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E-Lines: June 11, 2021

Date: June 11, 2021

United Announces No Plans for Furloughs Upon Expiration of Payroll Support Program

We received great news today from United Airlines.  There are no plans for furlough following the expiration of the current Payroll Support Program funding in September 2021!  This is a great relief for so many of us and we’re all incredibly grateful to have reached this point in the recovery of the industry and our airline.  In response to today’s announcement, the following statement was released from our AFA International Office:

“This announcement makes it clear: the Payroll Support Program (PSP) worked.

“In every previous crisis where airlines took major losses, workers and passengers paid the price. Airlines cut jobs, pay and benefits for workers, while bankruptcies and consolidation meant more fees and less options for passengers. 

“We proposed the PSP to keep workers whole AND to keep our industry solvent and ready to fly. Simply put, PSP delivered. Aviation workers received a steady check, healthcare, and benefits through the pandemic without adding more workers to over-taxed unemployment systems. Airlines were able to stem the bleeding and avoid catastrophic losses while continuing to provide essential service to move critical personnel and materials from PPE to vaccines.

“If it wasn't for our union, the Flight Attendants who were furloughed on October 1, 2020 when Congress failed to act, wouldn't have gotten furlough pay or continued healthcare and the right to return to work without any loss of seniority or other benefits. We got everyone back on the payroll as of December 1, 2020 and with all benefits restored as if never furloughed. 

“And on top of it all, our workers-first program capped executive compensation and banned stock buybacks and dividends for two years after the relief period ends. You won’t see an airline CEO on those lists making more while people suffer in the middle of this crisis.  

“This program should serve as a model for the future. Now that we’re on our way out of the worst crisis in aviation history, we look forward to building a just recovery that respects the contributions of all the workers who keep us flying high.”

 

Vaccination Letter of Agreement – Deadline to Upload Vaccination Documentation

As required by the terms of the Vaccination Letter of Agreement, Flight Attendants must upload their CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, or the equivalent documentation for approved vaccines received in another country, to the Company’s website.

For active Flight Attendants, within fourteen (14) days of the signing of this Letter of Agreement for Flight Attendants already inoculated (by June 17, 2021) or within seven (7) days of receiving each dose of the vaccine.

For Flight Attendants on leaves of absence, within fourteen days (14) of their return to active status if they are already inoculated or within seven (7) days of receiving each dose of the vaccine.

Please contact your Local Council Office if you have additional questions.

 

Safety Reminders as We Return to the Cabin

Over the course of the past fifteen months or so, we’ve all experienced a great deal of change brought about by the pandemic.  As we implemented processes to keep us and the passengers in our care safe and as well insulated from the COVID-19 virus as possible through the revised processes and procedures, our focus has become slightly altered.

As we return to full cabins, we must retain that focus and heighten our awareness of how much we rely on each other and the value of teamwork in operating each flight to which we are assigned, safely.  As Safety Professionals, each of has a role and each of us must do our part, every flight, every day, especially in those duties we might consider to be routine.  Routine duties are structured in a way that ensures we are meeting regulatory requirements in all that we do in order to ensure the safety of flight on every flight.

These routine duties or tasks include but are not limited to: reporting for duty with required duty items, attending briefings, completing safety checks with our own up to date personal LINK device, completing passenger briefings including those for special needs passengers, securing the cabin and completing compliance checks for take-off and landing, seatbelt compliance checks and making any accompanying PA announcements, as needed, to encourage compliance as well as the locking of lavatories, when required, cabin sweeps and the completion of all required reporting.

Each of these responsibilities are directly attached to a regulatory compliance requirement. Situational awareness, including observing passengers in the cabin, as well as walking through using our other senses to hear, see and smell to get a full sense of what is happening during the course of the flight are but a few examples.  Working together as a professional crew is vital to the safe operation of the flight and each of shares in this comprehensive responsibility. Taking on the enormity of the task individually would be overwhelming.  However, when each of us fulfills our unique and dedicated role, many hands make light work and many observations makes for a better, more comprehensive picture.

In the course of meeting these responsibilities, should you encounter anything that prohibits or in any way restricts you from completing these duties, a voluntary ISAP report should be filed to ensure the safety concerns can be addressed. Your Local Council Safety Committee is always available to assist you with any questions you may have.

 

Drug and Alcohol Testing is a Regulatory Requirement While on Duty

It has been determined by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that Flight Attendants perform safety-sensitive functions and are, therefore, subject to random drug and alcohol testing that is required under DOT regulations.

All of us are aware of the process by which we are notified we’ve been selected for random testing when we are met at the door of the aircraft on arrival and delivered the notice by a badged United employee who is responsible for administering this testing under the law.

What we may be less familiar with is the fact that this random drug testing may occur anytime while on duty and this includes while we are at the company Training Centers in EWR, ORD, DEN, IAH, SFO & GUM.  (Note:  The training center at LHR is not part of this initiative as the LHR training center is not governed by DOT regulations.)

Only recently have Flight Attendants attending training been subject to this testing requirement.

Those responsible for conducting this random training will advise the Training Manager/Assistance Manager if any Flight Attendant attending training on a given date at their location have been randomly selected.  Randomly selected Flight Attendants will not be alerted until the last break of the day.

Tests will be conducted at the end of the day by a certified tester who will be dispatched to the Training Center.  Testing will be conducted in a dedicated location conducive for the test.

In addition, the FAST team will be notified and prepared to make any modifications to training pairings impacted by the drug testing.

This is a federally mandated program with which you must comply.  You may not refuse to be tested and are expected to fully comply with any directive to be tested as outlined in our eFAOM page 5.37.2 – Alcohol & Drug Testing.

 

Obtaining PRC Visas Required for Travel to China

We have been monitoring reports from Flight Attendants attempting to secure the PRC Visa required to travel to China.  Currently, the only domicile assigned flying to China is SFO.  The requirement to obtain the PRC visa at all other locations that have historically flown to China has been suspended until further notice from management.

Based on unique circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a delay in processing PRC visa requests.  These circumstances are not exclusive to United Airlines. 

Until such time as the reasons for these delays have been addressed, it is recommended by United’s Regulatory Affairs Department, any crew member having a Chinese visa application on file should return to the consulate/embassy to withdraw their application and secure the return of their passport.

 

Line Operations Safety Assessment (LOSA) Program versus Service Line Checks

MEC Safety Health and Security Committee

In recent days we’ve fielded a number of questions suggesting there is some confusion about the differences between the Line Operations Safety Assessment (LOSA) program and the Service Line Check Program both of which have recently been promoted through Inflight communications.  While the objectives of these programs are accomplished through observations, that’s where the similarities end.

The LOSA program, developed jointly by AFA, ALPA and management, collects safety data exclusively.  LOSA observations are confidential, non-punitive, anonymous and voluntary.

The Service Line Check Program, on the other hand, is company directed and focuses entirely on collecting service data.  The Service Line Check program was developed without Union involvement and has been implemented solely by management.

As with LOSA, the Service Line Check program is non-punitive.  However, unlike LOSA, the Service Line Check is not voluntary and is not conducted by peers.

Most importantly, Flight Attendants should know, as designed, a LOSA and a Service Line Check should never occur on the same flight segment.  If this happens, please advise the LOSA observer for resolution.

International SOS Medical Assistance

MEC Safety Health and Security Committee

United Airlines has a contract with International SOS to provide security and medical assistance to its employees and crews in both emergency and non-emergency situations.

In the event of an illness or injury overseas, International SOS will arrange medical appointments with local third-party medical providers and will, as an agent for United airlines, guarantee and pay all costs associated with a working crew member’s in-patient or out-patient care.  These services may also be available during personal travel to other employees, retirees, and dependents traveling overseas.  However, the coverage levels will vary and all costs are not guaranteed by the company for instances of personal travel.

You may contact International SOS using the International SOS Assistance App on your LINK or personal device.  The app is designed to provide you with a means to connect you with medical or security professionals who operate 24 hours a day in offices all over the world.  Changes to the updated app have been designed to improve the accuracy in locating and communicating with you.  We encourage you to log into the updated app to set up your profile so you are as well prepared as you can be in the event that you do need assistance as a place far from home.

As a reminder, consider carrying the International SOS card with United’s unique corporate ID number when travelling internationally for those instances when you are on layover and do not have your LINK or other personal device in your possession should the need arise.

Links:

Print a new International SOS card

View FAQ about MedAire/ International SOS

The Stonewall Uprising – Origin of Modern LGBTQ+ Rights Movement & Pride Month

Pride Month traces its origins to the first anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising began as a series of events between police and LGBTQ+ protesters that stretched over six days and became a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.

In 1969, the Stonewall Inn, located on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, was one of the most popular gay bars in New York City.  Throughout New York state, it was illegal to serve alcohol to a gay person until 1966 and in 1969 homosexuality was still considered a criminal offense. There were also laws at that time prohibiting wearing “gender inappropriate” clothing.

As part of a pattern of harassment of LGBTQ+ establishments, the New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn in the early hours of Saturday, June 28, 1969.  However, this time the reaction of the bar’s patrons and neighborhood residents that assembled in the street was not typical. Instead of dispersing, the crowd became increasingly angry and began chanting and throwing objects as the police arrested the bar’s employees and patrons.  Reinforcements were called in by the police, and for several hours they tried to clear the streets while the crowd fought back.

The initial raid and the riot that ensued led to six days of demonstrations and conflicts with law enforcement outside the bar, in nearby Christopher Park, and along neighboring streets.  At its peak, the crowds included several thousand people.

The events of the Stonewall Uprising marked a major change in the struggle for gay rights in the U.S. with lesbian women, gay men, bisexual and transgender people beginning to vocally and assertively demand their civil rights.  Stonewall is regarded by many as the single most important catalyst for the dramatic expansion of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement.  The Stonewall Uprising inspired the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters throughout the country to organize, and within two years of the riots, LGBTQ+ rights groups had been started in nearly every major city in the U.S.

A Pride March was held on June 28, 1970 on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.  The March intended to give the community a chance to gather together to “commemorate the Christopher Street Uprisings of last summer in which thousands of homosexuals went to the streets to demonstrate against centuries of abuse...from government hostility to employment to housing discrimination…and anti-homosexual laws.”  Since that first Stonewall anniversary march, LGBTQ+ people have continued to gather together in June to march with Pride.  Those marches and new vigor in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights culminated in an official declaration of Pride Month in 1999 by President Bill Clinton. Since that declaration, Pride Month continues to be recognized every year in June.  Today, the site of the Stonewall Uprising is recognized as a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.

 

Reminders and Quick Links

June – Pride Month
June 14 – Flag Day
June 19 – Juneteenth
June 20 – Father’s Day
June 25 - August One and Three-Month Special COLAs Submission Deadline

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