As promised in my message yesterday, below is a more detailed Q&A regarding the voluntary COLA offering that is open today through May 15. As a reminder, you can learn more about this COLA and make your election on Help Hub. My continued thanks for your commitment to our airline. Jon


Questions and answers


I received Greg Hart’s letter dated May 1, 2020 regarding the reduction of hours and was instructed to go to Help Hub to make an election.  I did that.  What happens with that election now?

The Help Hub election site for the mandatory reduction of hours has been closed and no elections will be awarded since the mandate was rescinded. All elections made in Help Hub for the reduction in hours will be null and void.


If I already made an election to retire or take layoff with severance pay, will I still get that?

No, the mandatory reduction in hours was rescinded, therefore no elections will be awarded. Employees who made the election to retire or furlough with severance pay will be contacted by the ESC to ensure they understand the cancellation of their election.

Do I have to take the new COLA offer for a reduced hours schedule from 40 hours to 30 hours?

The reduced hours COLA is a voluntary offering.  However, as Greg pointed out in his letter to employees, if there is not enough participation in the voluntary programs being offered, we will have to revisit the mandatory reduction in hours.  We will analyze the situation in late June.

Will there still be a voluntary separation program?

Yes, and all employees are strongly encouraged to review the voluntary separation program which will be coming out in a few weeks.

The voluntary option to reduce hours is being called a COLA, but will it affect my accruals as previous COLA programs would? 

No, sick and vacation accruals are not impacted while on a Reduced Schedule COLA.

What are the new COLA dates?

The COLA offering for FT employees of 40 to 30 hours or 40 to 20 hours and for PT employees of 20 to 15 hours or 20 to10 hours will be forthcoming in the next few days. The COLAs will be effective through September 30, 2020.

How will probationary employees be affected by this voluntary offering?

Probationary employees are encouraged to sign up for a COLA, and many have already.

Are previously announced M&A reduced schedule actions affected by this?

No, this voluntary offer to IAM represented employees does not affect the M&A actions, which remain unchanged.


Can we use ANP/AUTO or vacation time to mitigate the impact of the hours reduction in the voluntary option? 

No, any vacation or ANP/AUTO usage will be separate and not counted against the reduced schedule in the voluntary option.

Can we just keep our existing schedule and days off and individually select which 10 hours a week to give up?

Your leadership team will work with you to determine your new schedule based on operational needs.

If other coworkers wish to voluntarily give up hours (day trades), can we pick up those hours?

As the communication from Leadership on Monday, May 4, indicated, the number of approved shift trades will be meaningfully reduced. Trades will be subject to approval per Article 4.C.1 of the collective bargaining agreement.

What happens to employees currently on a 3 or 6 month complete time off COLA – do they need to make an election now regarding the reduced work schedule?

Per Greg’s email, we will reassess our situation in late June. At that time we will make a determination if it is appropriate to communicate with employees to ask them if they would like to extend their complete time off COLA, select a reduced hours COLA, or return to active status.  Most likely they will make the election as they return to work.

If I take a COLA, am I exempt from a future reduction-in-force?

No, employees on a COLA are included in any future reduction-in-force.

How should schedules be adjusted for employees that take one of the reduced hours COLAs?  Will they have to rebid?

This is an operational decision. For example, we know contact centers will rebid to align schedules with changing call arrivals.

AO can make the determination whether to rebid or not, but employees may continue with their current schedule and be given AUTO/ANP for the reduced hours portion of the shift. For example, an employee electing a reduced hours COLA from 40 to 30 hours will remain on their 40-hour shift and be assigned 10 hours of AUTO/ANP each week. Leaders are encouraged to work out a schedule that meets the needs of the operation and employees. Here are examples of some possible shifts:

2 hours of AUTO/ANP each day

Work one week at 40 hours and the next week at 20 hours

ATW – work three 10-hour days each week

If I take the COLA, am I eligible for unemployment compensation?

United will not contest your claim for unemployment. In addition, United will provide any available helpful information to the state for purposes of your eligibility for unemployment, however, the ultimate decision rests with each state.

I am a part-time employee and I depend on taking day trades to take on extra hours. I am concerned that requiring management to review each day trade will eliminate many trade opportunities. Can this decision be reversed? 

Due to the dire situation the Company is in as explained in Greg Hart’s recent communications, we are not able to reverse the decision regarding trades at this time.

Is the only choice for a part-time employee to go from 20 hours to 10 hours?

There will be two new COLA offerings for part-time employees. A part-time employee can elect a COLA from 20 hours to 10 hours or a COLA from 20 hours to 15 hours.

Can we voluntarily accept a reduction of 8 hours a week instead of 10?

No, the only available option for full time employees is a reduction of 10 hours per week.

If I choose to voluntarily accept the reduction in hours, will the difference of 10 hours be counted as ANP? Will they count towards my minimum monthly hours?

Yes, employees will be assigned AUTO/ANP for the reduced hours. AUTO/ANP does count towards the minimum monthly hours for purposes of trades.

How long will the voluntary option be offered? The communications say participation in the program will be offered until June – does this mean that I can elect to take this at the end of June if I choose?

The enrollment window for the new set of COLA options will close on Friday, May 15 (11:59 PM CT).

If I take the voluntary option, is there any assurance that I will return to a full 40 hour schedule at the conclusion of the program?

Yes, employees will be returned to 40 hours at the conclusion of the program.  However, if there is a reduction in the future, employees on a COLA will be included in the reduction.

Will employees that previously opted to take the 3- or 6-month COLA also retain their full time status?

Yes. However, if there is a reduction in the future, employees on a COLA will be included in the reduction.

Do employees that previously opted to take the 3- or 6-month COLA need to make an election for a reduction in hours?

No, employees already on a COLA do not need to make another election.

Would widespread participation in this program help avoid possible furloughs at the end of September?

Given the fluidity of the Covid-19 crisis, it is difficult to predict what will happen in the next several months, however, we can assure you that everything we are doing now as a Company, such as taking a COLA, is extremely helpful.

At the point in time where demand returns, what is the plan to return employees to their regular status?

We will follow the IAM collective bargaining agreements.


Are there any areas that need temporary support where employees can work and pick up hours?

Not at this time.


Will future Voluntary Separation Programs (VSP) offer incentives such as cash, stock, benefits, etc.?

We expect that details of the VSP offerings will be available next week – please be on the lookout for those for more details.

In the voluntary option, is it possible for me to commit to a certain number of ANP hours between now and October instead of committing to 30 hour weeks over that time?

At this time, the only available option for full time employees is to take a 30 hour or 20-hour weekly schedule.

With the shift to a voluntary hours reduction options, will a retirement option with severance be available in the near future? 

Not at this time.

In the recent communications it says “leadership will be in contact with you about your new schedule.” What does this mean? Will each individual choose what hours they don’t work?

A representative from your leadership team will determine your new schedule based on operational needs. If you have specific questions about what you schedule may look like, please contact your business office or supervisor.


Updated: May 22, 2020 — 3:16 pm