United Management, Caught Red-Handed, Now More Interested in Revenge than Restructuring
April 12, 2005
CHICAGO –The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) United Master Executive Council President Greg Davidowitch issued this statement today in response to United Airlines' management's filing yesterday of a bankruptcy court motions to terminate both the Flight Attendants' entire contract and its defined pension benefit plan:
“After having been caught red-handed giving big raises to its Salaried and Management employees while claiming to cut their pay, management's wage cuts and a significant portion of their productivity improvements appeared illusory at best. AFA provided this management with several weeks to fix the problem. In fact, it is only because of AFA’s persistence that any changes were made to their cost savings numbers at all.
"Current United management is attempting to distract attention from its egregious conduct by attacking AFA and the flight attendant contract. Yesterday's actions are outrageous and an unwarranted retribution for AFA's due diligence in verifying that the cuts imposed on other employees are as real as those for the flight attendants. We are doing nothing more or less than holding management accountable for its own plan to produce the cost savings it claims are necessary for securing exit financing to emerge from bankruptcy. Management has over-stepped all bounds of decency and the standards of labor relations by seeking to reject our entire agreement.
"Rather than simply fixing their phony numbers regarding the cost savings they allocated to the Salaried and Management group, and agreeing to abide by the same standards that they demand from flight attendants, these executives chose to place the Flight Attendant agreement for $131 million in cost savings in jeopardy.
"A motion to terminate the flight attendants' pension plan by itself would have been a deplorable act. This management has gone further and appears to be wholly focused on creating a labor war rather than working for the success of United Airlines.
"In good faith, flight attendants agreed to shoulder the burden of enormous personal sacrifices last January. Instead of respecting those contributions, Glenn Tilton has insulated his own pension from the effects of bankruptcy, and, together with other executives, he continues to receive millions of dollars in bonuses from United Airlines while it's in Chapter 11. We must wonder whether these executives can follow through on their own commitments to the airline.
"Unfortunately, our own audit of their plan to implement cost savings suggests that they cannot. And that calls into question whether these executives are capable of completing the airline’s restructuring. Flight attendants have worked too hard and sacrificed too much. We intend to use every means available to save our airline and fight for our careers."
More than 46,000 Flight Attendants, including the 21,000 Flight Attendants at United, join together to form AFA, the world’s largest Flight Attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000 member strong Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO. Visit us at http://www.unitedafa.org/.