AFA and United Announces Enhanced Early Out Program for Flight Attendants

Date: September 15, 2014
Type: AFA Article

View Joint Letter PDF

Dear Flight Attendants,

As a result of on-going discussions between the leadership of United and AFA, we are pleased to announce today the immediate offer of an Enhanced Early Out Program for Flight Attendants.

This Enhanced Early Out provides eligible Flight Attendants the opportunity to leave the Company and receive a lump  sum payout  of up to $100,000.  AFA and United anticipate strong interest due to the generous terms being offered. United has committed to award at least 1000 Early Outs at s-UA, 1000 at s-CO and 100 at CMI, and may  award more depending on interest among eligible Flight Attendants.

The Enhanced Early Out recognizes the extraordinary contributions of our Flight Attendants over many years and shows that the respectful and cooperative relationships we're building are producing tangible benefits for our co-workers and the Company.

While early out offers typically are tied to the ratification of collective bargaining agreements, there are several reasons why offering this Enhanced Early  Out  now   makes sense for Flight Attendants, AFA and the Company. United and AFA leadership believe it's crucial that Flight Attendants understand why this Enhanced Early Out is being offered now and why it may be an attractive option for individual Flight Attendants. We appreciate your attention to this discussion and your consideration to participate in the Enhanced Early Out.

Today, United is overstaffed by more than 2,000 Flight Attendants across the system - which has meant falling line averages, reduced earning potential, involuntary and voluntary furloughs, and a variety of cross-over and leave programs. Post-merger changes in United's network and aircraft deployment have also shifted the flow of flying, resulting in staffing imbalances among the bases and the subsidiary work groups. We need to fix these problems now to relieve the hardships they impose on Flight Attendants.

Other issues will have to be addressed through the collective bargaining process. Resolving existing disparities in work rules and practices will mean change for everyone - and those changes will inevitably be influenced, and in some cases driven, by competitive pressures and things beyond our control. For example, flying schedules are likely to become more "peaked" or seasonal in response to changing customer demand and, consequently, opportunities for discretionary time off will become more limited and targeted to off-peak months.  All these changes will substantially affect the way Flight Attendants will work in the future.

United and AFA are focused on making the NMB-facilitated problem solving negotiation process successful and getting to a joint agreement. Our challenge is to fix the overstaffing and other structural constraints we face today so that they don't delay or derail our ability to reach agreement.

Offering this Enhanced Early Out now addresses these challenges. The lump sum amounts being offered are virtually unprecedented in the airline industry, and with sufficient participation we can resolve the overstaffing problem and, at the  same  time,   provide opportunities for Flight Attendants to move up their respective seniority lists.

In addition, today United is recalling all involuntary and voluntary furloughs, which also means finally implementing key provisions of the 2012 s-UA-AFA collective agreement in the next few months.

Depending on the applicant pool and actual Early Out awards system-wide, we also hope to mitigate the base staffing imbalance situation, thus reducing potential  surpluses   and involuntary transfers at both s-UA and s-CO.

Looking at the big picture, all these constructive outcomes will allow us to move forward in joint negotiations without the distraction of these issues and the hardships they impose on United Flight Attendants

Finally, United and AFA leadership believe there is a great deal of interest among many Flight Attendants who are considering career transitions or who want to find a soft landing as they move into the next phases of their lives.  This completely voluntary program is a win/win for everyone.

Offering this Enhanced Early Out now, of course, means no other early outs will be offered during this round of contract negotiations or in conjunction with the future ratification of a joint agreement. This is the one and only chance for Flight Attendants to take advantage of an early out program for many years to come.

We urge you to review the program summary, detailed information and Frequently Asked Questions online at FlyingTogether >InflightServices >Administration. The application window opens today and closes on October 30, 2014. Eligible Flight Attendants will be awarded the Early Out in seniority order by subsidiary and will be notified of the awards on or after November 14. Exit dates will be determined by operational need and occur between November 15, 2014 and November 15, 2016.

Thank you for all your hard work and your outstanding service to our customers.


Ken Diaz
UAL-AFA MEC President
Mike Bonds
Executive Vice President
Human Resources and Labor Relations

Suzanne Hendricks
CMI-AFA MEC President
Greg Hart
Executive Vice President

Marcus Valentino
CAL-AFA MEC President
Sam Risoli
Senior Vice President
Inflight Services


For more information visit our 2014 Enhanced Early Out page

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