Bridge Agreement Bid Option for Flight Attendants in Guam

Bridge Agreement Bid Option for Flight Attendants in Guam

CMI Flight Attendants to Be Offered Slots at Houston and Newark Domestic at Bottom of Seniority List through “Bridge Agreement”

October 10, 2011

We are pleased to announce that AFA CMI (Continental Micronesia) has successfully negotiated an opportunity for Flight Attendants in Guam to submit an application for transfer to either Houston or Newark domestic bases effective October 18, 2011.  These Flight Attendants are already working under the same operating certificate as Continental Flight Attendants, but until a single contract is negotiated they continue to fly under the CMI contract and work in Guam.  The former CMI Flight Attendants who decide to bid for the one-time option to transfer to Houston or Newark domestic by October 17, will work with a bidding seniority date of October 18, 2011.  Their seniority within the October 18, 2011 date will be ranked according to their CMI seniority order.  The first class of newly hired Continental Flight Attendants will join our ranks on October 20, 2011.  This option preserves their current CMI seniority for the AFA seniority integration process which maintains each Flight Attendants’ bidding seniority on the merged list.  Their accrued seniority from CMI will take effect only upon membership ratification of a single contract that will provide improvements for all 25,000 Flight Attendants at the new United.

This bidding option for Flight Attendants based in Guam will not be an attractive option for most, but for some it will provide an option that was not made available by their prior union.  With Guam as their only base there is no path for relief when company scheduling creates an overstaffing situation.  It is unfortunate that our prior union did not long ago negotiate a single contract for Continental and Continental Micronesia, much like the pilots.  The prior union also did not begin single contract negotiations for the two groups when the CMI subsidiary operating certificate was extinguished and a new single operating certificate for CAL and CMI became effective a year ago.

Here are the provisions of the agreement under which they would accept this one-time transfer to Houston or Newark:

  • Bids must be submitted by October 17, 2011 and will be awarded in seniority order.
  • Active status in Newark/Houston becomes effective on October 18, 2011.
  • Flight Attendants have the ability to opt-out by October 31, 2011 – after which date the transfer becomes permanent and irrevocable.
  • Flight Attendants must be in good standing and eligible to perform Flight Attendant duties including completing any necessary training required of an active Flight Attendant for Continental.
  • All eligible Flight Attendants on the CMI seniority list, whether currently active or on leave, may bid for the transfer and a bid for the transfer is entirely voluntary.
  • Until a single contract is ratified by AFA members, these Flight Attendants will have a bidding seniority date of October 18, 2011.  After ratification of a single contract they will regain their CMI bidding seniority date on the integrated seniority list according to the AFA Merger Policy.
  • Flight Attendants transferring shall work under all provisions of the Continental Flight Attendant contract, with retained CMI service credit for pay and benefit accrual rates.
  • To help facilitate the move, a 90 day period of fee-waived PS5B travel for the employee, and SA3 travel for spouse and children for travel between Guam and the new base only.
  • Flight Attendants will be entitled to a $2500 pre-tax cash payment to help defray the costs of moving.

Question and Answers on One-Time Transfer

1.    Why did AFA CMI negotiate this irrevocable transfer agreement option for Flight Attendants based in Guam?

AFA members based in Guam overwhelmingly responded through a survey that they wanted to negotiate this voluntary bid option.

2.    Why do Flight Attendants in Guam want to have the option to work at Houston and Newark domestic at the bottom of the current seniority list?

This is not the first time Flight Attendants in Guam have had to deal with over-staffing and the effects on their base.  In 2008 when over-staffing resulted in a cross-over agreement for some CMI Flight Attendants who are still working at the bottom of the seniority list, there was also an offer for an indefinite leave.  This is a company policy leave without an end date and the only path back to active flying is an opening in the Guam base.  For many of the Flight Attendants who originally felt they could help with the surplus by taking the leave, conditions have significantly changed with the nation’s economy, employment for other members of their family and the expiration of benefits due to the length of leave.  Providing an option to return to active status, even as a Newark or Houston domestic Flight Attendant on reserve, is a relief for themselves and their families.

3.    How are the circumstances for Flight Attendants in Guam different from the overstaffing at the United subsidiary?

This is a very different case from our United counterparts.  Survey results and feedback from United Flight Attendants overwhelmingly stated they did not want to negotiate a hiring agreement for Continental at the bottom of the seniority list.  At United, thanks to their contractual Voluntary Furlough Program not one Flight Attendant is on involuntary furlough status.  Flight Attendants who are currently on Voluntary Furlough have the contractual protections afforded with this program.  The Contractual Voluntary Furlough program has a definitive end date with right of return to the active domicile (base) from which the furlough began.  The Contract also requires that Flight Attendants maintain seniority accrual, health care and on-line pass travel benefits as if on active status.  The United Flight Attendants also have the Contractual ability to return to work through a hardship request that is not an option for the Flight Attendants based in Guam.

4.    What will happen to the seniority of Flight Attendants who bid for this one-time transfer to Houston or Newark domestic?

During this bridge period to ratification of a single contract, these Flight Attendants will work with a bidding seniority date of October 18, 2011 and within the date retain seniority rank according to their CMI seniority.  Once a single contract is ratified they will regain their current CMI bidding seniority date on the integrated seniority list.

5.    Do CMI Flight Attendants have to complete initial training to be qualified for Continental?

No.  Although the operation is separate with separate Collective Bargaining Agreements, all flying is operating under the same operating certificate from the FAA.  Flight Attendants from Guam will only be required to complete the differences training and typical recurrent training associated with the all of the equipment flown by the Continental operation.

6.    Will CMI Flight Attendants who choose to bid for the transfer to Houston or Newark be able to return to Guam after the single contract is ratified?

Yes, but only in system seniority order under the Contractual provisions for transferring bases once a single contract is ratified.