United Airlines Flight Attendants’ Statement on Management Call for Concessions: “No plan, no talks.”
August 30, 2002
CHICAGO –Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO, United Airlines Master Executive Council President Greg Davidowitch issued this statement today concerning United management’s Aug. 28 presentation of a demand for employee concessions:
“United management wants its employees to invest $9 billion of our hard earned money in an airline with no plan and no leader. While we will continue to meet with the company, there will be no concession talks under these circumstances.
“The math doesn’t add up when management asks for exorbitant concessions from workers totaling $9 billion over six years to obtain a $1.8 billion loan guarantee from the Air Transportation Stabilization Board. So, we ask again: Who’s using whom? Is United using the ATSB as its heavy to extract huge concessions from its workers to cover for years of mismanagement? Or is the White House attempting to dictate what airline workers in this country earn through the ATSB? Both scenarios are un-American.
“United hasn’t turned a profit in two years and management’s solution is to point a finger at the employees who keep the airline in the air. The future of our airline is at stake and that’s the best United management can do? We can’t wait for this management any longer.
“United still has the best network in the world and is the key player in the strongest international alliance in the airline industry. United will survive. The employees at United are committed to that, despite current management’s failures.”
Demands for labor concessions assume that labor costs are United’s primary problem. However, the current Flight Attendant contract, which runs to March 2006, is unique in the industry. It measures each year and contractually fixes United’s Flight Attendant costs at the AVERAGE of United’s competitors through a binding arbitration process. The most recent arbitration ruled that United enjoyed a $48 million advantage in its Flight Attendant costs over the AVERAGE of its competitors in 2001.
The cost-competitive nature of the Flight Attendant agreement is an asset to the airline that should help United’s application to the Air Transportation Stabilization Board for a loan guarantee backed by the federal government.
More than 50,000 Flight Attendants, including the 26,000 Flight Attendants at United, join together to form AFA, the world’s largest Flight Attendant union. Visit us at www.unitedafa.org.