We must take action together to change the dynamics of negotiations and encourage management to want an agreement. There are a number of reasons why reaching a merged agreement is essential.
The company is able to underpay Flight Attendants at United Airlines relative to industry competitors without a merged agreement. That means the Company can pocket hundreds of millions of dollars each year which should be going to Flight Attendants.
A merged Flight Attendant agreement is essential to the success of the carrier. Wall Street is increasingly critical of United Management’s failure to conclude this merger. Management has been able to slide by with record profits despite poor performance due to low oil prices, high demand and restricted capacity. These ideal conditions will not last forever. United needs a merged operation to compete.
Now is the time to reach an agreement. Typically, unions prefer to settle contracts during boom periods. With strong corporate profits, we are able to achieve a favorable economic settlement which secures higher wages and improved work rules for years to come. In contrast, a downturn in the economy or an event which impacts aviation can change all of that in a heartbeat. We know this all too well. The airline industry is highly cyclical. Now is the time.
Management will have the opportunity to divide and distract us as long as we are operating under different agreements. They play games with flying allocation and attempt to keep us at odds with each other. A divided workforce gives management leverage they can and will use against us. A merged contract, in contrast, means United Flight Attendants work as one under the same agreement. While it takes two parties to reach an agreement, we have the ability to demonstrate our unity and willingness to act in a number of ways to encourage management to reach an agreement.
It’s time to complete this merger. The merger should be in the rear view mirror. The operation and workforce are fragmented. It’s time to move forward as one with an industry leading agreement for Flight Attendants.
You can be a front-line voice to help share accurate information and move these negotiations forward. Sign up to be a Negotiations Support/Info Rep in support of a contract we can ratify.
Randy Hatfield (Continental MEC President)
Kathleen Domondon (Continental Micronesia MEC President)
Ken Diaz (United MEC President)