Ladies and Gentlemen:
One constant in the
aviation industry is change and nowhere is this more evident at United Airlines
since the Merger announcement with Continental Airlines in May 2010. As we move through the phases of bringing
United, Continental and Continental Micronesia Airlines together we have
confronted many obstacles and opportunities together.
This afternoon, United
announced that due to aircraft schedule changes and as United aircraft move
into the Continental hubs, and vice versa, Inflight will no longer be able to
manage this redeployment in the same manner as they have been doing for the
past year. Up until now, Inflight
management has been managing this by creating longer IDs and positioning Flight
Attendants through deadheading. Inherent in
the tentative plans announced today is the recognition that United is currently
not ready to integrate the operations of Its subsidiaries.
Over the next eighteen
(18) months we can anticipate that United will transition to managing the
redeployment of aircraft by opening a new United Flight Attendant domicile in
Houston, expanding the size of the JFK Domicile by ramping up the operation of
the Newark co-terminal and opening several new Continental Flight Attendant
It is expected as we move
through 2012 and into 2013 we should see an increasing amount of aircraft being
redeployed in the Domestic operation through 2012 and beginning in March 2013
another round of aircraft redeployment in the International operation. Accordingly, some of our current domiciles
will start increasing in size, as more flying driven by the ongoing
redeployment of aircraft naturally moves into these locations.
As we move through 2012
and into 2013 SFO, IAD and JFK will increase in size as more flying naturally
moves into these locations and the Company works to increase its relative size
in SFO and IAD. It is anticipated that ORD, DEN and LAX will see a modest
decrease in flying. It is also planned that IAH will open as a United
Flight Attendant domicile with at least 350 Flight Attendants.
United has not yet determined
the actual startup date of the United Flight Attendant Domicile in Houston and
accordingly has not sent the official ninety (90) day notice per Section
22.D. Additionally, we have again confirmed that Inflight has no plan to
close any current United Flight Attendant domicile. It is currently
anticipated that the new domiciles/bases will open after the summer in time for
the fall flying schedule and will have no impact on the overall total amount of
flying done by United, Continental or Continental Micronesia Airlines Flight
We expect that some
Members may have concerns about this announcement and the opening of
Continental Flight Attendant bases at some of our current domicile
locations. Since the inception of the
merger we have been diligent in our oversight and protecting the work of United
Flight Attendants while working towards the eventual operational integration.
The following example
demonstrates that on an overall system basis our overall flying has remained
relatively constant over the past two years.
The same is true for the flying being done by Continental and
Continental Micronesia Flight Attendants, notwithstanding an increase in
population to support staffing needs associated with replacement aircraft on
order prior to the Merger announcement and hiring needed to alleviate an
understaffing situation at Continental Airlines.
In April of 2010, the
first full month before the merger announcement, at United there were 5,207
Lineholders flying International and 4,325 Lineholders flying Domestic. In the same schedule month this year, there
are 5,763 Lineholders flying International and 3,836 Lineholders flying
Domestic. These examples are taken from the
primary bid package for the schedule month of April 2010 and April 2012 and do
not include Reserve, Reserve Move-up and Relief Flying.
The United Master
Executive Council will continue our oversight and work to insure that this
redeployment of aircraft is being accomplished in accordance with the terms and
conditions of our Collective Bargaining Agreement as well as the provisions of
the Protocol and Related Agreements.
There are many details still to be finalized and United has committed to
comply with our Agreements as well as to begin negotiations for a Single
Contract no later than the end of this summer.
The true benefit of a merger is realized through an
operational integration and Flight Attendants are a key part of that process
and the future success of United Airlines.
As recognized in United’s announcement, management has great incentive
to work with labor to achieve operational integration. We are prepared to protect and advance our
careers every step of the way as the world’s largest airline can also become
the world’s best airline.
Since the merger announcement over two years ago we have
been moving through the process of merging and have taken each step
together. To date we have taken part in
the first phase of a merger with critical oversight by participating in
Congressional hearings and conducting numerous transitional discussions with
management and concluding the successful representation election.
During the second phase we memorialized a Protocol and
Related Agreement that set the stage for the second phase for continued
progress in the merger and the successful conclusion of our negotiations. We also experienced a good amount of work
intended to align policies and practices for both employees and
passengers. The second phase began with
employees and passengers experiencing little immediate changes as a result of
the deal closing in a financial transaction in October of 2010. Some signage changed and we began to see our
new airplane livery, but both United and Continental Airlines continued to operate
as they did prior to the merger announcement in May of 2010. Each airline ran its own customer-service and
marketing activities with separate workforces as work intensified to bring the
companies together. Then in September of
2011 we saw the issuance of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Single
Operating Certificate, which culminated in work to align safety procedures
under Continental’s Operating Certificate.
In March of this year, the passenger computer systems (website,
reservations, etc) were integrated in what has now become an infamous experience
for employees and passengers alike. We
also began to see a corporate strategy of moving aircraft into the markets best
suited to drive additional revenues.
Today we find ourselves moving forward and confronting the
third and final phase of the merger and by the end of 2013 the third and final
phase of the merger will take shape and will result in the complete integration
of the two airlines. Upon complete integration, our new Company expects to
generate up to $900 million more a year in revenue than the two generated
separately and realize up to $300 million in cost savings. The goal is a
large, well-run company that generates about $30 billion in annual revenue by
carrying about 144 million passengers to 370 destinations in 59
nations. This holds promise for all at the new United Airlines.
As we have outlined before, the integration phase of this
merger is not going to be that simple. There are huge labor and
operational components that will have to be harmonized in order for those
efficiencies to be obtained. While it makes analytical sense, integration
can only be accomplished by dedication and commitment to a successful outcome
that recognizes the hard work of Flight Attendants and other front line
workers. Integrating United and Continental airlines – bringing together
the very different operating styles, workforces, fleets and corporate cultures
- in a way that works for our community and the passengers we serve will be an
The combined United/Continental route network offers clear
opportunities for Flight Attendants. The depth and breadth of the combined
route network, together with our focus on improved pay, benefits and working
conditions will put our airline in a strong position to deepen its global reach
and improved prospects for everyone.
United, Continental and Continental Micronesia Flight
Attendants have made this merger possible with our hard work and
sacrifice. Remember, for even management
recognizes this key point, for an airline merger to be truly successful, it has
to be a partnership benefiting employees, management, shareholders, and
We anticipate a positive future ahead for the new United
Airlines and our community of Flight Attendants. We know that change is
difficult. We will continue to explore
the range of opportunities for our community throughout the merger - careful to
preserve our rights so as to be able to take advantage of all options available
to us. The immediate next steps for us is to capitalize on the final phase
of the merger and negotiate not only for the goals of pay, benefits and work
rule improvements defined by you but also those that are reflective of the
potential associated with a world-class global airline.
Today, despite the announcement there will still be two
separate airlines for operational purposes until a number of important issues
are resolved. We will be working with
Inflight management to insure this next step is being accomplished in a
Contractually compliant manner and we will exercise complete diligence as it
relates to our Contractual provisions related to Domicile Location, Moving Expenses, Filling of Vacancies as well as all
other relevant provisions.
United management would
like nothing better than for us to be distracted and lose our focus during these
times. We must keep in mind our common
goal with our sisters and brothers at Continental and Continental Micronesia in
Negotiating a Joint Contract that sets a new industry standard and unites us
all as one workforce. Together, not only
can we do better, we will do better.
Master Executive Council