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AFLAC Insurance Will Open March 17

http://www.unitedafa.org/images/news/2014/AFLAC_Larger_Opens.jpgYour United AFA MEC Benefits Committee is happy to announce that an open enrollment for voluntary insurance benefits will be available beginning Monday, March 17, 2014 through April 25, 2014. This offering will be through AFLAC/Continental American Insurance Company (CAIC), and our Members will be able to enroll online, or over the phone.

This enrollment will also allow United AFA Flight Attendants who are currently enrolled in these AFLAC/CAIC policies the ability to change coverage amounts if desired.

The program includes Short Term Disability, 24 Hour Accident, Lump Sum Critical Illness and Hospital Indemnity coverage. Eligibility requires that Members will have completed 90 days of employment and must be an active employee on the date they apply for coverage.
Insurance products that will be offered are:

· Short Term Disability - Guarantee Issue first $500 of monthly coverage

· 24 Hour Accident - Guarantee Issue - No Health Underwriting Questions

· Lump Sum Critical Illness - Guarantee Issue up to $10,000 of coverage

· Hospital Indemnity - Guarantee Issue* - No Health Underwriting Questions

More information about these plans, including rates, plan summaries, and a question and answer document will be available by March 17th. We will announce the open enrollment via E-lines and Dear AFA. You will be able to access all information and enrollment on the front page of unitedafa.org. We encourage you to take this time to assess your insurance needs, and come back to unitedafa.org during the March/April open enrollment.

1. Sam Risoli Seeks to Eliminate Your Voice

We are outraged. 

Mr. Risoli has again chosen to go directly to you and work with the representatives from the Continental subsidiary to circumvent your legal representative.  By this action, the company’s intentions are clear: an end-run around your United AFA leadership.  The communication, and deliberate and coordinated effort with the Continental representatives, together are intended to eliminate the reasonable options that we proposed; and to drive a wedge between United Flight Attendants, Continental and Continental Micronesia Flight Attendants and management.    All of these efforts have been intentionally crafted in an attempt to weaken the influence of your representatives and eliminate your voice in the workplace.

Since learning of this action by management, we have made several attempts to gain an understanding of what the company has announced in order to best represent your interests.  Management has refused to take our calls.

Since the inception of the merger, United management has treated United Flight Attendants and their leadership differently.  This is but another example of the complete lack of respect for our group of Flight Attendants and for each one of us individually.

Today’s announcement raises more questions than it answers.  We will work to resolve these issues.

2. Update from the MEC Meeting in Chicago

Today concludes the first day of the United Master Executive Council (MEC) meeting in Chicago.  Speaking to a full room of Flight Attendant leadership and members this morning, President Greg Davidowitch opened his report by first addressing United’s decision to pursue an involuntary furlough.  Greg affirmed the action the MEC took during this past Friday’s conference call.  Flight Attendant Members attending the meeting spoke passionately about the frustration all United Flight Attendants are experiencing, and the Solidarity among our community to support one another.  A summary of that discussion is in included in today’s Dear AFA as well. 

A number of our Members attended the MEC Meeting this morning and provided valuable feedback and shared their concerns regarding the announced Involuntary Furlough.  Our leadership heard first hand, from a number of those concerned about a potential involuntary furlough.  The MEC Officers and LEC Presidents, made clear the an involuntary furlough is far from a foregone conclusion.  As Greg Davidowitch reported last week, this is not the end.  It is the beginning.  Our advocacy for consensual solutions remains our best option, but most assuredly not our only option.  We have filed a Cease & Desist and are fully prepared to litigate our dispute in court if necessary and appropriate.  The MEC Is unanimous in their affirmation that any involuntary furlough is not the right choice for our Flight Attendants or the company.

The MEC clearly heard from those Members in attendance that desire to “do something” and participate together towards a solution.  Understanding that where we currently are in the process is the time for patience and diplomacy does not mean that nothing is happening.  Discussions continue, preparation and planning continue and while today is not the day to bring out our “big stick,” this restraint should not for a moment be mistaken for a lack of resolve or preparedness to use whatever means are necessary to protect these Members’ jobs if and when that time comes in the near future.

That’s all for this evening!  Thank you for calling.  As we build our future together and achieve an industry leading Single Contract for all Flight Attendants at the new United. 

3.Profit Sharing Election Window Open through January 27, 2014

United is expected to announce their fourth quarter financial results this Thursday, January 23rd.  As we’ve previously reported, if the company earns more than $10 million in pre-tax profits for the year, a profit sharing payment will be paid to eligible Flight Attendants, consistent with the terms of Section 5.J.2. of our Contract.

We will have the ability to designate a percentage of our profit sharing award to our Contractual 401(k), or U.K. Stakeholder plan retirement savings accounts.  The deadline for determining what your elections will be is January 27th.  New this year is the ability to make this determination after the amount of the payment is known, between January 23 and January 27, 2014.

You can elect to defer all, or some percentage of your, Contractual profit sharing payment to your:

  • 401(k) retirement savings account or,
  • Roth 401(k) Plan account, if applicable.
  • UK Stakeholder Plan Account

United anticipates that the payment will once again be made mid-February.

We encourage you to review additional information and important considerations we have provided on our website.

4.Imputed Income & FICA Tax Refunds Due to Employees with Same Gender Spouses

As a result of the historic defeat of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013, refunds of the imputed income for health & welfare benefits, as well as travel entitlements were due to those with same gender spouses.  After initially reporting United’s snafu in handing the notification email from United’s “Your Benefits Team,” additional problems are being reported as they relate to the marriage date being incorrect.

We are working to identify these problems with management and pressing for a swift and timely resolution.  United has stipulated that W2C forms will not be created beyond January 30, 2014 so it is imperative that they resolve all issues and provide sufficient time for the corrections to be addressed and completed before their deadline.

5.Unimatic Access Issue

In the continuing saga of Java updates adversely impacting home Unimatic access, the latest release of Java 7.51 is no exception.  If you have updated Java and are experiencing an issue connecting to Unimatic, we have been provided a “fix” which should resolve the issue.  In the event a problem persists, please contact United’s help desk *800-255-5801) for additional troubleshooting.

United Flight Attendants Subject to Involuntary Furlough 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Today AFA Representatives met with the company to review the final bids and award for Voluntary Furlough & Partnership. Despite our position that our Contract prohibits the involuntary furlough of any of our Members as a result of productivity improvements from our 2012-2016 Contract, United management has stated that there will be an involuntary furlough.

Voluntary Furlough was awarded to 1,113 Flight Attendants who submitted bids with the most junior Voluntary Furlough awarded at System Seniority number 12,496; on the System Seniority List dated January 8, 2014, with an inflight classification seniority of May 1, 2006.

Because the number of those submitting Voluntary Furlough bids were not senior enough to hold the Voluntary Furlough, the company pursued Partnership as a means of reducing the number of Flight Attendants potentially placed on involuntary furlough status. Following a review of the Partnership bids submitted, the company awarded 140 Partnerships. The most junior Partnership was awarded at System Seniority Number 12,640 with an Inflight Classification Seniority date of October 30, 2006.

Based on the seniority of the senior bidders, not all Voluntary Furloughs or Partnerships were awarded. We encouraged the company to award all Voluntary Furlough and Partnership bids on file, but they declined to do so. As a result, there is a deficit in the numbers needed to attain the reduction in force desired by the company.

As a consequence, United has announced an involuntary furlough affecting many of our most junior Members. These are junior to and including System Seniority Number 12,662 on the January 8, 2014 System Seniority List, with an Inflight Classification date of November 27, 2006, splitting a class.

We met with management this afternoon and again offered a number of solutions intended to avoid an involuntary furlough, while also addressing the company's needs to manage an overage in manpower. We will continue to work collaboratively towards a solution.

It's important to remember that with the announcement today, we are at the beginning, not the end. The effective date of the involuntary furlough is April 1, 2014, which allows time to continue working with management to find alternatives and solutions. In the meantime, we will use outside legal counsel to represent our Flight Attendant interests and will pursue all legal avenues, including the Grievance and Arbitration process.

There is still time to award all Voluntary Furlough and Partnership bids on file, and manage any overage through discretionary time off programs. We appreciate our flying partners who participated in these programs, to help save the jobs of our most junior Members. In this same spirit, we call on management to do the right thing.

In Solidarity,

Greg Davidowitch,

Linda F. Farrow,
Vice President

Jeffrey W. Heisey,


Your AFA

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