United MEC President Letter - July 8, 2022
July 8, 2022
United Master Executive Council President Letter-
July 8, 2022
For several months now, we have been pressing management to address the issue of long wait times to reach Crew Scheduling and FAST to conduct routine tasks. On top of so many other issues that have not been satisfactorily resolved and reflective of Good Leads the Way, this appeared to be the one issue where Flight Attendants had finally had enough with the mismanagement.
On Friday, June 10th, management approached us, interested in identifying solutions to address the long hold times. The proposed solutions focused on making modifications to Section 7.Q.1. and 7.Q.3. of our Contract (Loss of Flight Time), as well as changes to how Flight Attendants would process position trades, on a temporary basis for a period of 90-days.
Overall, the company proposed driving Flight Attendants to CCS to await notification from the company rather than the Flight Attendant contacting Scheduling or Scheduling contacting them as required by the Contract in certain instances. In other words, Flight Attendants would wait for pairing modifications or notifications from Scheduling through CCS rather than contacting the company directly.
On June 21st, the United Master Executive Council convened a Conference Call to review the proposed Letter of Agreement. After lengthy discussion, the MEC determined we could not agree to the proposed terms, in large part, because we do not believe it resolves the call wait time issues and only amounts to a series of contractual concessions.
We notified the company of this decision and counter-proposed a list of items for discussion to include adding or fixing automation, implementation of new practices/procedures, and establishing mutual understandings to reduce call volumes that will benefit United Flight Attendants during this period of operational difficulty. These include:
Adding/Fix Existing Automation
- Automate calling off sick leave
- Automate Reserve block-in
- Automate trade reversal/pick-ups within one hour of original transaction
- Automate trading of positions to allow for trades up to check-in time of the flight
- Fix the automatic call back function so that the auto call back to the Flight Attendant does not occur until such time as a scheduler is available to take the call or there is less than a five (5) minute interval for the call to be answered by Scheduling personnel.
Implement New Practices/Procedures
- Reserve Flight Attendants eligible to be second assigned or those eligible for reassignment will be automatically released 1:14 prior to the end of their maximum actual duty period and will not be required to make positive contact with Crew Scheduling.
- Extend Flight Attendant Duty Time for all periods on hold until released by Scheduling or auto release is applied at 1:14 prior to the end of the maximum actual duty period to ensure adequate rest and compliance with all FARs.
We subsequently met with the company on June 29th and 30th to discuss our proposed solutions. Ultimately no agreement was reached.
In the company’s final proposal:
- Under Section 7.Q.1. (Loss of Flight Time – Notice on same calendar day as departure), the company would have six hours to provide the Flight Attendant with a replacement pairing instead of four; that’s two additional hours to find a replacement pairing. In short, the notification of loss of flight time would occur at the time of cancellation rather than when the Flight Attendant is actually notified and that they would have six hours from that point to provide a reassignment.
- Under Section 7.Q.3. (Loss of Flight Time – Notice of one or more calendar day), when the notice is of more than 5 calendar days, utilization of Help Hub would replace speaking to a Scheduler to request the options identified under 7.Q.3.a. through 7.Q.3.c. The company proposed they would have five days to respond to the Help Hub request and if no response was provided within the 5-day period, the Flight Attendant would receive RX days(s).
Simply put, we could not agree to provide the company with concessions to our Contract. We are in Contract Negotiations and while the company may not like all of the provisions of our Contract that drive calls to Scheduling, they agreed to them. It is management’s responsibility to properly staff their operation, including Crew Scheduling.
By agreeing to the company’s terms, Crew Scheduling would have potentially two additional hours to find a replacement pairing for a Flight Attendant under 7.Q.1., and Flight Attendants exercising their rights under 7.Q.3.a. and 7.Q.3.b. would potentially miss out on making up time with a pairing that is desirable to them while waiting for a response to their Help Hub case. Today, I notified management that we could not agree to the proposed terms.
On a related matter we launched on June 3, 2022, to an overwhelming response, our collective campaign to get management to Focus on Us! After only two weeks, more than 9,000 letters to John were generated. This response sends a clear message that United Flight Attendants demand action from management to meaningfully address issues affecting quality of life, working conditions, and morale. United Flight Attendants have clearly shown we are prepared to demonstrate our solidarity and will continue to show our solidarity and resolve to address these and any future issues.
This shining example of our solidarity is just the beginning of all we can accomplish. Flight Attendants are coming together towards a common, focused cause and this doesn’t end with letters to John, it starts with it. Through the power of solidarity, we are holding management accountable, and this is only the beginning.
The list of issues included in the letters generated to John are topics that we have been engaged in advocacy and attempts to identify solutions beneficial to Flight Attendants. We met with management on Wednesday, July 6th with the intent to revisit these topics and to deliver the letters. At this time, we do not have any further resolution to report.
We have a shared interest in the success of United as our industry recovers, however, management needs to remember, Flight Attendants were on the front line and an integral part of our airline even surviving the pandemic.
At our upcoming United MEC Meeting, the week of July 18th, the United MEC will discuss the steps necessary to launch the second phase of our Focus on Us! campaign, should we need to move in that direction.
We will continue to advocate for solutions to the long wait times and the issues that you have identified as being important. We are not just the face of the airline, we are UNITED.
Ken Diaz, President
United Master Executive Council