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AFA Debrief May 18, 2023

Date: May 18, 2023

AFA Debrief – May 18, 2023

  •      1985 Pilot Strike
  •      MEC Annual Reserve Committee Training
  •      Self-Help 101
  •      Welcome Class 2312!
  •      Special COLA Awards June 2023

1985 Pilot Strike

The phrase "History repeats itself" is often accompanied by the saying "those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it." When we reflect on the labor movement in aviation, we highlight the solidarity between Flight Attendants and pilots. These two groups have consistently supported each other during industry challenges, attacks from management, global unrest, and lengthy contract negotiations.

Numerous instances demonstrate our unwavering support for one another, making it clear that an attack on one workgroup is an attack on all. One of the most notable displays of solidarity was the United Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) Strike of 1985.

United Pilots bravely fought against a powerful assault on their profession by a multi-billion dollar corporation. This assault not only targeted the pilots but also aimed to force concessions from all other workgroups within the company.

"Despite record profits, management used inflated figures and a significant amount of misinformation to launch a public relations campaign against the pilot group." – Wooden Wings, Patrick Palazzolo

This aggressive anti-labor campaign was a reflection of the times when the odds seemed stacked against workers. Management resorted to despicable union-busting tactics, including hiring 570 strikebreakers with promises of future employment once a new contract was reached and false assurances of not having to cross a picket line. They even enticed these workers, also known as “scabs,” to work by offering a "re-bid seniority list."

The attack on ALPA was just one part of a broader scheme to crush and dissolve all on-property unions once and for all. However, the spirit of solidarity could not be broken or swayed by management's transparent divisive tactics. The United AFA Flight Attendants stood united with the pilots, recognizing that the pilot fight was our fight. A divided house cannot stand.

In 1985, the pilots remained steadfast in their resolve along with Flight Attendants that would not cross the picket line. Most of the 570 strikebreakers chose not to be used as pawns in management's game and instead stood with their union siblings to hold the line. Even after reaching a contract for the pilots, management attempted to turn the tables and undermine the Flight Attendants' contract in the "return to work agreement," expecting the pilots to break ranks and leave the Flight Attendants behind. However, ALPA had made a promise not to return to work without the Flight Attendants, and they were committed to honoring that pledge.

Solidarity is irreplaceable, and a unified unionized workgroup cannot be broken. The tactics and practices employed in 1985 still loom in the shadows of today's management. Those who fail to learn from history are bound to repeat it. We must not allow these practices to resurface and derail our vision for the future.

In solidarity, we stand ready to answer the call. No one will be left behind.


MEC Annual Reserve Committee Training

During the past week, the United Master Executive Council (MEC) Reserve Committee organized their annual Reserve Training held in Chicago. A total of 39 dedicated flying partners from various locations, including EWR, ORD, DEN, SFO, LAX, HNL, IAD, LAS, BOS, IAH, and GUM, participated in this two-day training session.

These volunteers underwent a comprehensive review of the committee's structure and responsibilities within their respective Local Councils. Their primary objective is to provide support to our newest Members, making them a crucial resource in the early stages of their career. By establishing a solid foundation, they contribute to a better understanding of the contractual protections that will accompany them throughout their professional journey.

Each and every Member holds a significant role within our Union. We extend our sincere appreciation to these AFA volunteers who willingly devoted their personal time to serve our Members and our Union. Their dedication to advocating for and supporting the Members of their Local Council is highly valued.

We are continuously seeking talented and passionate individuals within our Union. If you are interested in volunteering for any of your Local Committees or simply wish to learn more about getting involved, we encourage you to reach out to your local council today!


Hotel and Transportation Self-Help 101

In instances where irregular operations or overbooking issues arise at contracted hotel properties, it is crucial to leverage the negotiated contractual provisions that safeguard and empower Flight Attendants in the operation.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you do not have access to a hotel room due to availability problems at the property or disruptions caused by irregular operations that affect your originally scheduled layover, rest assured that you are covered.

Our Contract explicitly outlines the necessary steps to be taken after waiting for a reasonable amount of time. This process starts with arranging transportation and ensuring that you are appropriately accommodated.

Beginning with transportation:

  • Transportation: Section 5.D.4. of our Contract requires layover hotel-operated transportation to be available to pick-up Flight Attendants within 35 minutes of block arrival.
  • In those circumstances where transportation is contracted independently (“public limousine service” – in other words not a hotel van), the cut-off time is 45 minutes after block arrival
  • If these wait times are exceeded, Flight Attendants may use other means of transportation to the place of lodging, i.e., self-help, and seek reimbursement.



If, because of irregular operations, you arrive in a city where a hotel was not planned but becomes necessary after trying to reach the Hotel Desk, you may find yourself needing to use these Self-Help procedures to secure a hotel room for the night.

  • Additionally, Section 5.B.5. states if you arrive at a layover hotel and your room is not ready within 30 minutes after arrival you may use Self-Help and obtain other accommodations. 
  • There are certainly other times you may also use Self-Help such as: no hot or cold water, no power, no heat or air conditioning, broken door locks, bugs, or vermin of any kind in your room, no food availability whatsoever, noise that prohibits legal rest or any situation that threatens your safety or well-being. 


If you encounter these or similar issues, take the following action to correct your experience: 

  • Calmly attempt to resolve the issue with the people providing the services – the hotel or transportation company. Always ask to speak to a manager on duty.
  • If this fails to fix the problem, call the Hotel Desk (Crew Accommodations), and ask for their assistance. 
  • If you do not get resolution to your situation through these two avenues, go to another hotel and take a taxi, if necessary
  • Ensure that you have the names of the hotel and company representatives with whom you’ve spoken.  Get receipts for all your expenses and submit a company expense report for reimbursement.

Once you have settled into a different hotel, it is important to contact Crew Scheduling and inform them of your current location. Keep in mind that the Hotel Desk is not the same as Crew Scheduling.

Do not hesitate to act in your own best interests. United is responsible for ensuring our safety during layovers. If they fail to respond, take the necessary steps to take care of yourself. If any of your fellow crew members are facing difficulties and do not have the means, such as cash or a credit card, to handle the situation, lend a helping hand if you can.

If possible, once you have checked into the new hotel, try contacting the Hotel Desk before checking out from the previous hotel. Request that United covers the hotel charges to avoid the need for reimbursement.

If you are unable to do so, make sure to file the appropriate expense report (Concur®) and attach the necessary receipts for reimbursement upon your return from the trip.

In the long run, it is more cost-effective for United to adequately plan for the correct number of hotel rooms rather than having to reimburse us for hotel costs incurred at market rates, which tend to be higher during peak seasons. While we should not have to manage this aspect of our job ourselves, we do have the capability to do so when management fails to provide for us or when irregular operations give rise to unforeseen circumstances.

We kindly request that you bring any problems to the attention of our Union by reporting them. Our AFA MEC Hotel and Transportation Committee meets regularly with the United Crew Accommodations Department to address issues and work towards positive resolutions.

Documenting and tracking problems through our Hotel Reporting Form strengthens our advocacy efforts. Help us help you by filing a report every time you encounter a problem or, conversely, have a positive experience.  For more information, please contact your Local Council.

Welcome Class 2312!

We are excited to welcome our newest flying partners from class 2312 as part of our Flight Attendant community. Our newest flying partners will begin their careers in DEN, SFO and IAD.

We encourage you to welcome each of them as they begin this journey. We know you will help them learn from your experience and get them started on a path to success and adventure in their new career.

Please remember, our newest Members are on probation. To ensure that they are receiving the most accurate and up-to-date information to support them, be sure to direct them to their Local Council for assistance on Contractual issues.

If you are interested in supporting our newest Members, the AFA Buddy Program is for you! We are looking for Members to become an AFA Buddy at their Local Council. You will be given all the support and guidance to help new hires find their footing during probation. Reach out to your Local Council and become a Buddy today!

Special COLA Awards June 2023

A total of 771 Special COLAs have been awarded for the June 2023 Flight Attendant schedule month. Details, of the number of Special COLAs awarded, by base are as follows:








































These are the initial Special COLA awards. Flight Attendants awarded the June Special COLA will be required to complete any overlapping assignments from May into the June bid month.  


For additional information, please refer to the June 2023 Special COLA packet.


MAY – Mental Health Awareness Month
MAY – Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
MAY – Jewish American Heritage Month

MAY 08 – 26 – AFA Annual Supplemental Benefits Open Enrollment
MAY 29 – U.S. Memorial Day


<<<<<<FULL BRIEF>>>>>>


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