United to Offer Furloughed Crew New-Hire Positions

By Paul Riegler on 23 January 2014
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A United plane in Chicago

A United plane in Chicago

United Continental Holdings, which just a week ago announced involuntary furloughs for almost 700 junior flight attendants from the United Airlines side of the house, said Thursday it will allow those employees to apply for positions as new hires at what was Continental Airlines before the merger.

The Chicago-based airline says that the former United side has too many cabin crew members while the former Continental side has too few.  United hasn’t hired any new flight attendants since 2008, although Continental added almost 500 last year.

While United and Continental merged in 2010, flight attendants from the two airlines still operate under separate labor agreements and from separate seniority lists.

United says that those employees who are laid off and take a position with Continental will retain seniority for purposes of pay and vacation time but will be at the bottom of the Continental seniority list when it comes to bidding for flights and time off.

United Continental has 23,000 flight attendants.  Until the two groups agree on a single labor contract and seniority list, the airline is obliged to schedule them separately, using separate and distinct seniority lists.

United’s two pilot groups agreed on a joint contract in December 2012 and on an integrated seniority list last September.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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