we must not fail, because the alternative could be thousands, or tens of thousands, of us out on the street – without a paycheck, without benefits and away from a profession we all love.
But in the big picture of things look at the effort vs the reward. If each of us calls and emails twice a day, every single day; that is 45,000 contacts per day!
To look at it in a broader sense, if it is only all the United Flight Attendants calling twice a day, every day for a month, that is 1.35 MILLION calls and emails: that is an enormous impact.
But wait, yes, there is more, and it is not a bamboo steamer; if each of us gets 4 more people to call with us, that is 225,000 calls and emails a day or 6,750,000 EACH MONTH.
Every person you can get to call helps:
- Siblings / Children
- Parents / Grandparents
- Neighbors / Friends / Roommates
These numbers are only the ones associated with our direct efforts. They do not include Flight Attendants at other airlines, other airline workgroups and their families. Imagine if we could get 10 MILLION calls to Congress in a single month. That would have a profound impact.
Pie in the sky? We should always choose optimism over dejection, and honestly, what is the alternative? This is our best option, and one in which we agree with United management, our flying partners at other carriers and other industry management.
We have talked about a Flight Attendant family, well this is our big, “to be reckoned with” extended family with whom we are working – so imagine the impact we can make if we settle in for the long-game and each of us makes the commitment to do the work and push as hard as we can. Honestly, the only thing we must lose is less than 5 minutes a day.
We have not only the ability but the power to pull this off. If successful, our pay, benefits and most importantly our careers and industry are protected – no furloughs, no mitigation programs, no unemployment, combined with the ability to take time off through SPCOLA programs. It really is the best, of the best.
If that is not worth sacrificing a few minutes each day for, then what is? If not for ourselves if we are above the line, then for a junior flying partner. If not for just our airline, but for our friends at American, Delta, Southwest and everywhere. If not just for the Flight Attendants, then for the customer service, ramp, and ground workers, as well as every single person tied to our industry who depends on us to fly.
While we are an unimaginably diverse group of people, United Flight Attendants, the core values we all share is our empathy and compassion. Some of us may need to reach deeper than others, but we must all be willing to step up, and do what it takes to create a solid bridge to a secure future we can rely on.
TAKE ACTION: Call, Write Congress
"Hello, I am a constituent calling to ask [Representative] /[Senator] to help save my job as an essential worker. Pass COVID Relief and extend the Payroll Support Program for essential aviation workers through September 2021. Keep us connected to our jobs, our paychecks, and our healthcare. Thank you for your urgent attention to this."
Write Congress to #ExtendPSP >
Make an Impact: PSP
We have a mission. It will require our collective commitment and each of us is being asked to do our part to #ExtendPSP through September 2021. As we all know, nothing accomplishes getting our message across like a good story, and that shared experience helps make our point to our listeners. And, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. We want Congress to understand why an extension of the Payroll Support Program (PSP) is so vitally important to each of us, our airline, and our success.
To this end, take a picture of yourself, preferably in uniform illustrating how you are helping to support our collective efforts to obtain an extension to the PSP. It can be a picture of you on the phone making your call to Congress, it can be you with your family members, showing what is at stake, or it can be an image of our collective -that is, with you standing together with our Customer Service and Pilot and other United colleagues. Include a one paragraph statement that states why an extension to the PSP is a priority for you or how you recruited others to make calls on our behalf.
An ideal picture would be you at work, in full uniform and mask compliant. An alternative could be outside of work, in a private setting, where uniform or mask inclusion are not necessary. Make sure your AFA pin is visible!
Please email your photo and testimonial to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with your name and base, to be featured in an upcoming edition of E-Lines and our website (only your first name will be used). We encourage as many as possible to participate in this effort to help in successfully accomplishing a PSP extension outcome that benefits us all.
737 MAX Returns to Service
This past fall, United announced that the return of the Boeing 737 MAX to service would occur in the first quarter of 2021. The first United 737 MAX flight was Flight 1864 from DEN to IAH in the morning of February 11, 2021. United also recently announced that on its first day back in service, the 737 MAX aircraft will fly between DEN and IAH, RSW, MCO, LAS, and SMF. Other routes include flights from IAH and DEN to MCO, ORD, FLL, PHX, LAX, LAS, and EWR.
United plans to reassure the public and crew members the plane is safe to fly. Rebooking procedures for those who might elect not to fly on the aircraft remain unrefined for passengers. United claims the fleet has completed more than 1,000 hours of work on every aircraft, including FAA-mandated changes to the flight software, additional pilot training, multiple flight testing and meticulous technical analysis to ensure these planes are ready to fly. In addition, United seeks to reassure crew members that Gol, American Airlines and Aero Mexico have been operating passenger flights with the 737 MAX since last month.
Going forward, passengers will receive a communication from United at least seven (7) days before their departure for awareness, and to offer the flexibility to rebook to another flight or cancel their reservation. Keeping in mind that some passengers may decide to rebook to a different aircraft once they have already checked-in at the airport. In this case and if you are asked, please refer the passenger to Customer Service.
Our AFA Safety, Health and Security committee will continue to monitor and address our concerns as they come up regarding the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. For more information, please visit the 737 MAX (ual.com) website.
Training Requirements for SCOLA
With the enactment of the PSP extension and Flight Attendants returned to the line in February, United offered SCOLA for February and March to reduce staffing. As a part of that, Training Scheduling ultimately stated that anyone requiring training would have the ability to defer should they be awarded a leave.
In a more recent update, United advises Flight Attendants that their initial plan can no longer stand and must be revised. There is a concern about the ability to manage the operational needs of the airline for the April Schedule given the training liability.
As of now the Training Department is not able to allow any additional Flight Attendants on SCOLA to defer their FAA required training. Members should be aware the company will be working to schedule dates for anyone not currently scheduled and will be notified by Training Scheduling which will include a follow-up e-mail. Flight Attendants should expect to receive a seven (7) day notice of their upcoming training assignment.
Per Diem Statements
Per diem reports are available via My Info on the Flying Together Website. Contact the Payroll Care Center if you are unable to access your personalized Per Diem report thru Help Hub.
Medical Tax Form 1095
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) US law requires us to be adequately insured during the year. Form 1095 Medical Tax form is required to complete and file your taxes, as the form provides proof that you had medical coverage. If you did not carry medical coverage, you could face tax penalties.
Who will receive this form?
You will receive Form 1095 if, for at least one day in the last calendar year, you were any of the following:
- A full-time employee of an employer with more than 50 full-time employees
- A part-time employee who was enrolled in medical coverage
- An individual with COBRA coverage
- A retiree or dependent of a retiree under the age of 65 who was enrolled in medical coverage
Watch for the forms to arrive by mail, in their own envelope, separate from other tax forms. If you would like to receive form 1095 electronically visit flying together, employee services, benefits and click on the tile medical tax forms 1095C located on the bottom of the page.
Once you have accessed the information, click on Choose Electronic Notification for Immediate Access to Your Form 1095, located on the top right corner of the page. Make sure to obtain a copy of your 1095 tax document for your record.
Holiday Bonus Point Reflected in Work History Record
Flight Attendants who met the criteria to receive the Holiday Bonus Point can now view that entry recording the extra point in their Work History Record in CCS.
The one-point credit will offset the first point-generating occurrence. There is no expiration date for the one-point credit and will continue to accumulate each year if not used. We encourage you to review your work history to ensure you have been properly credited for this year’s period of holiday service. While checking on this year’s point balance, we recommend that you also review previous year’s credit to ensure you can account for all the attendance points to which you are entitled.
Healthy Airport Ordinance Update
Last month United let us know of an opportunity to move into the Kaiser Northern California Option B medical plan through a special enrollment opportunity going on now to make this change.
United has recently received new guidance from the city of San Francisco which outlines who is covered by the amended Healthy Airport Ordinance (HAO). This new guidance clarifies that Flight Attendants and Pilots are not included as employees subject to this ordinance. Said another way, United indicates it is not required to provide this free coverage.
However, United plans to continue to provide the option to enroll in this free coverage by enrolling in the Kaiser Northern California Option B medical plan for 2021. However, United stresses that the cost for the Kaiser plan may not be free in 2022.
United will be extending this special enrollment opportunity (which is currently open) until February 26. If you wish to move to this plan, you can do so on Your Benefits Resources (YBR) until February 26. If you don't need to make any changes, no action is required.
Black History Month – Honoring the World’s First Black Flight Attendant
The Association of Flight Attendants, in honor of Black History month, pays special tribute to the World’s First Black Flight Attendant, Léopoldine Douala-Bell Smith.
She was born in Cameroon and was a princess of the royal Douala family. Smith began her career early attending ground hostess training for Air France after graduating from High School in 1956. She then moved on to UAT for Flight training and became a stewardess 1957. Her career continued and she joined the newly founded Air Afrique as the only qualified African in French aviation. At the young age of 17, Léopoldine Doualla-Bell Smith took her first flight as the world’s first black Flight Attendant. She had no idea that first flight – as terrifying as it seemed – would mark the beginning of an illustrious aviation industry career that would ultimately span nearly five decades and earn the honorable distinction of being known as one of the world’s first black Flight Attendants.
Her success was not an easy path she was frequently treated like and outcast by white passengers and was the victim of sexual harassment while working.
She became Air Afrique’s first cabin chief, and after twelve years Smith left Air Afrique to become a manager for a travel agency before coming to the United States to study English at George Town University. There she met her husband Leroy Smith. The two embarked on a life of adventure eventually bringing them to Denver where they founded the Business and Intercultural Services for Educational Travel and Associated Learning (BISETAL) encouraging education on Africa and other non-western cultures.
In March of 2015 Smith was honored at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Black Flight Attendants of America at Los Angeles International Airport’s Flight Path Museum. She, along with countless others have paved the way to equality and equity in aviation. We are grateful for her service to the aviation community.
Reminder and Quick Links
February 16 – VSL Program Closes
February 16 – March SPCOLA Closes
February 22 – Voluntary Furlough Bids Close
February 23 – Voluntary Furlough Awarded
February 24 – Furlough Mitigation Partnership Bids Close and Awarded
February 26 – Notification of Involuntary Furloughs