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AFA Debrief: February 14, 2023

Date: February 14, 2023

AFA Debrief – Friday, February 14, 2023

  • We’ve Got a Pin for That
  • Celebrating Ruth Carol Taylor
  • Modification of Lump Sum Calculation for CARP (CRPR)
  • Group Universal Life (GUL) Coverage – An Overview
  • AFA Welcomes Class 2250!

We’ve Got a Pin for That

Membership Engagement

In pursuit of recognizing and celebrating the diversity of our Flight Attendants, AFA has a number of specialty pins. These AFA pins may be worn during the months they are recognized to show our pride in our heritage or support others who do.

To name just a few pins: Black Lives Matter, Asian American Pacific Islander, Pride and Hispanic-Latinx Heritage month. In February, the Black History Month & Black Lives Matter pins are available at your Local Council and may be worn this month.

Celebrating Ruth Carol Taylor

Making history, Ruth Carol Taylor became the first African American Flight Attendant in December 1957, at Mohawk Airlines. Growing up in Boston and then attending high school and college in New York, she graduated from Bellevue School of Nursing in 1955, and then pursued a career in nursing.

In 1957 she applied to Trans World Airlines (TWA) to be a Flight Attendant. She was rejected and filed a complaint against TWA with the NY state Commission of Discrimination, which did not result in any consequences for TWA. It did, however, begin raising awareness at other airlines who evaluated their discrimination polices and began a shift in the industry. Having awareness raised by Taylor through her complaint, more airlines began to consider African American’s.

In February 1958, she broke through the color barrier becoming the first African American Flight Attendant at Mohawk Airlines. She was hired as one, from a pool of 800 applicants, in a very competitive process. While being a nurse may have helped her reach her goals, planning to get married ultimately ended her career prematurely, falling subject to that discriminatory rule. She continued to fight for equality in other ways and co-founded the Institute for Inter-Racial Harmony and went on to publish a book reflecting on her brief time as a Flight Attendant.

Lump Sum Calculation Assumptions for CARP (CPRP)

MEC Benefits Committee

United’s standard method of projecting lump sum future values has always been done using the 60-month average of the corporate bond rates. This standard methodology to project lump sum future values has resulted in higher estimated lump sum benefits than will be calculated at the time of commencement.

CARP (CPRP) participants may have noticed that due to the recent market conditions and the unprecedented fluctuations in corporate bond rates and because corporate bond rates have been historically low, using the 60-month average will likely produce higher lump sum values than may actually be payable for retirements 7/1/2023 and later.

In order to address the impact of the changes occurring in the market, United consulted with their actuarial firm and has decided to change the methodology used to project future dated lump sums values in an effort to align the estimation with what will really be paid. United will change the calculation to use the greater of the average of the last 24-months interest rates or the latest published lump sum rate under the Plan. This change will be reflected in the estimator tool as of February 9, 2023. Additional information on this change is available on our website.

If you have questions about this change, please open a Help Hub case.

Group Universal Life (GUL) Coverage – An Overview

MEC Benefits Committee

Section 29.G. of our Contract establishes the requirement for Life Insurance for active and certain retired Flight Attendants as part of their total retirement package. The company provides $40,000 of Life Insurance to Active employees and $10,000 Retiree Life Insurance to pmUA Flight Attendants.

In addition, Group Universal Life Coverage (GUL) is to be offered to all eligible Flight Attendants which includes all new hire Flight Attendants and any Flight Attendant returning to active service from any Leave of Absence. Flight Attendants returning from any Leave of Absence will be auto-enrolled in coverage and notified by Securian of the 45-day window to decline coverage.

We currently have thousands of Members enrolled in our Contractually provided GUL insurance on a voluntary basis. Because this Contract life insurance is a group plan it has very reasonable premiums and is age banded.

We have received questions on the auto-enrollment feature, many asking why auto-enrollment is part of this negotiated benefit. From our perspective, the question is better asked from an alternate perspective; Why not have the “auto enroll “ program for AFA Members returning from any Leave of Absence, including COLAs?

The thought behind the “auto enroll” feature is to prevent Members from losing their coverage after returning from taking time off—be it for personal or medical reasons. At the same time, this provides an automatic opportunity for Members to obtain this benefit and provide for the security of their family. Most life insurance policies require physical examinations before reinstatement of coverage after taking time off. In this instance, the Contractual “auto-enroll” feature eliminates this requirement.

Members are enrolled in coverage at four times their annual salary where “salary” in this instance is defined as 85 hours multiplied by the Flight Attendant’s hourly rate of pay. This benefit is paid to your designated beneficiary in the event of your death.

Conversely, we have worked with management and Securian to allow Members to CANCEL/DECLINE this coverage online. Once you return to work you have 45 days to CANCEL/DECLINE coverage. All Members receive a letter from United and Securian once their LOA has ended and the letter provides instructions on your 3 options: increase coverage, decrease coverage or CANCEL/DECLINE coverage.

We encourage Members to review their pay advice monthly (“GUL – Post tax”) to determine if coverage is in place. We cannot stress enough; coverage is voluntary with the “auto enroll” feature occurring on employment or when returning from any Leave of Absence, including a COLA.

If you have additional questions, please contact your Local Council Benefits Committee.

AFA Welcomes Class 2250!

We are excited to welcome our newest flying partners from class 2250 as part of our Flight Attendant community. Our newest flying partners will begin their careers at bases in DEN, EWR, and IAH.

We encourage you to welcome each of them, help them learn from your experience, and get them started on a path to success and adventure in their new career.

Please remember that our newest Members are on probation. To ensure that they receive the most accurate information to support them, direct them to their AFA Local Council for assistance on Contractual issues.

And if you would like to become an AFA Buddy, reach out to your Local Council to learn how you can become part of this vital link to their success.


FEB – Black History Month
FEB 14 – Valentine’s Day
FEB 20 – U.S. President’s Day
FEB 28 – United’s Profit-Sharing Payout Date
MAR 12 – U.S. Change to Daylight Saving Time

MAR 26 – Europe Change to Daylight Saving Time



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