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TA Q&A - 7-2-16

Date: 7/2/2016

Why do we need to wait until July 11th to see the full contract language?

Our contract is a legal document that is hundreds of pages long. Contract language was written over the entire course of negotiations as we put three contracts together to build the Tentative Agreement. Remember that this is not a normal negotiation that includes a list of changes from the previous contract. Every item in the contract was discussed and negotiated during merger negotiations. The Joint Negotiating Committee along with our attorneys and the company negotiators and their attorneys are continuing to review the language. Each edit is vetted by the company and the union to ensure any edit does not change the meaning of what was negotiated. It is also imperative that we ensure the language included is the most recent and reflects our agreements. This process protects all of us moving forward.

When are the JNC Information Sessions and can I attend in another location?

Yes. All AFA members are invited and encouraged to attend any one of the JNC Information Sessions explaining the Tentative Agreement. We also encourage members to plan to attend the live Webcast with the JNC on July 13th at 1100 Eastern.

The JNC Information Session information is available at OurContract.org. Locations and times are being added as they are confirmed with the hotels.

The first week of JNC Information Sessions confirmed:

July 11, 2016 – EWR
July 12, 2016 – DCA/IAD
July 13, 2016 – Webcast
July 14, 2016 – BOS
July 15, 2016 – ORD 

Full Details:


Remember that these dates are just the initial sessions with the JNC. There will be other meetings scheduled in each location for Flight Attendants to get questions answered.

How does a 13 year pay scale impact Flight Attendants at the top?

Having a 13 year pay scale means Flight Attendants can reach the top of the pay range in a shorter period of time. Typically unions want to shorten the pay scale to get higher wages to more workers sooner while management attempts to drag out the pay scale. In this Tentative Agreement we were able to shorten the pay scale which is an improvement. If you are at the top of the pay scale you will remain at the top of the pay scale and get the immediate increases of between $9.47 an hour and $15.14 on date of signing. Don’t forget other pay factors, like the International Override, Incentive Rates, Reserve Override (if you’re on Reserve) and Special Qualifications are in addition to your base rate of pay.

If ratified, will all Reserves be on straight reserve right away?

No. Most of the scheduling provisions will not take effect until all Flight Attendants are on a common crew management system. It is anticipated that this will take 12-18 months. Until that time, we will all continue to work under the scheduling provisions in our current Contracts. Keep in mind that after we are on a common crew management system, FRA, HNL, HKG, LHR and NRT will continue to operate on an A/B Rotation system.

How does current 83 hour guarantee for CAL Reserves compare to a 78 hour guarantee with a Reserve Override?

It’s an increase for pre-merger Continental Flight Attendants. Here is the math: 5 hours of guarantee at first year pay of $26.68 per hour is $133.40. The $2.00 Reserve Override is guaranteed whether a Reserve flies the 78 hours or not. The Reserve Override of $2.00 X 78 = $156. That’s a $24.60 increase. While an 83 hour guarantee is more than a 78 hour guarantee, the $2.00 Reserve Override is paid for every hour on Reserve. So, when you add the $2.00 to your rate of pay, it generates more money than 83 hours without the override.

If you compare Reserve Guarantee for a fourth year pre-merger Continental Flight Attendant working under the current contract the illustration is greater:

Current contract:

Tentative Agreement:

$27.26/hour x 83 hour guarantee= $2,262.58

$32.07 + $2.00/ hour reserve override x 78 hour guarantee=$2,657.46

That's $394.88 more per month without any other pay factors.

Also, Reserves will have 12 days off a month, which for pre-merger Continental and CMI regular Reserves is an increase of two days. That’s two fewer days of availability to the company and two more days that a Reserve can have as time off, or use as an opportunity to pick up Ads from Lineholders on days off and be paid above guarantee.

For example, if a Reserve chooses to work on just 1 day off by picking up a 5 hour turn, she or he still has 11 days off and now has pay for an 83 hour month. Plus, she or would receive the $2.00 per hour Reserve override for 83 hours (83 x 2.00= $168.00), plus the block hours go toward quarterly incentive pay.

If a Reserve picks up a pairing from a Lineholder on a day off, can the trip be removed and return the Flight Attendant to reserve status?

No. If a Reserve Flight Attendant picks up a trip on days off, the Reserve would be treated as a Lineholder for that pairing. The Flight Attendant is paid over the Reserve Guarantee and works the pairing in the same manner as Lineholder. If the trip cancels, the Reserve would be subject to the reassignment language as Lineholders.

Why are there different retirement plans for each pre-merger group?

Retirement plans accrue a benefit over the course of an entire career. In general for the whole group, changing plans mid-career would interrupt the retirement benefit. For example, starting a Defined Benefit Pension for someone who already has 20 years of service would not provide time to accrue a meaningful benefit for retirement.

Our goal in these negotiations was to equalize the benefits of the different groups, while the company sought to achieve a common plan for all newly hired Flight Attendants. We utilized retirement specialists, actuaries and our Benefits Committee to review the plans and ensure the benefits paid to Flight Attendants were equivalent – and we were successful in negotiating that in this Tentative Agreement. This required a substantial increase to the contribution to the IAMNPP for the CMI Flight Attendants and an additional 2% contribution to the United Defined Contribution Plan. Management originally wanted the additional 2% contribution to be an employee match, which would require a contribution from the Flight Attendant as well. We were successful in achieving a Direct Contribution from the company, which does not require an additional contribution from Flight Attendants in order to receive it.

Going forward, all newly hired Flight Attendants will take part in the Defined Contribution Plan (401k). In addition, we achieved a Letter of Agreement that requires the company to explore the possibility of establishing a Defined Benefit Pension for the next generation of workers.

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