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Association of Flight Attendants-CWA United Master Executive Council

Voluntary Furlough Questions and Answers

Date: December 15, 2011
Type: AFA Article

May I bid for this Voluntary Furlough if I’m currently on Voluntary Furlough status?

Yes.  If you are currently on Voluntary Furlough and wish to remain on furlough, you must bid to be eligible to be awarded the furlough.

If I am a Voluntary Furloughed Flight Attendant, will I be able to return prior to the expiration of the furlough period?

A Voluntary Furloughed Flight Attendant will only be allowed to return prior to the expiration of the Voluntary Furlough period for personal reasons due to hardship, with the approval of the company. 

If I am awarded the Voluntary Furlough, am I subjecting myself to surplus to a domicile other than the one from which I accepted the Voluntary Furlough?

Section 21.A.3.e. of the AFA Agreement provides you with the Contractual right to be returned to the domicile from which you were Voluntarily Furloughed.  The only exceptions to this preferential right would be if the domicile was closed or if a surplus has been declared in the domicile and your seniority status is affected by the surplus action.

Will United contest unemployment for Voluntary Furloughs?

No.  Check with your local unemployment office for your specific unemployment benefits.  http://www.doleta.gov

May I bid for the Voluntary Furlough if I am on Sick Leave status?

If you are on Sick Leave status, you are eligible to bid for and be awarded the Voluntary Furlough provided you come off Sick Leave (OFSL) status prior to the effective date of the Furlough.  Flight Attendants on Sick Leave on March 1, 2012 will not be placed on Voluntary Furlough status.

May I bid for the Voluntary Furlough if I am on Medical Leave status?

If you are on any type of Medical Leave status on the date bids close for Voluntary Furlough, you are eligible to bid for and be awarded the Voluntary Furlough provided medical clearance with a return to work date prior to March 2, 2012 is received and approved by company Medical no later than 1700 CST on January 5, 2012.

May I bid for the Voluntary Furlough if I am on Extended Illness status?

If you are on Extended Illness status (and being paid from your Sick Leave bank), you are eligible to bid for and be awarded the Voluntary Furlough provided medical clearance with a return to work date prior to March 2, 2012 is received and approved by company Medical by 1700 CST on January 5, 2012.

May I bid for the Voluntary Furlough if I am on Occupational Leave?

Your doctor must provide written documentation that must be received and approved by company Medical no later than 1700 Central Time on January 5, 2012.  The documentation must state that you will be cleared to fly before March 2, 2012 in order to be eligible to be awarded the Voluntary Furlough.

May I bid for the Voluntary Furlough if I am on Maternity Leave?

This answer depends upon your maternity status:

Any Flight Attendant within the 1st and 31st week of being pregnant on the January 9, 2012 Voluntary Furlough bidding close date, and on an S-3 status (intermittent Maternity Leave), is eligible to bid for Voluntary Furlough.

Any Flight Attendant within the 1st and 31st week of being pregnant on the January 9, 2012 Voluntary Furlough bidding close date, and on an L-3 status (Maternity Leave), must provide written clearance to fly from her doctor by January 5, 2012 at 1700 Central Time to be eligible to be awarded a Voluntary Furlough.  This clearance must also be received and approved by company Medical by January 5, 2012 at 1700 Central Time.  The clearance does not mean that the Flight Attendant must fly -- it only means that the Flight Attendant can fly.

A Flight Attendant who has had her baby prior to the close of Voluntary Furlough bids, is eligible to be awarded the Voluntary Furlough if documentation is received and approved by company Medical prior to 1700 Central Time on January 5, 2012 indicating she has clearance to fly no later than March 1, 2012.

May I bid for the Voluntary Furlough if I am on FMLA?

If you have an intermittent Family Medical Leave status, you are eligible to bid for the Voluntary Furlough.  You must come off Sick Leave (OFSL) before March 2, 2012 in order to be placed on Voluntary Furlough status. 

If you are on continuous Family Medical Leave you are eligible to bid and will be awarded the Voluntary Furlough provide medical clearance with a return to work date prior to March 2, 2012 is received and approved by company Medical by 1700 Central Time on January 5, 2012. 

Do I pay Union dues while on Voluntary Furlough?

The AFA Constitution and Bylaws requires that all Flight Attendants pay dues for the first 3 months of any Leave status, including Voluntary Furlough.  Flight Attendants should contact their Local AFA Council with any questions about payment methods.  If you would like to pay your dues beyond the required first three months to remain an active Member to vote, (“Leave & Remain Active”) please contact the AFA International Office Membership Department at 1-800-424-2401, ext. 708 to receive the form to make monthly deductions taken from your checking account.  You will also need to ask the Membership Department where you should fax or send a written and signed statement saying that you would like to “leave and remain active.”

Can I retire from Voluntary Furlough?

Yes.

If there is an Early Out option included in an upcoming Tentative Agreement, will those on Voluntary Furlough be eligible to participate?

Yes. We have confirmed with the company that if this provision is negotiated in a Tentative Agreement, those Flight Attendants on Voluntary Furlough will be eligible to participate if they wish to do so.

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