Tuesday, December 23, 2008

United Airlines expected to furlough 250 more flight attendants in early 2009

United Airlines logoUnited Airlines management has notified its flight attendants' union that additional furloughs are expected in early 2009. The United Master Executive Council of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), the union representing United cabin crew, was told by the airline's management that 250 flight attendants may be laid off in this round of furloughs. Earlier this year, United reduced its flight attendant work force by 1,550.

Union officials were told that an acceleration of the TED aircraft reconfiguration, coupled with further reduction in capacity, is leading to schedule changes. Management is reviewing the aircraft schedule and has stated they will not make the final decision about flight attendant furloughs until January 9, 2009.

In accordance with the terms of the contract between the AFA and United, flight attendants will be offered voluntary furloughs first; involuntary furloughs will be imposed only if an insufficient number of flight attendants bid for voluntary furloughs. The earlier reduction of United's flight attendant work force was accomplished by voluntary furloughs and an 'Early Out' program offered to senior crew members, obviating the need for involuntary furloughs.