Resolving Reserve Issues

Hafa Adai Flyers,

Reserve assignment: Is it fair? Is it contractual? Is it the way it’s got to be? A number of Reserve Flight Attendants have requested that we file a grievance, seeking to change the current system. We have been working on this issue for most of the last year. The final answers are: maybe not, yes, and yes.

AFA lawyers have insisted all along, that the contract was being correctly followed. Still we looked for another solution. A meeting was held June 24th that, along with a written statement from the AFA legal staff, has finally resolved this matter. Here is why the current system operates the way it does.

Every time a new contract is signed, all the Information Technology, (IT) about Reserve Assignment, (and a thousand other things) is programed into the computer system. The Reserve Preference benefit first appeared in the 2001 Air Mike Contract. It worked well, finally giving Reserves some control over their lives. The technology for daily structuring the Reserve list was set up at that time – and has not changed since.

The flying, however, did change. A year ago last October, we lost our Honolulu trip, the Narita wide bodies, and more than 30% of our flying. That radically changed Reserve duty as we were suddenly severely over-staffed. With Lineholders scrambling to grab every hour, it became clear that Reserves would not be flying as much as in the past. Still, Junior Reserves found themselves flying the most. This is as a result of seniority – and the IT system that was set up in 2001.

The Company cannot consider making a change to that technology at this time due to the cost, and the fact that United’s IT people are swamped with merger matters. Neither is it possible for Scheduling to manually set up the list and make assignments every day. Continental has a different contractual requirement – and a different IT system. The computer is programed separately for each contract, and makes assignments without favoritism.

For the last year, we have been working with lawyers, attorneys, CAL reps, negotiators, Scheduling and Inflight to try to find a way to make the system seem more fair without violating the contract. Currently, most reserves are not flying more than 40 hours a month. Last month only three flew over 50. We will seek to find improvements for Reserve duty in the new contract.

Your Joint Negotiating Committee is working to create a CBA worthy of the world’s largest airline. Don’t let rumors distress or distract you. We are not seeking a concessionary contract to help a financially troubled airline, like in 2006. We are bargaining for the best. Thankfully, we have a comfortable contract while we wait. We have solid No Furlough language that will remain in place until we have a Joint Contract and a merged seniority list.

We meet the Company again on July 8th in Denver. Go to the official website for the official news: OurUnited.org

As you may have heard: Veronica is hanging up her wings and slipping into a well deserved retirement next month. Ronnie is a true Air Mike Legend after so many years flying the line. We will all miss her presence on our planes. May she enjoy her new leisure time; playing with grandchildren in warm ocean breezes.

As July begins, Jose will be assuming his official role as Secretary Treasure of our Council. Already an active member of our team, Jose has been hard at work answering FaceBook posts and seeking answers to complicated questions. He has attended grievance training and other classes to guide him in the leadership role he has so eagerly taken on.

So, Please! Put that bright white union pin on your black and blue uniform. Show your support, believe in the Power of the Pin, and wear it proudly on your uniform. Know that your JNC is working to secure your future and your lifestyle.

Fly safely, and enjoy your jobs,

Suzzane