You can extend your paid sick leave during the COVID-19 Crisis.

April 6, 2020

While the CARES Act provides payroll security for airline employees for the next 6 months, the industry is facing a decrease of over 80% in demand for air travel. To reduce costs and limit physical contact, carriers are also trying to reduce the number of employees working at airports by offering paid and unpaid leaves of absence.   

We all worry about how we will pay our bills if we are not working and the possibility we may need a prolonged period to recover from illness. IAM members working at United Airlines have an option in our contracts for additional paid sick leave. Our Collective Bargaining Agreements, Article 5, Vacation and Holidays, Paragraph 6, state:

Variable Use Option. Employees may convert up to 2 weeks of accrued vacation per year into their sick bank, up to the maximum sick bank accrual, for the purpose of funding sick pay for a planned upcoming significant medical event (e.g., maternity or major surgery or course of treatment, which will be documented).

This clause is part of IAM District 141 agreements with United for Fleet and Customer Service Agents, Storekeepers, Maintenance Instructors, Security Guards, and Central Load Planners.

Please contact your station’s management if you wish to use this option. You can also reach out to your Local Grievance Committee or AGC with questions or concerns, and to find out more about how your IAMAW Union contract can help protect your health and your job.

We do not yet see a clear end to this crisis. This contract clause provides flexibility and peace of mind to members with chronic health conditions or in high-risk situations where they must stay home for an extended period to protect themselves and their families.

Please continue to follow CDC guidelines and state and local mandates and take every precaution to safeguard your health and safety. This virus is highly contagious and can be transmitted by people showing no symptoms of the disease. If you feel sick, please take care of yourself and protect your co-workers by staying home and calling your healthcare provider for an evaluation of your symptoms.

All District 141 Representatives are working with United Airlines managers to ensure that sick calls during the coronavirus crisis will not trigger progressive disciplinary action. If you need help getting time off to deal with COVID-19, contact a member of your Grievance Committee as soon as possible.