By now, most of you have likely seen today’s message from Greg Hart, EVP and chief operations officer, outlining a voluntary Company-Offered Leave of Absence (COLA) program to reduce hours for our IAM-represented employees covered under the Passenger Service Employees Agreement and the Fleet Service Employees Agreement. For everyone’s convenience, I’ve included a brief Q&A below, and a more detailed version will be coming your way tomorrow.
This approach was the result of overwhelming feedback from our front-line colleagues. I received many emails, texts and calls from employees around the system, and I truly appreciate hearing from so many of you.
First and foremost, it was clear that our teammates understand the magnitude of this global crisis – not just for United, but the entire airline industry. Importantly, many expressed their willingness to help. Yet the idea of losing full-time status was extremely difficult.
The approach described by Greg is an effort to achieve the cost reductions we need while ensuring that employees who choose to participate in the programs maintain their full-time status. Again, this approach is a direct result of front-line feedback. That said, it’s crucial that participation in this voluntary program is high. We continue to burn through tens of millions of dollars per DAY and if we don’t have high levels of participation, we will have no choice but to reconsider a mandatory reduction to 30 hours for our full-time employees.
We need to not only survive the crisis, but we need to be in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that are created when demand returns with as many jobs as possible. That will only happen to the extent we are able to minimize our costs prior to demand returning. A process that will undoubtedly include some very tough decisions along the way.
As always, I personally appreciate your passion, dedication and commitment. You are truly the best in the industry, and I cannot wait until we get through this crisis, so we can shine even brighter.
A few final important housekeeping notes from our HR team:
- For any employee who has already submitted an election for the FT to PT status change in Help Hub, those will be automatically canceled, and no action is required on that – employees will be able to enroll in the new voluntary programs shortly.
- Yesterday we announced that the current COLA enrollment period would be extended. Tomorrow (by 10 a.m. CT) NEW election options for reduced hours will be made available in addition to three month or six-month continuous COLAs. Please plan to visit Help Hub to learn more and make your election. The deadline for elections is now Friday, May 15, at 11:59 p.m. CT. Let’s ensure a high level of participation – for the sake of our company and each other.
Thank you for your continued dedication and understanding,