Timeline for United/Continental Merger

Updated: February 2, 2011

The United/Continental merger was announced May 3, 2010 and the merger transaction close date was October 1, 2010. The new United has been established through a financial transaction, but the real merger takes place in the operation.  Mergers are complex transactions with various steps to complete prior to an operational integration. This timeline includes the steps that would lead to an integrated Flight Attendant operation. As we move through the merger process this timeline will be updated with dates and additional information.

Shareholder Approvals

By this September, shareholders of each airline separately will vote on approval of the merger.

Update September 17: Shareholders Approve Merger >

Government Approvals

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) reviews the proposed United/Continental merger. The merger requires approval by the DOJ to move forward.

Update August 27: The Department of Justice approves the merger. New York Times article >

United will also submit a plan to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for approval of a Single Operating Certificate. Once a plan is approved by the FAA it could take up to 15-18 months for finalization and award of a Single Operating Certificate. Executives expect this to be concluded in the first half of 2012.

Update September 2: United announced path to Single Operating Certificates.

Update February 2: From United's statement filed with the NMB in support of a single carrier determination: "On December 22, 2010 the FAA granted Continental’s request and issued a new operating certificate covering both Continental and CMI [Continental Micronesia].”

Certain Objections

Certain law suits, objections by members of Congress and other roadblocks may slow or halt the process for concluding the merger transaction.

Update August 4 - Continental submits a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission to disclose in greater detail the negotiations that led it to agree to a merger with United Airlines. The disclosure is a result of a settlement with a number of Continental shareholders who sued the airline for breach of fiduciary duty, believing the price to be paid for their shares was too low.

Update August 17 - United, Continental chiefs set to testify in merger lawsuit

Update August 27 - United and Continental agree to lease takeoff and landing slots at Newark (N.J.) Liberty International Airport to Southwest beginning March 2011.  This move addresses certain anti-trust concerns. AP article >

Update August 31 - Smisek and Tilton testify in federal court in San Franciso where the airlines were sued with the claim the merger would create a monopoly. Bloomberg > 

Update September 1 - Worried about a Continental Airlines document that suggests there could be huge cuts in Cleveland Hopkins flights, a consumer group made Smisek and Tilton explain plans for Cleveland and other cities during a court hearing for a lawsuit with 49 plaintiffs filed to block the deal between Continental and United.

Update September 28 - Judge won't halt United-Continental merger

Merger Transaction Close Complete October 1, 2010

With the DOJ approval of the merger completed earlier than expected, the financial merger transaction close date was moved up to October 1,  The new United Airlines is established. Although this concludes the financial transaction, executives have predicted the operational integration will be concluded by 2013.

Update August 27 - United announces a joint United-Continental Employee Advisory Council.

Update August 27 - AFA and United are continuing discussions related to the merger, focusing on reaching a Transition Agreement addressing issues important to Flight Attendants and the Company until the time of an operational merger.

Update October 1 - New United - New Opportunities


In a merger where two different Unions represent the same craft or class of workers and each of the Unions represent at least 35% of the combined work group; typically there is call for a representation election. In order for the election to move forward the National Mediation Board must first make the determination the new company qualifies as a “single carrier.”

Petition for NMB Single Carrier Determination

The Unions may file a petition with the National Mediation Board (NMB) seeking an investigation to determine whether the new United is a “single transportation system.” There are numerous criteria used to determine this including: published combined scheduled or combined routes; standardized uniforms; common marketing, markings or insignia; integrated essential operations such as scheduling or dispatching; centralized labor and personnel operations; combined or common management corporate officers and board of directors; combined workforce; and common or overlapping ownership. During the NMB’s investigation, AFA remains the certified representative of the United Flight Attendants and continues to administer the United Flight Attendant Contract.

Update August 11: United announces new Livery and Logo

Update September 2: Senior Leadership Announced for New United

Single Carrier Determination

Following an investigation, the NMB finds that the merger of United and Continental has created a single carrier. It is after this point that AFA-CWA will file an application for a Union representation election that will now include the combined United/Continental Flight Attendant workforce.

NMB Representation Election for Post-Merger United Flight Attendants

The NMB establishes an election period including dates for the tally and final count.

If AFA becomes the Certified Bargaining Representative

When a majority of Flight Attendants make the decision to vote for AFA, which only represents Flight Attendants, our Union wins the election and becomes the certified bargaining representative for the new United Flight Attendants. AFA administers both pre-merger Contracts separately for each group, with Flight Attendant representatives from each pre-merger airline, until a single Contract is negotiated. With AFA as the representative, all democratic negotiations processes apply to single Contract negotiations. This includes Flight Attendant Negotiating Committee representatives from each pre-merger airline and a thorough survey and feedback process from the combined work group to determine our collective goals for improvements in a new single Contract.

Seniority Integration Process

AFA-CWA has a leading seniority merger policy that ensures the protection of each Flight Attendant’s seniority on a merged seniority list. A Seniority Merger Committee, made up of Flight Attendant representatives from each pre-merger airline will work out any differences in how seniority dates were originally determined so that all Flight Attendants are treated the same. The process is detailed and extensive to ensure the protection of each Flight Attendant’s seniority. Under the AFA-CWA merger policy, we will not provide the combined seniority list to management until they have negotiated a new, improved Contract for the unified Flight Attendant group.

On May 5, 2010 the AFA-CWA United Master Executive Council, made up of the 14 AFA Local Council Presidents at all United Flight Attendant base locations, unanimously took the position that the seniority of Flight Attendants at Continental will be treated as if they were AFA Members, consistent with the AFA Constitution and Bylaws. More information on the AFA-CWA Merger Policy may be found in the Airline Merger section of www.unitedafa.org.

AFA-CWA Merger Committee

New Single Contract Negotiations

The AFA United Flight Attendant’s negotiating committee (consisting of Flight Attendants from UAL and CAL along with our attorneys and staff negotiators) initiates collective bargaining negotiations for a single Contract covering the entire Flight Attendant work force. Once those negotiations conclude with a Tentative Agreement, the combined Flight Attendant AFA Members will vote on ratification of the new single Contract.

Update September 30: New Agreement at Continental

One Contract / One Seniority List

AFA holds the combined seniority list, reviewed by all Flight Attendants in the combined workgroup, until a new Contract is negotiated and ratified. Management will not be able to integrate Flight Attendant operations until these negotiations conclude and AFA provides them with the new seniority list.

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